Grad Student Financing Strategy

Master (MS or MA) and Ph. D. students might have better luck finding college funds than undergraduate students.  If you are grad students in science or engineering fields, you will have even more scholarships available compared to Liberal Art majors.  It is purely my personal experience and observation, so please don’t quote me on your research paper.  

Having said that, I can describe mainly four ways to finance your grad education and living expenses.  

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College and #MeToo Part 2

The latest news is Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.  I hope the FBI investigation will be presented with definite answer.  If you had a sexually assaulted as a student, you need to file a charge.  Unfortunately there are some women lies about the sexual assaults, and accused and colleges use this “women lie” excuse.  As I wrote College and MeToo article in March 25, 2018, colleges want to protect school reputation.  They prefer not to publicize the bad news.  They may not take you seriously.  

If your school does not take your claim seriously, you need to have other students’ support.  If the school still won’t act, then use social media to demand the official investigation.  

Schools do not want public to know the shameful incidents or rumors tarnish the image.  Keeping their good public image is the No. 1 priority.  That is why if you are a college student sexually harassed by a college faculty, staff, or even other students, schools are reluctant to conduct further investigation. 

Speaking out is crucial even you may feel ashamed or scared.  Truth will make you free.

Mike Pence Method Works for Paying off Your Student Loan

Vice President, Mike Pence famously said that he won’t dine alone with a woman other than his wife and he won’t attend an event where alcohol is served unless his wife was there.  You will be the judge whether his statement is righteous, ridiculous, I-can’t-believe-he-said-it, or whatever.     

But I strongly believe that his philosophy works for personal finance. How?  

Read moreMike Pence Method Works for Paying off Your Student Loan

Union for Grad Student?

Certain private colleges have started negotiating or allowing a union for graduate students who work as Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA).  A main question is whether grad students are college employees or not.  A similar argument has been debated over whether football players at college are employees or students.  Northwestern University football players sought to unionize the sport team but the National Labor Relations Board denied the claim.   

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How to pay off Student Loan – Don’t make it complicated!

Getting out of student loan debt is not complicated. Pay as much as you can squeeze from your income.  There is no magic.  Losing weight is the same way.  If you eat less than you use, you will naturally lose weight.  How long it will take for you to pay off depends on the amount of student loan, your income, and your motivation.  More you are determined to pay off the debt, you can accomplish your goal faster.   

I recently saw a mobile app called Givling.  This site is designed for people answer trivia questions and a winner can receive money to pay off student loan.  Up to two plays are free.  You pay $0.5 per game. If you want higher cash prize, you need to be in “queue”.  You can get into queue by playing more game and winning, interacting with ad, buying queue points, responding to sponsor’s offers, etc. 

Read moreHow to pay off Student Loan – Don’t make it complicated!

Professor Job – teaching or researching?

One of many things I was ignorant before starting college, was how professors were busy for doing own research rather than teaching classes at college.  I attended so-called “research university” in the West Coast.  I did not know what “research university” meant back then but I felt I was not welcomed in prof’s office even during the “office hours”.  The reason was college professors had more important things to do — research.  

After I became a grad student, it was crystal clear to me that the most professors wanted grad students to deal with undergrads. It is again because they could focus on their research, instead of teaching or helping students.   

Read moreProfessor Job – teaching or researching?

Student Loan Consolidation, is it wise thing to do?

If you have multiple student loans, you may get a solicitation from a company to consolidate all loans into one student loan for you.  Is it legitimate?  Is it right thing for you?

The US Department of Education site, has listed pros and cons of loan consolidation below.  


  1. If you currently have federal student loans that are with different loan servicers, consolidation can greatly simplify loan repayment by giving you a single loan with just one monthly bill.
  2. Consolidation can lower your monthly payment by giving you a longer period of time (up to 30 years) to repay your loans.
  3. If you consolidate loans other than Direct Loans, it may give you access to additional income-driven repayment plan options and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. (Direct Loans are from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.)
  4. You’ll be able to switch any variable-rate loans you have to a fixed interest rate.

Read moreStudent Loan Consolidation, is it wise thing to do?

Discover Student Loans – Genius Marketing or Trap?

Discover advertise their student loan program emphasizing the following benefits:

  • Good Grade Reward — 1% cash reward if your Grade Point Average (GPA) is 3.0 or above.  This is available only one time for each new Discover student loan.
  • No fee — loan application, origination or late fees
  • Interest rate fixed: 5.99% – 13.99% APR; variable rate: 3.99% – 12.99% APR

Discover’s selling point for this student loan is “good grade reward”.  It feels good to hear that you might get money back from earning good grades at college.  But it is only 1% one-time deal.  For example, if you took $5000 student loan and get 3.0 or above GPA, then you get $50.  If your loan amount is $10,000, you receive $100.  Hooray!?  This is a gimmick.  It does not worth even considering borrowing money just because you could get 1% money back.  

Read moreDiscover Student Loans – Genius Marketing or Trap?

College Admission – Race Conscious and Legacy

When I started my first real job right after graduating from college, I was sent to a small company in Germany where we had business with.  It was a research oriented firm  founded by a German college professor and managed by his engineer son. A couple of months past and I got to know everyone in the company pretty well and felt comfortable asking business and private questions.  I was curious how Germans would approach the affirmative action and hiring process.  The president of the company simply said, “That (the affirmative action) is not what we pay attention to.  I just hire people who qualify for what I am looking for.”   I looked around and saw plenty of diversity at his firm even though the president was not purposely enforcing the affirmative action.   

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What are reasons to sack tenured professors?

Tenure track faculty, Prof. or Associate Prof. in front of his/her name, is guaranteed the professorship for life.  This is pretty sweet compare to common practice in other industries where people get laid off or fired all the time.  There is no work place your position is safe for life except academic field.  Regardless of you agree or disagree with the academic tenure, I was just curious if there are some cases a professor can be terminated.  

Read moreWhat are reasons to sack tenured professors?