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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. Hey folks, This seems like it might be a common question but I couldn't find it after a couple different searches. I completed FAFSA in December and have gotten into two Chicago area schools for social work (UofC and UIC.) One provided a small scholarship but no mention of a financial aid letter and the other asks students to accept their spot before the school provides aid info. Is this typically how it works? Is it customary to put down a deposit and accept a spot without knowing if you have aid? Obviously you can secure aid from a lot of outside resources, but I feel like I'm missing something. ~Help a dummy out Thanks!
  3. Hey there! I have been admitted to various universities for a Ph.D. Among them, University A offers me 15,000$ per year and University B offers me 26,000$ per year. Both universities are well ranked, good programs, similar cities... But I like better A, for the professors. Now, do you think that is somehow possible to try to negotiate a little bit the stipend and get some more money? The difference is shocking! Thank you!
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