Three financial aid resources for people in public service

If you are in a public service career and carrying—or considering—student debt, your life just got a little easier.


You'll make it through these piles! (Photo from troismarteaux on Flickr/Creative Commons

Here are three resources to help you navigate your repayment options:


Heather Jarvis is a national expert on public service loan forgiveness who contributed to student debt relief policy for the House Education Committee and others in Congress. Her new site is a clearinghouse of information about managing your debt while working in a mission-based career.



IBRinfo is an independent information hub about income-based student loan repayment and public service loan forgiveness – two relatively new federal programs that help student borrowers afford an education.



For former AmeriCorps, VISTA, and NCCC members out there, check out the official CNCS website on the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. The Education Award—around $5,000—can be used to pay back student loans and/or to pay tuition at qualifying schools.


If you’re thinking ahead about financial aid for grad school, consider these additional resources from Idealist:

Cross posted from Grad Fairs in DC and New York this Week!

For folks seeking graduate school options, check out our first two graduate admissions fairs of 2010 this week on the East Coast.

Both events feature 60 public interest graduate schools and 6 pm panel discussion. Admission is free!

New York City — June 15th

Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (check out the schedule)Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, Pope Auditorium
113 West 60th Street, New York, NY (directions)

Washington, DC — June 16th

Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (check out the schedule)
American University, Katzen Arts Center, Main Rotunda, First Floor
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C. (directions)


Check out more grad school resources on Idealist!

Also take a look at which grad schools are…

Teachers College Announces a New Teacher Residency Program

Teachers College at Columbia University is launching a new program to help people earn an affordable master’s degree while apprenticing with experienced teachers in high-needs New York City classrooms.

Funded through a new U.S. Department of Education initiative to bring teacher education into the 21st century, the Teaching Residents at Teachers College (TR@TC) program is a 14-month graduate-level program.

Modeled after a medical residency, the new teaching residency at TC gives teaching students, or “residents,” the chance to implement ideas in a classroom setting, while receiving feedback and support from expert practitioners. Residents are simultaneously taking graduate level classes.

While other teaching residency programs also focus on bringing highly qualified, diverse people into the classroom as Continue reading

Should you Go to Grad School?

Guest post by Jung Fitzpatrick, who coordinates Idealist’s Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center.

The challenging thing about deciding to apply for graduate school is that each person’s situation is unique. Here are a few things to think about:

You can gain skills and knowledge in a number of ways.

Grad school is just one of them. If you feel you’re in a rut at your current job, perhaps you should talk to your supervisor to see if
you can take on new responsibilities or projects. You can also start looking for another job. If you are unemployed, you can always volunteer or intern with an organization – perhaps even proposing a project that would benefit the organization and allow you to learn and gain some new skills.

Alternatively you can sign up for classes such as continuing education courses or local professional development workshops.

Grad school costs money.

Unless you are applying for a doctoral level program that will fund your education, most professional masters programs charge tuition. Even with financial aid, mostly in the form of student loans, you will be responsible for the cost of your degree. There are some programs that offer free tuition to their students, but they are competitive and
usually have specific eligibility requirements. The National Urban Fellows is a full-tuition fellowship for mid-career professionals of color who are interested in getting a Masters in Public Administration. Forte Foundation works with business schools to recruit more women and offers full-tuition through its Forte Fellows program. These sorts of programs are few and far between, though.

With some research, flexibility and creativity, you may be able to reduce the cost of a graduate education. Read more about financing your graduate education.

There are alternatives to full-time graduate study.

You can work while you study, or get a certificate in a degree area. These alternatives may also help you afford further education.

If you’re unfazed by cost and really feel that grad school will give you an opportunity to achieve your goals, then you can read these articles for your next steps. You can also check to see if one of our remaining Graduate Degree Fairs for the Public Good is coming to a city near you this fall!

Best of luck!

Yellow Ribbon Program Makes School More Affordable for Vets

Military service member saluting the U.S. flagThe Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 created a new way to help members of the military pay for school.

Currently the the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. However, if you’re heading to a private college, going to grad school, and/or are not qualified to pay in-state tuition, your expenses may exceed the GI Bill benefit. The Yellow Ribbon Program — taking effect at participating schools on August 1st, 2009 — attempts to close the gap between GI Bill education benefits, and the true cost of many educational opportunities.

As part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, schools can volunteer to contribute up to 50 percent of that gap between their own costs and the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. The government then matches the school’s Continue reading