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  1. Like most people I have a lot of debt from undergrad, and was interested in doing a MSW program only if I did not have to take out additional loans. I finally applied to two highly-ranked out of state programs and a local public MSW program in the city I live in. Both the higher ranking programs gave me a lot of merit and need based aid. One of the higher ranked programs is an expensive private school, and was my top choice. I got $80,000 in scholarships, and the package they gave me would mean that for two years, I would need to take out about $5000 in loans for tuition. The local MSW program, on the other hand, took a really long time to release financial aid. I decided to decline the other two out of state programs, because their intent to enroll deadline was 5/1. I was worried about moving to a new area and doing long distance with my partner during COVID-19. Today I finally got my financial aid package from the local school, and they only gave me about $5000 in need-based scholarships for Fall/Spring and zero aid for the summer. (I didn’t get any merit-based aid.) I am really devastated, because it would have been substantially cheaper for me to go to the higher-ranked private MSW program. I have read a lot about picking affordability over ranking, but it really back-fired in my case. Now I am not sure if it's worth it to enroll in a program at all. I'm reluctant to apply again next year, because I would feel guilty asking the same people to give letters again. I am also getting married next year and my finances will also look really different once I get married. (My partner has a really high-paying job.) So it's unlikely I would get need-based awards again, which means this local program won't be give me any financial aid options except loans. My question is, should I let go of my social work dreams? I have a humanities graduate degree (fortunately with a fellowship that paid for it), and have already been working in social services/nonprofits full-time for three years. I don't think my salary will increase that much more with a LMSW, but it could give me a wider range of job possibilities. The other option I am considering is doing a year at this local school and then trying to transfer to a different program. Either way I feel extremely bitter towards this local program... tl;dr-- Basically I got less financial aid from a less competitive MSW program, after I declined programs that gave me great need and merit based aid. I'm really bummed out about it. My question is whether or not I should even bother doing a MSW, since I already have a mid-level social service job that pays okay. This is the last year I can apply for graduate school as a single person.
  2. Will $40,000 be enough for cost of living for fall 2019, spring 2020, summer 2020, and fall 2020? That's how much I should have saved up before I start at Columbia! I'm a pretty low maintenance gal and would prefer to only take out loans for tuition.
  3. Hi all, I'm new, so apologies if this should be on another thread! I'm from the UK, and am currently applying to do my PhD in the US (UPenn). I would receive a stipend (I believe around $30k), and participate in some sort of teaching, although I am unclear if this is paid extra or included in the stipend. This is a much better deal than in the UK, funding for graduate study here is abysmal! However, I am a single parent and would be bringing my children with me (ages 10 and 8 currently). Would my stipend be enough to cover our living costs in the US? I'd want the children to have a really positive experience, and not be the 'poor kids in school' with rubbish clothes and no allowance, and living in a horrible student apartment somewhere. It would be fine if it was just me, I wouldn't care! Any advice on the realities of living costs on a PhD would be greatly appreciated!
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