Post # 1
I just went to my first grad school fair and I’m starting to try to figure out my life. I want to do a Masters in Higher Ed Administration or another similar title.
With the help of another wise bee who commented on another post of mine a while back, I learned that most schools will give you a tuition discount or free tuition if you are an employee when taking classes. Given that I have a lot of higher ed experience already as an undergrad, I am hoping that I would be competitive for an entry-level position in a university department. So I could work full-time and then work on my masters doing 2-3 classes a semester. A lot of programs I’m looking at are only 10-12 courses, so I could finish within 2 years (or less if I did summers) while working.
Who else here has done this? Particularly with any sort of higher education-related degree since that is my interest. I’m just starting to think about this, and I would appreciate any experiences, advice, or suggestions you may have!
Post # 3
I haven’t, I had to be in school full time. You really just have to look at the individual program, some require you to be a full-time student at all and some are perfectly fine with part-time work (think MBA).
I think some higher ed admin programs require you to “work” as part of receiving your tuition/stipend. It is specific work that is approved and allowed by them within their university setting. Sort of like being a GRA in grad school.
I do know someone that got their MBA while working a full-time position at a University. University allowed 1 free class per semester as a benefit so she did it over a # of years taking 2 classes a semester.
Post # 4
@juliana192: I know I had a few lab instructors do that. They were allowed 2 free classes a semester, but the issue is that they only gave it to you if you worked their first before enrolling. If you applied before getting the job the offer didn’t stand. Its a nice bonus especially for people changing career paths or wanting to test the waters in higher degrees. They seemed to easily do it. I even had a pair of friends get married faster because he could get his PhD program(full-time) for free since she was employed by the university.
Post # 5
My FH is currently in a graduate program, they waived his tuition and pay him money each month for being a TA in his program. He was offered a position in the PhD program here, but after being here for a year, he decided it would be better for his future to just get his Master’s degree.
They waived his tuition and he had to work 20 hours a week at first while he was registered as a PhD student, but now that he has decided to change to a Master’s, they cut his work down to 10 hours a week and they pay him half of what he was getting in the PhD program. They still pay his tuition, and he will graduate this December after 3 semesters here- no summers involved in that. During the summers you do not get paid, so I would recommend having some money saved up just in case.
The work he does doesn’t seem very hard, and it doesn’t take up much time. Office hours takes up more time than anything else he has to do (grade homework, write quiz questions, etc…). I think that someone could have a part time job and still be able to do what he does.
Post # 6
@kes18: All the programs I looked at allow part-time studies, and the majority of them offer full tuition remission if you are a full-time employee. They also all have assistantship positions, but those are a stipend and not a salary, and therefore I would still have at least 20k in loans for tuition, much less living expenses. At my current top pick, the full-time students are required to have an assistantship but part-time students are not, so that’s handy!
Post # 7
@juliana192: Are you sure that’s the policy? I would assume that if it is a high enough percentage assistantship (e.g., at my university as long as you are employed with at least a 33.3% assistantship) you will not have loans for tuition – you get tuition remission along with the stipend. That is the function of assistantships for grad students, they aren’t salaried positions but you also don’t have to pay for school that way.
Post # 8
@oleada: That’s what I’ve seen at this one particular school I’m interested – in my research, a lot of schools do things differently. I found the handbook for last year’s assistantships through my intended program, and they were mostly 10-15k for the school year (or the housing-related provided free housing and a partial meal plan as equivalent compensation). On the website it says partial tuition. Given that tuition is 40k, I would still be left with a hefty sum. However, I haven’t looked too far into it, and it seems like they give a lot of merit-based aid as well.
Other schools I’ve looked at do it differently, where it is your full tuition or it makes up for out of state tuition if it’s a state school, etc.
Post # 9
I am currently doing this. I work full-time for a university and I am taking two masters courses part-time towards a masters degree. It is possible, however, I think your time frame is unrealistic.
This is my first term doing this and taking two courses is one course too many. For the rest of my degree I am going to take one course a term which means my degree will take 7 years!
You have to keep in mind that although the university will give you free classes, you still have to work your full hours. If your class is during work hours, you will have to make up the hours you miss. Readings & Assignments take a lot more time then you are expecting and are designed for students who are doing the course full time. If you have a husband/fiance and want to still see him or have a social life – it is REALLY difficult.
I think it’s a great idea but do not try to take 2-3 courses a term.
Post # 10
I worked full time during full-time undergrad, and FI worked full time during a full-time MBA program. It depends on the program, the flexibility of your work schedule (we were both in retail at the time, which is much more flexible than most office environments), and whether you are willing to give up the vast majority of your free time, but it can be done.
Post # 11
I wasn’t in an education degree or working at a school but for the second half of my masters I was working full time and taking classes part time.
Post # 12
In college, I worked in an office within my university and many of the non-student employees worked there solely because they got free (like 98% off) tuition. They were all super happy with their situation and took classes at their own pace. Some took 2-3 like you and others only took 1.
Post # 13
I did – part-time (2 classes/semester) and working a 40+ hour a week job (usually more). It’s all about balance, being organized, and scheduling. You have to be diligent with doing all your work and commiting to your job. It is 100% doable.
Post # 14
@alexisatk: 2-3 classes isn’t that outrageous, depending on the subject matter. I took two courses a semester with ease, and had several where I could have handled three. It really depends on the individual program. I did my part-time masters in 3 years with only taking 1 summer class, and that was because I only wanted to take one class the semester I was getting married.
Post # 15
- Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!
@juliana192: I have a friend that is a teacher and is getting her master’s online while she is teaching full time. It’s through Western Governor’s University. I’m not sure how much tuition costs, but she can take assessment tests that allow her to pass out of several courses, so I think it will only take her about a year to get her degree. It works really well for her since she teaches full time and is a new mommy.
Another friend of mine worked as a lab tech at our med school so he could have his MBA paid for. I think that’s a really good option.
Also, I don’t know too much about your major, but I know for hard sciences like engineering our graduate degrees are fully funded. I didn’t pay a dime of tuition for my master’s degree and actually got paid quite well to do research at the university. For my PhD I make a salary that’s not too shabby and all of my tuition and fees are covered. My package is worth about 80k a year when tuition is added. Try to find a program that supports graduate work!
Post # 16
@juliana192: Some programs guarantee assistantships, some do not. Those who do not guarantee them are VERY selective in giving them out. I would try to secure the assistantship before enrolling in classes. A lot of times they aren’t offered until a week or two before classes start.
I tried my hardest to get an assistantship in my two years of gradschool but I could never get one.
All I can say is don’t bank on an assitantship unless the school actually offers you one.