Counseling & Rehabilitation Today: A USC Counseling & Rehabilitation Production

Funding Your Education, An Interview with Patrick Demery

January 09, 2024 Mike Walsh
Funding Your Education, An Interview with Patrick Demery
Counseling & Rehabilitation Today: A USC Counseling & Rehabilitation Production
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Counseling & Rehabilitation Today: A USC Counseling & Rehabilitation Production
Funding Your Education, An Interview with Patrick Demery
Jan 09, 2024
Mike Walsh

In this episode, we sat down with Patrick Demery, the Student Services & Program Coordinator for the USC Counseling and Rehabilitation program. Patrick answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) surrounding funding, health insurance and more!

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Transcription link:

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we sat down with Patrick Demery, the Student Services & Program Coordinator for the USC Counseling and Rehabilitation program. Patrick answers some frequently asked questions (FAQs) surrounding funding, health insurance and more!

Check us out at

Transcription link:

Dr. Mike Walsh: Hey there and welcome to the Counseling and Rehabilitation Podcast. For today’s episode we welcome Student Services Program Director/Coordinator, all around magic-man, Patrick Demery. As we discuss our top seven most frequently asked questions for Funding Your Education. Without further ado, let’s jump in. Welcome Patrick! 

Patrick Demery: Hi y’all! Um, happy to answer a few questions today, tell you a little bit about Funding Your Education. 

Dr. Walsh: You are the Student Services Coordinator/the Program Coordinator for the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Tell us about what that means. 

Patrick: That's right! So as the Student Services Program Coordinator, I’ll be here with students really from the beginning of their journey; the application process all the way to the end when you’re walking across that stage. As a Student Services Coordinator, I’ll be able to assist you with financial questions, registering for classes, um, anything related to your bill, or setting up as you join us here to begin with. I’m kind of your one-stop-shop for your needs. Generally if I don’t have the answer I can at least point you to the correct resource and we will do a little problem solving together. 

Dr. Walsh: Cool! So you are the perfect person to answer these questions that we have about Funding Your Education. Without delaying any further let’s jump into the first question here. So the first question I see: “Does the program offer financial assistance? For example, is the RSA Scholarship available?” 

Patrick: Yeah that is a great question, that’s one that we really do get quite often. So the short answer here is that our program does not offer financial assistance through scholarships. Specifically, the Rehabilitation Services Administration Scholarship, or the RSA Grant as it is known, has been offered in the past. However, we do not currently have an RSA Grant so we do not have any scholarships or fellowships available at this point. We do apply for those, anytime they become available though, and we notify students anytime that option is presented so stay tuned on that one, we’ll absolutely let you know as they become available. 

The university actually has a list of fellowships that may be useful here, while we’re on the subject of scholarships and fellowships. That list is available on the University website, These fellowships are competitive, but we welcome students to apply. Of course we endorse any students interested in completing the application process. Just type “fellowships” in the search engine bar at to check those out. What we offer through our program is a limited number of graduate assistantships, offered to students after a program admission decision has been made by the graduate school, and the student has already secured enrollment in the program. 

Dr. Walsh: That’s a great point, and excellent segway into question number two: “Does the program offer graduate assistantships and what are the basic benefits?” 

Patrick: Absolutely! So graduate assistantships are offered when they’re available to out-of-state students as a way to bring tuition costs down to in-state tuition levels, rather than paying that out-of-state tuition. The key thing to remember here though is that GAships within our program are limited. We’re only able to disperse those as they become available. So with this in mind, we encourage students to seek additional GA opportunities in other departments as well. These departments can be really anywhere around the university. In addition to emailing me, as your Program Coordinator, to gather some GA resources; students are able to check a box in their initial application that connects them to information from university resources that detail available GA positions. And of course, you’re welcome to visit the Grad Student Resources Hub at for a current listing of available GAships. 

Now with all that in mind, a GAship can be a really valuable way to provide some funding for your education.  As of right now, a graduate assistantship covers the premium for the mandatory health insurance that all grad students have to have and certain GAships also pay a minimum rate of $15 per hour. So students are able to work up to 20 hours a week as a GA, although our program GAships offer 10 hours a week at that $15 per hour pay rate. And then finally, another really valuable aspect to being a graduate assistant within our program is the research component. So our GAs tend to work very closely with our faculty members, and that can be in any area of interest to either the GA or perhaps it’s assisting in research with an area of interest, with that particular faculty member so, you do gain a bit of a boost to your career and a bit of a boost to your resume in that light as well. Now if you’re interested in a GAship feel free to email your Program Coordinator and we’ll provide a number of upcoming GAship availability and we’ll pass on some resources for additional opportunities across campus as well. 

