Is it Impossible to Graduate with a PhD without a Ton of Student Loans?

Having the time to work on research of interest and teaching causes in a subject that you’re passionate about might seem like a chimera of a career when you consider the path to get there. In order to have full-time teaching jobs at most colleges and universities, you need a doctoral degree; this degree can also lead you to pursue top careers in other fields such as medicine. However, as you consider the price tag attached to such programs, you may wonder whether the journey is possible. Fortunately, ways exist to procure a doctoral degree without prodigious debt.

Choose Fully Funded Programs

While it may come as a surprise to you, fully funded doctoral programs are available. These programs generally pay for all of the tuition and the fees associated with your obtaining of the degree. Each institution will have its own requirements for admission into such a program. Keep in mind that you will likely need to have high grades and scores on required examinations.

Tuition Remission

If your goal is to teach college, consider starting at the adjunct level. Adjunct salaries are usually quite low, so you may need to teach at more than one school to make a living. You may also need to take on side jobs. While that may sound like a great deal of work, some schools will also offer you tuition remission after you have taught for a certain period of time. You must check to see what the regulations are on this remission. For example, you may discover that you can receive remission for only three credits per semester and that you can use it for only certain programs. Keep in mind that you may need to pay the other fees associated with taking courses too.


While not all schools offer scholarships for doctoral students, some do. The best idea is to start looking into these opportunities as soon as possible so that you know the requirements. If you discover that you need at least a 3.75 grade point average to qualify after you have finished college with a 3.5, then you are likely to find yourself in a tough spot. Furthermore, you may also need to provide an excellent essay and letters of recommendation.

Explore On-campus Jobs

Obtaining a job on your school’s campus may not cover your entire tuition, but it can help to reduce some of the costs. For example, you may look into a program where all of your pay goes directly toward your tuition. Of course, you would need to have the financial ability and support to engage in this type of program.

Choose Loans Wisely

After you have explored all of your options, you may find that the only choice left is to take out a loan. Look into loans that offer low interest rates and loans where the interest rates will not change in the future. Furthermore, consider starting to pay off your loans while you are still in school so that you do not have a massive sum of debt waiting for you. If that is your plan, make sure that the lending entity does not penalize people who start to pay the loan early.

Having a dream is important, and so is having the motivation to achieve that dream. Still though, money often gets in the way of hopes and dreams. To prevent that from happening, consider these paths to a doctoral degree.

Related resource:

Top 20 Most Affordable Doctoral Psychology Programs