How to Get a Loan for a Second Master’s Degree

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Eligibility for financial aid, such as federal student loans, exists for a second master’s degree within certain limits.
  • Loan options include Direct Stafford Loans with a $138,500 limit and Perkins Loans with a $60,000 lifetime limit per person.
  • Consider personal loans as an alternative for funding a second master’s, offering flexibility for any purpose.
  • Pursuing a second master’s has benefits (specialized knowledge, salary increase) and drawbacks (additional time, financial costs).

There was a time when a simple bachelor’s degree was enough to land a well-paying and respected job. Over time, the job industry has evolved such that a graduate degree has now become a minimum qualification but only those with a master’s degree can actually hope to be hired.

It has been estimated that in the near future, even these two degrees will not be sufficient. More than 18% of jobs will require the candidates to have a Second Master’s degree showing their specialization in a particular area.

If you are planning to pursue your Second Master’s but are feeling down because of all the expenses that you would need to incur during the process, a loan for Second Master’s might be the ultimate solution. Read on to find out more.

Can You Get Financial Aid for a Second Masters?

You have dreams and you are working to make it come true. So you have decided it is time for your second masters. You probably took a while to decide what you should study, but now the reality hits. How will you finance it? You don’t have sponsorship from work and you can’t pay your tuition cash. What options do you have? How are you going to do this?

Federal student loans help people in tremendous ways. These academic financial aid initiatives have helped millions of students to complete their degrees and masters. But the question remains whether you can get a loan for second masters.

Most student loans have specific rules and regulations that govern the way it operates. You can get financial aid for studies as long as you remain eligible. So if you play according to those rules you might be able to get a student loan for second master’s. But what about the people who have already used federal student loans? Let’s look at some scenarios in which you would be able to use financial aid.

Direct Stafford Loans

Direct Stafford Loans have a maximum limit of $138,500 per person. It also has an annual limit of $20,500. You are eligible for a loan for second masters as long as you don’t exceed the limit.

Once you’ve reached the limit you can possibly borrow more. But only after you’ve repaid a part of the loan. You can then loan all the way up to the maximum limit of $138,500. Speak to your student loan servicer and ask if they will allow you to increase your loan. Just remember the same rules still apply as set out above.

Perkins Loans

Your school could possibly offer a Perkins loan. Or they may offer service through a private company. But you first need to ask your school if they supply a Perkins loan. Please note it has a lifetime limit of $60,000 per person, but can for forgiven for some borrowers like teachers. You can use a Perkins loan if you have not yet used it in your life.

Personal Loans

Taking out a personal loan for second masters is also a good option. Personal loans are usually unsecured. This means you don’t need to provide something as collateral. Collateral is something of value which will serve as your payment (i.e. as security) if you can no longer repay a loan. You can use a personal loan for whatever you want to, even a second master’s degree.

You can apply online for personal loans. Personal loans are available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and even foreign nationals working or studying here. Find and apply for the ones for which you are eligible.

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Should I Get a Second Master’s Degree?

You probably had scores of friends and family offer you advice. Everyone wants to give you the answer to your situation. It’s easy to follow their advice but you have to live with the consequences. So let’s take an objective look at the consequences (both good and bad) of pursuing a second master’s degree.

Benefits of a Second Master’s Degree

A well-educated person is always appreciated by prospective employers and a Second Master’s degree definitely adds a feather in the cap. Some of the major benefits of a Second Master’s degree are explained below:

More specialized knowledge

The education one gains through an undergrad program is very broad and general. Additionally, the master’s degree provides more specialized knowledge as you can choose a particular sub-area within the graduate field to gain expertise in. A Second Master’s is a chance for you to delve even deeper into the field of your choice to gain more perspective.

Possible salary increase

Needless to say, an employee with a Second Master’s would definitely stand to earn even more because of his higher education. If you complete your Second Master’s in your current job, you are sure to get a major boost in your salary.

More employment opportunities

A Second Master’s helps you in landing on more lucrative jobs. There are many companies, especially those in health care, education and similar industries which place a lot of value to Second Master’s degrees while hiring new employees.

Career advancement

A Second Master’s is also a great way for career advancement as higher education helps you in transitioning to senior positions in your current job itself. If you feel that you have been stuck in the same kind of work profile for years on end and are not able to make your way up, a Second Master’s degree may just be the boost that your career needs to propel you upwards.

Cons of a Second Master’s Degree

Unfortunately, pursuing your second master’s has a downside too. Here are the possible cons of a second master’s degree.

Additional Time

Your second master’s will take a considerable amount of time. Life as a student has its perks, but you can know for sure it will require a dedicated and consistent investment of your time. You’re going to have to plan your life according to a rigorous study and work schedule. But since this would be your second time, we probably don’t have to explain it to you. You are most probably already prepared for it.