Dr. Walsh: Great, thank you! I believe I recall some mention in a variety of places about in-state and out-of-state tuition. What are the rates for in-state and out-of-state tuition? How does that apply to the whole GAship thing?

Patrick: Yeah! Well they definitely vary. Of course in-state tuition is going to be cheaper than out-of-state tuition. With that said, tuition costs change each academic year, so a GAship would allow you to move into that in-state tuition level. The most recent resource and the best resource for checking our current tuition costs would definitely be found in the financial aid scholarship section of the University website. So that’s, once you locate the financial aid section by typing “financial aid” in the search bar there’s a specific subsection that details the cost to attend for both in-state and out-of-state graduate students so you can get a pretty clear look at the picture from that angle. If you’re having any trouble locating that information online, feel free to reach out again to your program coordinator; they'll be happy to guide you to the correct link to follow-up. And really the financial aid website in general is a great resource for students getting started within the program. I would advise anyone interested to take a look at, that’s an email address that you can use to address basically any question you have pertaining to financial aid.

Dr. Walsh: Very cool, thank you! So speaking of costs and all those sorts of things:

“What is the cost to attend outside of tuition? Does the University provide information on the additional costs of living expenses for example?”

Patrick: Oh yeah, we definitely do. And that’s an important thing to factor in as a prospective student. Certainly your student bill that you pay through the University is one thing but moving to Columbia or providing things like transportation, child care, groceries, everything in between is an important part of overall costs as well. So the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships actually has a breakdown of additional estimated costs to attend our program, and that’s going to take into account some of the things I mentioned; housing, transportation, and additional items as well. 

Graduate school is a big investment so we definitely encourage prospective students to take a look at that info. You can type “financial aid” or “cost to attend” in the search bar on website, and of course reach out to your program coordinator. We’ll always be there to steer you in the right direction for requesting information like that.

Dr. Walsh: Thanks! This next question has to do with financial aid for military personnel. “Does the program offer financial aid for military personnel?”

Patrick: So the Counseling and Rehabilitation program does not provide additional funding for military personnel at this time, but there are plenty of financial assistance options for the military, such as the GI Bill. etc. We’ve had a number of students who have used the GI Bill as they’ve come through the program, so we definitely encourage you to look into that if that’s the best option for you. The University also has a really helpful resource, it’s the Veterans and Military Services Department. They’re able to assist with that unique experience of balancing student and service life, so you can get in touch with them by searching “Veteran and Military Services” on or by contacting your program coordinator for a little assistance there. 

Dr. Walsh: We’re hearing a theme here with this ‘contact your program coordinator’ thing. So our next question has to do with something you mentioned a little bit earlier, health insurance. “Do all graduate students need health insurance?”  

Patrick: Yep, you got it. Your program coordinator is going to be your kind of one stop shop. Anytime you have questions about financials, that’s a great resource to start with. If your program coordinator doesn’t have the answer for you directly, they’re going to be able to get you in touch with the right resources to get your questions answered. So speaking of insurance, you’re exactly right. We mentioned health insurance a minute ago, when discussing graduate assistance benefits. So to clear that up yes, all graduate students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours must have health insurance. And that’s a mandatory requirement for all students of medicine graduate programs, which obviously the counseling and rehabilitation program falls under. So we have to submit that proof of health insurance. 

One thing, especially that applicants may not know is that the university does provide a student health insurance plan. It’s available to all enrolled graduate students. The university actually automatically enrolls you into that program so if it pertains to your situation, should you be a student who has another source of insurance; say through a parent or through a current job, you’re welcome to waive yourself out of the University provided plan. That plan will be reflected through your student bill, it’s viewable in Self Service Carolina, as well as the link to waive yourself out of there, no reason to be dual enrolled we just need one proof of health insurance. So the process for waiving out is very simple, all you’ll need to do is visit the website

Dr. Walsh: Perfect! Well that brings us to our final question for this episode that is dedicated to Funding Your Education. This one that we receive quite often from international students applying to the program. Are there any resources to assist international applicants with the application process? 

Patrick: Absolutely. The process of  applying to grad school from another country definitely requires additional steps and USC’s proud to provide a department dedicated to outlining some of those extra steps in the process. It’s called the International Student and Scholar Support Program. They’re able to assist international students in explaining the immigration process and they’ll be the ones who can really direct you to important resources. You can get in touch with ISS by searching their department as 

Dr. Walsh: Wow Patrick, thank you so much! Great information here. Thanks for joining us everybody, hope this episode was helpful in Funding Your Education. Thanks for tuning in and we will see you back here real soon. Take care everybody, bye bye!

End of Episode.