Can I afford this?

Assistantships and Financial Aid

 

Making the decision to pursue a graduate degree means making a decision to invest in your future. Most good investments require some up-front costs, and graduate school is no exception. It is incredibly important to understand that few investments can guarantee the same return on your investment as earning a graduate degree in I-O psychology.

To help you understand what your financial picture will probably look like if you are admitted to the UTC I-O program, here is a summary of monthly financials for students in our 2016 and 2017 graduating cohorts (data updated March 2016):

 

  In-State Out of state
  Mean Median Mean Median
Approximate cost of tuition + fees per month (over 12 months), before financial aid (please note that tuition is subject to change on an annual basis): $784 $806 $2,072 $2,149
Approximate cost of required course-related books per month: $47 $42 $57 $50
Cost of housing and utilities (include water, gas, electric, internet) per month: $1,000 $1,000 $652 $590
Cost of transportation per month (gas, bus, uber, etc. - not including car payments or insurance bills): $80 $100 $61 $50
Cost of UTC parking permit per month: $12 $11 $10 $11
Approximate cost of food per month (groceries and eating out): $260 $250 $287 $275
Approximate cost of entertainment per month: $58 $50 $60 $33
Approximate monthly expense subtotal: $2,240 $2,259 $3,199 $3,158
Approximate amount of financial aid per month (over 12 months): $821 $583 $1,465 $1,508
Income earned from outside work per month (separate from financial aid; includes monthly stipends for GAs and any pay associated with internships or other jobs): $1,632 $1,000 $1,081 $920
Approximate monthly income + aid subtotal: $2,453 $1,583 $2,545 $2,428
Approximate monthly net total: $213 -$676 -$653 -$730

 

The information summarized above is estimated across a 12-month time frame to give a rough idea of what your typical monthly budget might look like. As you can see from this information, although the monthly net total is not likely to be positive (sorry, but you won't get rich while you're a graduate student), most students are able to at least come close to making ends meet most months. Students in our program use a variety of strategies to make their finances "work" while working through the two years of our graduate program. Some examples of these strategies include: sharing rent and utilities with a roommate, working a part-time job, and/or taking out a small educational loan.

Aside from these personal strategies, the Department of Psychology and UTC offer several other form of financial assistance. Most students combine one or more of these opportunities along with outside work to make ends meet during their two years in our I-O graduate program. Here are some general details about the most common sources of financial aid and support to our recent graduate students: 

  • Academic Common Market: Although not technically a form of "aid" that a student receives, many of our students from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi benefit from the Academic Common Market program. This program makes it possible for certain out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates during their time as a graduate student in our program. For more information about this excellent opportunity, please check out the the Academic Common Market website. If you are not a resident of one of the currently listed common market states, you may still be eligible for this tuition opportunity by requesting that your state's ACM office add UTC's I-O program to your state's list of eligible programs. In order to obtain the in-state tuition rate, a student must contact the ACM officer from his or her state and obtain the necessary documents and forms from that officer.  
  • Psychology Department Graduate Assistantships: Each year the department offers a limited number of half-time graduate assistantships to typically second-year students on a competitive basis. Assistantships are awarded on the basis of academic merit (UGPA and GRE scores) and performance in the program core courses. Each assistantship includes a stipend and partial tuition waiver. Students who are awarded such departmental assistantships are required to assist faculty with teaching or research responsibilities for 10 hours per week. All students who are enrolled full- time in the graduate psychology program are automatically considered for these assistantships.
  • Other University Graduate Assistantships: Graduate students in our I-O program are highly sought after by other UTC departments and administrative offices, which typically offer graduate assistantships to which students must apply (as with a normal job). Many of these are available to first-year students and in the recent past, students have obtained GA's with the Office of Institutional Research, the Graduate School, the Career and Placement Center, the Records Office, the Chancellor's office, the Women's Center, and the Counseling Center at UTC. In addition, each year assistantships in other academic departments have become available. Our students consistently fare quite well when they decide to pursue these types of GA opportunities.
  • Teaching Assistantships: The Psychology Department offers a limited number of teaching assignments. Students fulfilling these assignments act as lab instructors for introductory statistics and introductory research methods, section leaders for the introduction to psychology course, and/or fulfill other teaching-related duties. All students who are accepted as Degree students are automatically considered for these departmental GA roles.
  • Paid Internships: While all students are required to complete internship hours while enrolled in the program, many students manage to extend their internships into their second year or begin them in the spring of their first year. These internships are typically paid, and thus become a source of funding for students.

Additional information on available assistantships, scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans is available from UTC's Graduate School (see specifically the sections on scholarships and assistantships) and Office of Financial Aid.