DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got accepted to attend New York University to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. Words cannot contain my excitement about potentially attending my dream school -- but there is one problem. I don't have the money to pay for the tuition. The cost is way outside my budget, but I do not want to miss this opportunity. I could attend a graduate school I can afford, but I really want to attend my dream school, and I don’t know what to do. -- Fulfilling a Dream
DEAR FULFILLING A DREAM: This is a hard one. You have been accepted to an excellent school. Contact the admissions office to see if there are any scholarships or financial awards that they offer. It is less likely, though, for a graduate program as opposed to undergraduate. Ask about on-campus jobs or other opportunities that might defray costs. Work with them to see if there is any chance of shaving off some of the tuition. You can also look into securing a loan to help you pay for school.
That said, I also strongly recommend that you not go into tremendous debt. Can you recast your dream toward the actual work you want to do? Think more broadly than where you secure your degree to where you want to work. Set your sights on that. I think you should attend a school you can afford and get to the job without tremendous financial burden.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)