Continuing your education for a postgraduate degree can be hard and strenuous, especially without proper planning and lack of funding. Learn some options to finance your advanced degree in Malaysia.
So, you have decided to further your studies in your respective field, whether directly after completing your undergraduate studies or after working in the industry for a few years.
You would likely have begun with some research in your potential field of study and meeting potential supervisors and attending talks or seminars.
The preparation required for planning out funding your studies is equally important because how else you can manage to survive your 3 to 5 years (ish) of your studies without enough funding and money for expenses, especially if you have no stable or recurring income.
The cost of graduate studies can be overwhelming and seems impossible to work out. You have to take into account your circumstances such as tuition fees, course material fees, travel, food, student housing or external accommodation, childcare, and other personal expenses.
For example, according to the studymalaysia portal, the average cost for a Masters in Business Administration in Malaysia for public universities is RM21,000 to 26,000 per course and for private universities, RM20,000 to RM40,000. And, that is only for tuition fees; not taking into account other expenses.
You might also encounter some opportunity costs such as taking a break from work to further your studies.
Here, we list some of the funding options you can explore for your postgraduate studies.
#1. Student loans
Student loans are another option that is frequently used by students in Malaysia to fund their educations.
Before choosing your loan, do your research and think thoroughly about your postgraduate return of investment or risk of being burdened by your education loan that won’t benefit your career or increase your income.
Additionally, if students can achieve certain conditions such as a First Class Honors, their loan may be converted into a scholarship.
One of the most popular student loans is the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) that allows students from different financial backgrounds to receive financial assistance.
For students with a household income of less than RM4,000, you are eligible for a full loan while students with a household income of less than RM8,000 will get a 75% partial loan, and for household income more than RM8,000 will be eligible for a 50% partial loan.
You can apply for the PTPN loan by opening an SSPN-i account and submit your application at here . Afterward, check your status of the application and submit the application hardcopy at your respective college or universities.
You can also opt for Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) students loan for Bumiputera citizens. One of them is the Graduate Excellence Programme (GrEP). This is a convertible loan for Post Graduate Degrees at Institutes of Higher Education, locally and abroad, as specified by MARA.
Another loan from MARA is the Professional Development Programme (Pro-P) aimed for professional or expertise levels for outstanding graduates which have an impact on national employment. This can be applied for students who have received study offers by institutions recognized by Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) and the Professional Recognition Bodies.
Many universities or organizations will give out scholarships based on your merit and qualifications. It’s worth to cast your net out wide in the hopes of securing suitable scholarships, whether partial or full as it can contribute to lowering your burden to pay.
You can refer to an updated list of scholarship in Malaysia here.
Scholarship can be a great way to help save your money during the study period. At least, you are safe for the tuition part and the best thing about it? You don’t have to pay back the money and you can fully enjoy your return of investment after graduation. But, it is highly recommended to maintain good grades to avoid being cut from the scholarship.
#3. Tap into your savings account
It is highly recommended to have at least six to twelve months worth of savings before you decide to take a huge leap in your financial life, e.g education or retirement.
If you are confident that you have enough cash in hand for rainy days as well as daily expenses, you can consider utilizing your savings to fund your postgraduate journey. Having cash in hand can be beneficial to pave for an easier journey even though taking a postgraduate degree isn’t just a brisk walk at the park.
With this, you will avoid paying more for accumulated interest from student loans and other expenses. As mentioned earlier, it is worth exploring advanced degrees that are in demand among employers so that you will have a good return of investment to recoup what you’ve spent within a few years.
#4. Look for part-time job or secondary income
Earning your money through a part-time job or side hustle can be a great way to help fund your study expenses.
A part-time job is an ideal option especially for full-time students to earn money without having to deal with the burden of responsibility as a full-time worker in a company.
Even though being a full-time worker/students have its perks too like more experience and can help to fund your expenses but you can’t deny that you will have more time and space to focus fully on your studies.
#5. Talk to your employer
If you are currently employed, you might consider asking your employer for any options to fund your studies.
Some employers or organizations offer to partially or fully fund their staff education e.g to attend graduate school. This is because it can be assumed that those skills and knowledge obtained can benefit your current organization or company.
Have a discussion with your Human Resource or manager about the options available to fund your studies. You might be required to commit to the company for a period of time as part of the terms and conditions for the company to pay for your tuition. But, only sign if you feel that the company has a great working environment and you don’t mind spending half of your career life there.
The decision to further your studies for an advanced levels is a huge step, not only for an advancement in your knowledge and life but it is also pose a significant impact on your financial standing. If you need to reassess your financial situation before you take that course, do consult a licensed financial planner for better understanding and options you can have during your study period.
What are your actions to finance your advanced degree? Share with us in the comments section below.