We see it now. You received your admission to SIPA, you are planning on living your dream in NYC like Blair Waldorf, you have added SIPA 2024 to your Instagram bio, and are ready to start the next chapter. Suddenly, you begin to think of the next steps of submitting your enrollment deposit. Now you find that you have panicked, purchased a pint of ice cream, and are laying on your bed thinking, “Wait, how do I finance this?”

Hello everyone! Brianne from Admissions here, again.

This is probably our most frequently asked question  “How can I make ends meet?” I spoke with our Financial Aid team here at SIPA for some advice. So, time to put that pint of ice cream aside and crack down on making a financial plan.

Let’s start with the truth; the truth is we cannot provide financial assistance to every student who applies. We wish this was possible, but unfortunately it is not. We have deadlines for applying for fellowship consideration, our scholarships and assistantships are very competitive. 

One piece of advice that I hear our Financial Aid team advise students about often is creating a financing strategy. Once you have been admitted, SIPA provides you with an estimate on the costs of tuition, fees, textbooks and typical living expenses to help you get started in your financial planning, along with information about the aid for which you qualify. Budgeting your resources is the first step in planning how to manage the costs of your SIPA program. You should gather as much information as possible, so you can weigh out all of your options.

In building your financing strategy, look at all options, including resources you currently have available. Examine financial resources you have on hand in salary, savings or assistance from your family. In addition, please review the resources available from SIPA, government sources or private external scholarship agencies. Many SIPA students create a strategy employing several of these components, as it is truly very rare that a student has a single funding source to finance the full cost of attendance. 

Another option to consider is loans. Close to half of SIPA students use student loans as part of their financing strategy, and there are a number of options available to them. Most borrow fixed rate loans from the federal government, which offer flexible repayment options. The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not credit-based, but has an annual limit to the amount that can be borrowed; the Graduate PLUS loan is different in those respects, it is credit based but can be applied for in any amount up to the difference between the cost of education, and other aid. Some students use the Graduate PLUS loan to borrow money for living expenses. The loans from the federal government are only available to US citizens, permanent residents, and eligible noncitizens, not to international students in the US on a visa. I recommend utilizing the US Department of Education’s site, studentaid.ed.gov for more information about loans.

We have posted in the past about external funding sources, and I encourage you to take a look at the information in the posts. Additionally, there are also other reliable websites who are sharing graduate funded scholarships available for you as well. Check within your network of grad school friends or ask in our Admitted Student Facebook group (if you haven’t joined yet, check your email for the link! There’s a lot of conversation in there.) It’s not too late to find these options! For international students looking for external scholarships, make sure to consider your national currency’s value against the US dollar. We also have an extensive private loan reference list for domestic, and international students.

With that said, this is so much easier said than done. I know this is stressful, but I want to reiterate that you are not alone in trying to figure all this out. Our Financial Aid team works hard to help our students understand their options in financing their time at SIPA, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them directly, via email or schedule an appointment to discuss potential financing options.

So now, grab that pint of ice cream you panic bought earlier and begin to make, or enhance, your financial plan. We believe in you!

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