Student Loans


In this post, I outline my favorite alternative to taking out loans for graduate school–finding work as a research or teaching assistant. This post is part 3 of the Make Money in Graduate School Series about options for funding your way through grad school.

When I began grad school in 2010, I took out loans to pay for my first year. Soon, I learned about an incredibly powerful way to fund a graduate education–working as a research or teaching assistant. Especially if you are attending a large research university, this is arguably the best way to fund your way through grad school. You might be guaranteed a position as part of your initial offer from your university, or you might have to seek out opportunities from your advisor and other faculty in your department. Be persistent and get creative, because the benefits are fantastic, both professionally and financially.

Read more


In this post I explain how I took out almost $15,000 in loans that I didn’t need during my first year of graduate school. Here’s my story and three things you can learn from it.

I pursued a PhD because I’ve always been successful in school, because I love to learn, and because I was deeply interested in a field of study. But having attended a small, public liberal arts university as an undergraduate, there was a lot I didn’t know about the PhD trajectory at a large research institution. This post outlines some of the financial mistakes I made because I wasn’t fully aware of the academic norms and options available to me as a PhD student. In sharing my story I hope others can learn from my experiences and make more informed choices for themselves. To my fellow graduate students, my advice is this: do research, forgive yourself, and develop a plan. Let’s take those one-by-one…

Read more