How I Did Graduate Studies for Almost Nothing
Graduate Studies can cost quite a pretty penny but I figured out a way to get three of them for almost nothing. Read on to discover how I did it!
I completed my first degree at the University of the West Indies – Kingston, Jamaica and set my sights on completing graduate studies. I wanted to do it abroad BUT I did not have a lot of money to do so. I started researching and realized that if I played my cards right, I could actually get a free ride – or almost free ride in my case. My background is in Library and Information Studies but this can work for any area of study if you are willing to do the work. These things can take a lot of time so be prepared for some frustrations but it will all be worth it in the long run.
I started out by doing the GRE since most schools in the USA were asking for scores. If you can get a great score from the GRE, top schools will actually contact you. Unfortunately my scores were not that great so I had to go to plan B. I applied to schools just in TX at the time because from my research I realized that they were very kind to International Students and even had specific scholarships for persons from the Caribbean – The Good Neighbor Scholarship https://world.utexas.edu/isss/students/financial-aid/gns.
I took up the offer from the University of TX@ Austin because they have a very good International Student Department.
I did not wait until I got to TX to start looking about funding. I contacted the school as soon as I was accepted to let them know that I needed help and that I could not attend without the help. I was given a graduate student assistantship that allowed me to work 20 hours on the campus with health insurance that covered my daughter and myself. This assistantship significantly reduced my tuition to something I could better manage. Another reason I chose University of TX was they have a great paid internship program. I got an excellent one at IBM that paid me $21 per hour and that was in 1999. International students are expected to do at least 3 subjects per semester but the great thing was one of the subjects could be the internship so you actually got paid to go to class.
I completed that Masters Degree and returned home then went back to Louisiana State University for an Advanced Masters degree using the same pattern I used at the University of Texas. The third graduate degree I got for free because I worked with Devry University and you are allowed to do any of their programs for free so I did the Masters in Educational Technology and would have done more if I had stayed with the company.
So if you want to do graduate studies and you are low on cash; all is not lost. If an International Student from Jamaica can do this then anyone can. It takes research and patience but there are lots of places out there that can help you to realize this goal. Again I am no expert but I have been there and done that and can give some pointers so send me a message.
© 2016 Mardene Carr
Mardene R. Carr is a tech-savvy Librarian with over 15 years of experience in Jamaica, USA, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and Dominica. For more on her work please visit