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Thread: Grad School Tuition Help

  1. #1

    Grad School Tuition Help

    I am in my second semester of grad school pursuing my MHA and right now have a federal loan to pay for it which if it is all used will total about $18K. I am looking for good ways to have portions of it paid with scholarships or grants and looking for advice on things to or apply for instead of blindly applying to things online. I am in NC and as I understand it Voc Rehab would not help since I have an undergrad degree and since I needed to go to the online route due to possible travel for SCI therapies I did the online route thru a small school in Texas that has most programs on campus.

    Appreciate any help or advice.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyerly View Post
    I am in my second semester of grad school pursuing my MHA and right now have a federal loan to pay for it which if it is all used will total about $18K. I am looking for good ways to have portions of it paid with scholarships or grants and looking for advice on things to or apply for instead of blindly applying to things online. I am in NC and as I understand it Voc Rehab would not help since I have an undergrad degree and since I needed to go to the online route due to possible travel for SCI therapies I did the online route thru a small school in Texas that has most programs on campus.

    Appreciate any help or advice.
    Howdy, Lyerly.

    I'm not sure how being an online school would affect VR, but having an undergrad degree certainly doesn't disqualify you from their services.

    I myself am in NC and VR has been a huge help to me with my graduate education. I'll give you my experience with North Carolina Vocational Rehab.

    I originally went to them when I was about to graduate from college and had already been accepted to graduate school (though it was a traditional school and one with in-state tuition). I got an appointment and walked into the office with the sole intention of trying to get them to pay for a standing wheelchair, because I thought I wouldn't be able to complete some of my courses without it.

    By the time I left the office 15 minutes later they'd offered to pay my tuition, fees, books, a reasonable stipend for living costs (around $1000 per month), and of course the standing wheelchair which was my original reason for going to them. This is my fourth year receiving the generosity of the North Carolina taxpayers, and by my count VR has paid and thus reduced what would have been my student loan debt by approximately $115,000 give or take as well as hooking me up with the standing chair which was probably close to an additional $10,000.

    That's like a house! and a new car, depending on how picky you are... also that's like $8,000 a year in interest I'd be paying (or more likely "deffering") next year when I graduate, never mind the debt itself.

    So obviously I have nothing but great things to say about NC VR and I highly encourage you to seek their assistance... worst they can say is no.


    Also, this may or may not apply to you, but if you qualify for NC Medicaid you automatically qualify for NC VR services without an application based on need, which I imagine saves many trees worth of paperwork.

  3. #3
    Senior Member okwjoe's Avatar
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    MY son is SCI and we live in New York... Our state vocation rehab agency provided him with in state tuition, books, fees, paid for his PCA care ( when he went to school out of state at a college for his undergrad that had an exceptional disability resources so they agreed to fund it.) now he is in law school (private) and they pay in state tuition rate, his apartment lease , portion of living expenses., fees, books and paid for his driving rehab which he will finish after he graduates (he is a C4 quad). Yes vocab rehabb is a great resource.

  4. #4
    You can appeal any decision voc rehab makes. You can tell your counselor you would like to file an appeal, if you do then the office may want to provide an informal appeal 1st with the district office mgr. If this is unsuccessful ,file a formal appeal. You may wish to start working with your nearest Independent Living Center for advocacy svcs with voc rehab.

  5. #5
    Great info thanks. I was a bit concerned about talking to VR to much since I wasn't sure about being on SSDI and getting loans? Didn't know if this was a conflict or anything. Would be in bad shape if I lost SSDI tho it's not much.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyerly View Post
    Great info thanks. I was a bit concerned about talking to VR to much since I wasn't sure about being on SSDI and getting loans? Didn't know if this was a conflict or anything. Would be in bad shape if I lost SSDI tho it's not much.
    I was in the same situation (well, minus the loans). I had SSDI coming in, but what I was getting (it's around $900 now) isn't enough to put me over the income limit. Even if you were slightly over that, I'm pretty sure they've got ways around it.

    I wound up having to take a loan to cover a couple exams that VR didn't pay for and interview travel cost, but other than that VR was real good about paying for stuff. I didn't know how it was going to work either, but I told them I took the loan to cover stuff they didn't and they just said "oh, okay, we'll keep paying the tuition and living expenses like usual".

  7. #7
    Check with your school's Disabled Student Services department; I did so with my MS and they offered some good advice. Also don't forget that you can write grants to support your graduate work. Take the thesis route and get some funding to support your research. I am currently working on doing this for my PhD work; shoot me an email if you want to talk more about it.
    C5-6 - 22 years

  8. #8
    Should I be worried about them looking at things like bank accounts? I have about $13K in a money market account which is only due to a family member gift after they closed a few big real estate deals and gifted it to me?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyerly View Post
    Should I be worried about them looking at things like bank accounts? I have about $13K in a money market account which is only due to a family member gift after they closed a few big real estate deals and gifted it to me?
    I don't have an answer for you on that, but it seems like if that was a problem, just use it to pay off your loans. In fact, I don't know what your federal loans are, but mine are 7.9%, if you've got $15,000 worth I don't think you'll beat a rate of return of 7.9% in any money market account.

  10. #10
    Oh and there was just some new legislation passed that allows you to set up a tax free savings account type of thing if you were injured before age 26 that would allow you to legally "hide" (probably not the right word) these assets from state and federal programs with income limits, I think you can save up to $100,000 in a kind of rainy day fund, but there might me limits to how much you can put in per year. I haven't looked into it because it doesn't seem relevant to my situation, but it was called the ABLE bill and it's brand new legislation. Might be worth some research. There's a thread on here somewhere.

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