What You Should Know About This Degree
The cost of a master’s degree is a significant consideration for most students, especially if you are still paying student loans from an undergraduate degree. Many graduate programs charge tuition on a per-credit basis. When calculating tuition for an online master’s program, look at the number of credits a program requires as well as the tuition rate to get a clear sense of what the overall program cost is.
If you have federal student loans from your undergraduate degree and are planning on using additional federal loans to subsidize your master’s degree, be aware that the total amount of money you can borrow from the U.S. Department of Education is limited. Make sure you understand how your current student loan balance affects the amount of money you can borrow for grad school before selecting a program.
Online programs are attractive to working professionals because they allow you to keep your job while earning your degree. However, attending school online while working full or part-time requires excellent time management, organizational, and self-motivation skills. Online students don’t have face-to-face interaction and accountability to keep them on track, so it is up to you to make time for schoolwork and stay on track with assignments. Distance learners must also be proficient with technology and have reliable devices and internet connections.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Affordable Online Master’s Degree programs:
- Does the program have in-person requirements? Programs that deliver all coursework online may still have in-person requirements for internships, clinical residencies, or student teaching. Other programs may require travel to campus for orientations or residencies. These requirements can affect your budget by adding travel costs or limiting your ability to work, so make sure you factor this into your decision when selecting a program.
- What support services does the school offer to distance learners? Online students require the same support as on-campus students, including tutoring, library access, tech support, and job placement. Many schools tailor these services to online students through video conference or online access to library materials. Also, find out how your professors will be accessible to you.
Regardless of how affordable a program is, you should explore all of your options for financing your graduate degree, including student loans, scholarships, assistantships, grants, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer, if available. Your school should have financial aid counselors available to help you understand your options and submit applications.