The Financial Cost

You can’t get around this one. Someone has to pay your tuition and given that this is your second time, that person is most probably you. You have to spend hard-earned money on a degree you still need to earn. There is actually a risk involved when you study. You don’t have a guarantee that you will finish it. You invest this money into your future hoping that you get the qualification.

If you are using a loan for second master’s, you need to be really wise with the choice of your majors. It increases your total debt which requires more expensive interest repayments. You will also take longer to repay your debt and in turn, increase the total interest you need to repay over the lifetime of your student debt.

Loss of Career Progress

You most probably chose this path to get better job offers. But still, time spent in the classroom is time lost in your career. You could have gotten real-world experience, but instead, you opted to go back to school.

Extra Time Required by New Majors

A master’s degree sometimes focuses on equipping students with a wide array of knowledge to prepare them for a PhD. During your studies, you’ll have to invest lots of time and effort into studying your new majors. It is also possible that you’ll have to cover undergrad work if you choose to pursue a master’s in a subject far removed from your previous degree. This leads to more time spent studying since you chose a field you are not yet familiar with.

The Disruption to Your Life

Let’s face it. You are definitely not going to be the youngest person on campus. The way of life on campus may be out of your comfort zone and will require you to adapt. Life as a student holds unique challenges and the context of your life may be contrary to it. Perhaps you are a parent and need to raise your children whilst you are studying your second master’s. Or maybe you need to move closer to your school to finish the degree. Moving your home is not only expensive, but it can be psychologically taxing as well.

This does not mean it’s impossible. If you got a first master’s are well able to get your second. So make sure you are well prepared and chase your dreams!

How to Pay For Your Second Masters?

A Master’s degree is an expensive course to undertake and the same applies for a Second Master’s as well. However, there are several ways through which you can pay for your Second Masters.

Funding

Many students receive funding from either their previous college or from the organization that they are working for. This way, they do not have to incur the entire cost of the course. On the other hand, there are also many public universities where the course fee is much less due to government funding.

Scholarships/Assistantships

Almost all the universities have a scholarship system through which they reward their most meritorious students and those who are in need of financial help by awarding scholarships. The assistantship is also a similar concept where you may have to work as a substitute teacher for undergrad students or as a lab assistant to earn a partial waiver of the Master’s fees.

Loans

Taking an education loan is probably the most popular way of paying for a Second Master’s. You can go for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan where you are given a fixed amount of money at the rate of 6% interest. Or else, you can also go for a Direct Plus loan where the interest is charged at 7% but the loan amount is able to cover the entire course fees.

3 Simple Steps to Applying for a Personal Loan for a Second Master’s

If you are considering applying for a personal loan for a second master’s, just follow these 3 simple steps.

Apply

Apply online for the loan amount you need. Submit the required documentation and provide your best possible application. Stronger applications get better loan offers.

Accept

If your application meets the eligibility criteria, the lender will contact you with regard to your application. Provide any additional information if required. Soon you’ll have your loan offer. Some lenders send a promissory note with your loan offer. Sign and return that note if you wish to accept the loan offer.

Repay

The loan then gets disbursed into your U.S. bank account within a reasonable number of days (some lenders will be as quick as 2-3 business days). Now you need to set up your repayment method. You can choose an autopay method online to help you pay on time every month.

5 Tips For Saving Money While Working Towards Your Second Master’s

There is a range of ways through which you can save money while pursuing Second Masters. Some of them are:

Subletting

The easiest way to earn some extra cash for daily expenses is to sublet your apartment or any spare bedrooms that you have. You can have a permanent roommate by taking in another Master’s student or a Ph.D. candidate or you can make your apartment available for visiting scientists who are usually willing to pay more.

Make your own food

Cut down on your food expenses by packing a lunch for yourself every day. Not only will this ensure that you have a healthier diet, but you will also be surprised at how much money you can save this way. All you need to do is learn a few simple recipes that take minimal prep time so that you can whip up a healthy lunch and dinner for yourself every day.

Binge eat at conferences and get-togethers

Arrange to get yourself invited for conferences which are not only fun and informative but are also great places to have a hearty lunch. Most universities have on-campus seminars and presentations from university professors and other academicians which is generally followed by a free lunch.

Overseas conferences

A great way of saving on vacation expenses is to persuade your professor to let you attend an overseas conference. This way, your flight ticket, as well as hotel arrangements, will be sponsored and you can just have the time of your life in between the conference timings. Keep a lookout for conferences that are taking place in some scenic locales and make use of this strategy to take a well-deserved break from college.

Student discounts

The good old student discounts are still a great way to save money on small daily expenses. Right from getting a beer at half the price on specific days of the week to fare concessions in public transport, a Second Master’s degree is a great time to relive your undergrad days and make the most of your status as a university student.

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Conclusion

A second masters is not just a way of landing a lucrative job offer but also of differentiating yourself from other employees and taking a faster route up the corporate ladder. With easy loan disbursals from Stilt, you don’t even have to worry about financing your education. Take the leap today towards a better future with a Second Master’s degree.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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