According to a 2009 survey by U.S. News & World Report, at least forty percent of all graduate students receive some kind of free money. It will take some time and effort on your part to find some financial assistance, but the odds are definitely in your favor! Let’s look at where you can go to get yourself a piece of that financial aid pie.
You still need to start by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid). http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ While needs-based Pell grants do not apply for graduate level work, completing the FAFSA can assist your eligibility for many scholarship programs and can also qualify you for low-interest student loan programs. You may not have fond memories of completing this tedious task in the past, but new for 2010 is a totally revised (and abbreviated) FAFSA online application! The new form “auto fills” several redundant fields for you and estimated completion time is significantly less than the old form. The key to a smooth FAFSA completion is gathering all of the necessary information needed BEFORE logging in.
Grants and Scholarships
Of course you would like to receive some totally “free” money for your Masters in Education. That means either a grant or scholarship that does not require repayment. Rest assured, those opportunities are out there, but they will not jump out and bite you. You will need to do some active searching to find these types of financial assistance. A great place to start is the academic department for your degree. They will have first-hand knowledge of scholarships and grants in your field. Another important stop is the financial aid office of your chosen institution. When I made this visit, I learned I was eligible for an “academic achievement” scholarship of $500 per semester of at least half-time enrollment, simply because my cumulative undergraduate GPA was 3.7 or higher. The award was not automatic. I had to fill out a one page application.
Searching the World Wide Web for other financial aid assistance should not be overlooked, although there is so much “noise” out there, it is often hard to discern what is legitimate. Be extremely wary of any program that requires you to pay out money to apply! At the same time, the Internet can be a great place to find a “niche” grant or scholarship, especially if you have something that makes you unique or identifiable with a certain group. Our local Sons of Norway fraternal organization awards generous scholarship money each year to local college students of Norwegian descent.
There are also options for both public and private student loans. If you qualify for the Stafford loan program, which is a federal direct loan, the benefits are hard to beat. You can get a needs-based loan for a fixed interest rate of 6.8% or less, and there is no re-payment required as long a you are enrolled at least half-time. The total amount you can borrow is based on the cost of attending your specific college or university, minus any other financial aid you will receive. Independent students may be eligible to borrow more because they are paying for college by themselves. Check with your school’s financial aid office for assistance in applying for a Stafford loan.
If you are currently teaching, don’t forget to check with your employer to find out what they can offer you. Most public school systems support and encourage their faculty in continuing education through stipends or assistance with tuition and books. If you are diligent, you should be able to secure the financial resources for your Master’s degree in Education using a combination of all of these resources.
How Much Does a Masters in Education Cost?
When you have decided that you are fit for a higher degree, there is one factor in mind that can make or break a decision immediately – costs. It is important to consider all costs of a degree program prior to enrolling, so that you can prepare yourself financially for what lies ahead. The most common type of cost for a degree program is the tuition. For a Master’s in Education, students may find that courses are offered charge anywhere from $250 to $550 per credit hour, depending on the university.
Full-time enrollment is considered 12 credit hours per semester, with most graduate programs requiring 32-36 credit hours total for graduation. Another cost to investigate is fees, which can be presented as technology, institutional, or graduation fees. Some colleges charge upwards of $200 per semester for fees of this nature, so be research specific fees by school when choosing a degree program. Lastly, the costs books and other educational expenses should also be reviewed ahead of time. Books alone can range from $50 to $200 a piece, which can be a significant addition to the tuition and fees listed above.
After the above stated financial requirements for this degree program, you should also consider the opportunity costs for enrolling in this degree program. Is it going to require that you take time off of work completely? Can you continue to work full-time or will you have to choose part-time employment throughout the process? These factors can also cost you in the long run, which is why a lot of Master’s in Education programs are designed to allow you to continue working full-time.
When adding up the different costs associated with this degree program, be sure to consider the possible lost wages that could occur from taking time off of work or reducing a work schedule significantly.
Examples of M.A. in Education Program Costs
We looked at only a small percentage of the available MA in Education programs to ascertain some average figures. You are encouraged to do your own research on the schools and online programs available in your geographical area.
NOTE: Estimates were averaged based on non-resident rates for Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 data.
When researching Master’s in Education programs, you should definitely add up the costs of the actual experience combined with what it can cost you in time and potential loss of work. Our educational specialists recommend that students choose universities that fit their work schedule, blend well with their personal responsibilities, and are available at reasonable costs. These figures are meant to bring to light some of the actual tuition costs of universities, so that you can better choice a university that fits your standards.
What our experts have provided below can give you a better understanding of the costs associated with some example universities from a bias-free standpoint. While these are great examples, the list is limited to only a small portion of what is actually available. Where you reside can also have a bearing on the type of university that you choose, so be sure to do some independent research to compare figures that are more specific to you, regionally.
It is important to consider costs when choosing a degree program, since the price of some universities vary significantly from others. Depending on where you are located, there are likely handfuls of universities that are willing to accept you with lighter requirements, but charge you more per credit hours in the program. Reviewing what is available can give you the best advantage in the selection process.
Once the higher education bug has hit you, it is hard to recover. As professionals, we feel the need to go as far as we possibly can and pursue all potential leads for advancement. Choosing to pursue a Master’s in Education is a great choice for educational professionals that desire something more in their career. When it comes to costs, you can be sure that this is a highly considered factor for individuals in your same situation.
With educational costs on the rise, it is normal to consider whether or not the financial and personal commitment is worth the effort. Overall, the costs of higher education should not discourage you from following your dreams of a better career. Having a Master’s in Education can potentially open up possibilities that were not attainable at lower degree levels. Research is the key to determining the overall costs of education in comparison to your personal lifestyle and budget.
Considering the different costs of education prior to enrolling can help you in preparing for the road ahead, and provide you with the advantage of planning. Costs of tuition can vary greatly between universities, so be sure to consider all possible options within your geographical area. Also, it has been reported that nearly 50% of educators leave their field after 5 years (NCTAF), so take the time to consider how dedicated you are to this field prior to committing to the time and costs associated with this program.
Some universities charge a large number of fees for technology, internet access, and graduation. Other colleges may offer minimal fees, which is ideal for students with costs in mind. Books and other educational fees should be assessed from a proactive standpoint. There are different methods of obtaining books, such as renting, or buying used or digital formats, that can save money in the long run. Many companies are available that can assist in lowering your out-of-pocket costs for supplies throughout your collegiate experience.
With the information provided from our researchers as well as the information gained through you own research, we hope that you have a better understanding of the costs associated with this degree program in comparison to what this degree can provide to you in the long haul.
- With over 10 different 100% Online Master of Education programs, Lamar University is an excellent option for current teachers looking for their Master's degree. Lamar University’s College of Education and Human Development is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Lamar University’s online programs are recognized as among the best in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs rankings.
- Arkansas State University offers numerous Online M.Ed. degrees, with nationally recognized and accredited educational degrees at all levels (The College of Education & Behavioral Science is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)) – as well as bachelor completion and professional certifications.