In the past five years, the face of the global economy has seen drastic shifts. There have been major financial crises in what is generally considered the world’s top-performing countries ranging from housing market crashes, to increased unemployment rates, to unpredictability in the stock exchange, and heightened oil prices. The United States has been no exception to these change. It seems that no business has been safe, and all individuals face the daunting task of fighting for their livelihood. In the past, trends have suggested that in tough economic times it is best to invest in yourself by investing in education. The thought is as follows – If you can improve your own skill set, you can improve your resume, and therefore improve your job security, or even find some upward mobility in the job market. I heeded this advice myself and enrolled in a graduate program at a local university. I earned a Master of Arts degree in Political Science, and found it to be a refreshing experience. I gained a great deal of knowledge, along with an immeasurable amount of life experience. I also gained another very, very valuable tool that is often an indirect, unpublicized result of attending graduate school: networking. contacts. shameless self-promotion. The reasons to work towards higher education are a dime a dozen, but it seems that one of the most difficult pieces each of us have with actually seeking a college degree is how to pay for it.