How To Finance Your Graduate Degree

If you are interested in earning a master’s degree in counseling online, you probably have thought about how you will pay for your degree. Fortunately, there are plenty of financial aid options available that can help you achieve your higher education goals. These options include scholarships and grants, federal and private loans, and loan forgiveness programs.

Scholarships and Grants

The best way to start your search for financial assistance is by looking for counseling-specific scholarships and grants. Many professional organizations, foundations, companies, and nonprofits provide options to help students finance their education debt free. Specifically, the American Counseling Association sponsors essay competitions for graduate students, and the American Mental Health Counselors Association funds a grant program.

Scholarships and grants will have varied application requirements, so do your research and apply to the ones that best fit your background and career goals.

Federal and Private Loans

Students seeking financial assistance can also turn to federal and private loans.

In order to apply for federal loans, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Available online, the application is simple to complete and gives you access to federal loan options through the Department of Education. These loans include the Direct Unsubsidized loan and the option to apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS loan. Both loans have a grace period, which is a set period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you are required to begin repayment.

If federal loans do not cover the cost of your education, you may also look into private loans from banks or other lenders. Interest rates vary for private loans, which means payments could increase over time. Your ability to qualify for private loans depends on a variety of factors including your credit score, your choice of school, and your course of study.

Regardless of what type of loan you choose, explore all of your options and find a solution that works best for you.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

If you decide to finance your education with federal loans, you may be eligible for one of several loan forgiveness programs after you graduate. Plan ahead to determine if you think you might be eligible for one of the following options.

  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full time for a qualifying employer. For more information, visit the PSLF website.
  • Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans are designed to make your student debt payments manageable by lowering your monthly payments based on your income. Visit the IDR plans website for more information.

NYU Payment Plans

Students in the Counseling@NYU program are also able to participate in NYU’s payment plan, which allows students to spread out their tuition payments over the term or year. NYU’s graduate financial aid options include two types of payment plans:

  • The Deferred Payment Plan allows you to pay a percentage of the net balance due for the semester by the payment deadline and defer the remaining amount to be paid until later in the term.
  • The TuitionPay Plan is an interest-free plan that allows for all or a portion of your educational expenses to be paid in monthly installments. A nonrefundable enrollment fee of $50 is required when applying to plans for Fall and Spring terms. Monthly statements will be mailed by HigherOne, and all payments should be made directly to them. For additional information, contact TuitionPay at 800-635-0120 or visit TuitionPay to enroll

Veteran Benefits

Military members, veterans, and spouses are also encouraged to explore benefits that may be available to them. To apply for VA education benefits, complete the Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP) at Once you have been approved for education benefits, the VA will mail you your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). NYU’s Veterans Services will need a copy of the COE and Discharge Documents to process your military benefits. NYU also participates in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement program. The Yellow Ribbon program is a scholarship designed to help students supplement their Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefits. Click to learn more about veterans benefits at NYU can be found here. Please direct all general inquiries and submit all documents to NYU’s VA Certifying Officials at, or call 212-998-4280.

For more information, visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page.