Lowering the Cost of MEd and MAT Programs
You’re hungry, passionate, and committed to pursuing an MEd degree. And you know that what you learn will benefit you and your students greatly. But the questions, concerns, and doubts start to emerge: Can I really do this while working full-time? Does online make sense? Can I afford it?
We believe, yes – to all of the above! While it’ll take some time to get used to balancing work, life, and school, we know you can do it. Money, however, sometimes falls in a separate category outside of motivation and planning. But money doesn’t have to be the reason you pump the brakes on your educational investment.
Making a Master’s program affordable for you
Every institution understands that affordability is top-of-mind before, during, and after the application process. Yet, provisions of resources to lower the cost of tuition are often scattered and sometimes non-existent. That’s why we created this guide: to share with you the many options and opportunities available that could help you better afford your tuition.
Between scholarships, grants, and options you may not yet know about, there are plenty of ways to make your education more affordable.
Scholarships from your school
Obvious, right? Take this note as a gentle reminder. Start with the most obvious source of funding assistance: scholarships from your desired college of choice. Scholarship opportunities vary greatly among colleges, so make sure you have the latest-and-greatest information on what’s available along with any deadlines or requirements in order to qualify.
Pro tip: For the most up-to-date info and scholarship availability, we recommend you speak directly with your admissions counselor. The university’s website is a great resource, but be warned: Information on websites may update later than when the updates actually occur!
Many school districts and schools provide financial support for employees in their pursuit of a qualified master’s program. And it makes sense. For one, by supporting teachers in this endeavor, school districts can better retain great teachers on staff. And two, why wouldn’t schools want their teachers to continue enhancing their skills?
Pro tip: If you’re not sure if your school supports tuition reimbursement, connect with Human Resources or your supervisor and ask. Here are a few tips:
- Set up a meeting between you and your supervisor away from distractions and the hustle-and-bustle of the normal school day.
- Talk about your plans to pursue a master’s and how you believe your education can positively impact your classroom and students.
- Ask about tuition reimbursement. There’s no reason not to. If your school offers financial support, find out as many details as possible to keep moving ahead.
Federal Student Aid
Loans, grants, FAFSA, terms and conditions.. sounds like a recipe for stress. But fear not! When you apply to schools, you should expect to be assigned a professional financial aid counselor who will advise you on the process. These counselors are dedicated to answering questions about the opportunities available to qualifying students.
Pro tip: Make sure you bring up these talking points.
- How much can a qualified student borrow?
- Review the Federal Student Aid, article and come prepared with any questions or clarifications you need to better understand the process.
- What does the TEACH Grant do for eligible teachers?
- The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides grants of up to a certain amount a year to eligible students who agree to teach for four years at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families. Check out the full list of details and talk to your financial aid counselor.
- What kinds of tax benefits exist for graduate students?
- The Lifetime Learning Credit allows qualified students to claim up to $2,000 per year for college or career school tuition, fees, books, and equipment required for the course and had to be purchased from the school. Visit the website for more info, or consult with your accountant to determine if this credit applies to you.
Federal financial aid: where to go for more details
The Federal Student Aid’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter account are all great places to find more information about federal aid.
External scholarships, sometimes referred to as “outside scholarships,” are not just for undergraduates! You may be pleased, and surprised, to know this: There are many scholarships out there to help prospective graduate students and/or currently enrolled graduate students pay for their degree.
Here’s an assortment of what has been offered in the past. Please note, there may have been changes since this information was compiled, and each one includes specific terms and conditions not listed here.
- Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship Fund: The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) awards one $500 scholarship per year to support postgraduate training. Applicants are required to be teachers of English/Language Arts in a publicly funded institution.
- ACS-Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship: Recipients of this American Chemical Society (ACS)-sponsored scholarship receive up to $6,000 for full-time study or up to $3,000 for part-time study toward the completion of their MEd or secondary chemistry/science certification.
- The Ruth Crymes TESOL Fellowship for Graduate Study: TESOL awarded one current graduate student with $1,500 and a convention registration to support their development of projects with direct application to ESOL classroom instruction.
Other websites you should explore
In addition to simply Googling terms specific to you and your interests, take a look at scholarships.com and fastweb.com, among others.
Even more opportunities
Scholarships, grants, and reimbursements aren’t the only ways students can make their graduate degree more affordable. Some students consider the additional ideas listed below, depending on their preferences, needs, and circumstances.
- Take advantage of your teacher discounts: If you feel the need to upgrade, say, your internet access, computer, or headphones, remember that many retailers offer special discounts for teachers. Just be sure to ask wherever you shop.
- Tap into your college savings plan: Do you have money remaining in a college savings plan that, perhaps, your parents set up for you? Find out if those funds can be used toward graduate school.
- Ask about payment plan options: For students who are able and/or prefer to pay their tuition costs in installments, check to see if your school offers a payment plan option.
Ultimately, how you choose to fund your education is a personal decision. Make sure to leverage your school’s financial aid counselor if you need clarification or further information on your options.