My brother is working on a master’s right now, and so far I think the money end is going OK for him.
Well, there are several ways to pay for grad school. The one that is the most common (or so I'm told) is to promise someone a certain amount of years, a certain GPA, or something of the like. A few examples:
You're an honors student with a 4.0 and part of the National Honor Society. The NHS alumni association decides that they want to sponsor your graduate studies, so long as you maintain your 4.0, so that you later become an NHS alumnus of, say, Princeton. Princeton puts another honor student on their stats and NHS has a potential source of future income from a respected and well-educated member of the community.
You're an intern at XYZ Corporation and they promise to fund your graduate studies in return for signing a contract to work for them for a minimum of 5 years after obtaining a degree. They promise you a salary of 65k for those years, where they usually have to hire someone with the same degree and experience for 75k. They save 50k in the long run, you get an education AND a guaranteed job later on. It's pretty win-win, even with the pay cut.
You've got a degree in early education, and you want a MAT. The school district agrees to fund you for it if you agree to teach in their school district for at least 6 years.
... and so on and so forth. Those who are funded or sponsored for grad school may be feeling a slight pinch, but the impression I get is that it's more difficult to get financial aid for graduate studies because
there are so many options for sponsorship. So those who are not sponsored...