Author Topic: finish degree without expensive tuition  (Read 5517 times)

mindaugas

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finish degree without expensive tuition
« on: October 04, 2013, 09:12:07 AM »
not sure how many credit hours I have, I think between 50-60. I cant afford to add more student loans. I have $30k and my wife has $30k as well. I'm doing ok without a degree but I could significantly increase my salary with a bachelors. looking for suggestions and recommendations to complete the degree online or in school.

olivia

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 09:23:35 AM »
I think your first move should be to determine exactly how many credit hours you need, and find out when the specific classes are offered.  (i.e. if a particular require class is offered only one semester per year, find that out and plan accordingly.)

Can you get a job at your college?  Or a college near you?  Most universities offer free tuition to employees. 

Otherwise, can you pay your way as you go?  How much is tuition each semester?  Could you get some grants (these are easier to get if you're over 24 IIRC) and then pay the rest yourself?  How much would just one class cost?  Could you afford to take one class at a time and pay it off over the semester?   

Is the degree a sought after one?  Will it truly help you get a job with higher pay?  If so, I would consider getting more loans, taking the max credits possible each semester (typically 18), taking summer classes too, and powering through it as quickly as possible.

mindaugas

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 11:37:46 AM »
I have a FT job so I can't work for the U and part time work would take away college time.
I could probably pay as I go to at least avoid taking out loans, I have thought about that. I'm wondering what I can do for less expensive universities? Local community college near me is $777 for 6 credit hours (2 classes) for residents. Online is $1279. Never understood why online is more.
I would get a degree in my current field, probably computer science. I work IT, definitely in demand. I'm doing well without a degree and one minor cert.

catccc

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 11:59:30 AM »
Does your current job do tuition reimbursement?  If not, maybe look for one that does.  It's usually kind of limited, like maybe 5K a year at most places I've been, but hey, free money is free money.  It might take you longer, but I assume you can only go PT anyway since you are working FT.  Good luck!  Also, check out treehouse learning (or something like that, I can't remember exactly what it is called) for learning specific languages to boost your marketability.  Maybe you don't need the degree?!  Good luck!

jrhampt

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 12:13:34 PM »
Have you looked into CLEP testing out of some of those credit hours?  My little brother just did this and got credit for 3 classes that way.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 01:07:11 PM »
Does your company give a salary increase for an Associate's degree?  If you have basic coursework under your belt, a few more inexpensive credits at the community college may offer an immediate pay off.

I would also sit down with a member of the admissions staff your nearest public university with an evening/weekend program for non-traditional students to see how many credits would potentially transfer and whether they offer courses that would work with your schedule.

Whatever you do, I would avoid the for-profit colleges. 

legacyoneup

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 01:14:57 PM »
What stream of IT are you in?... networking, system administration, programming, databases, etc. Is there scope for taking further certifications in your line of work? My guess is these would be reimbursed by your office. The certifications would greatly increase your marketability without adding to your debt. There are corporates which will foot the full bill for your undergrad studies. Get your certifications and aim for them. Good luck to you guys!!

olivia

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 06:57:29 PM »
I have a FT job so I can't work for the U and part time work would take away college time.
I could probably pay as I go to at least avoid taking out loans, I have thought about that. I'm wondering what I can do for less expensive universities? Local community college near me is $777 for 6 credit hours (2 classes) for residents. Online is $1279. Never understood why online is more.
I would get a degree in my current field, probably computer science. I work IT, definitely in demand. I'm doing well without a degree and one minor cert.

I meant change jobs and go full time at a university.  I don't think universities give tuition reimbursement to PT employees.

If you're doing well without a degree, why do you want to go back to school?  I don't know a lot about the IT field but from what I've read on this forum, a degree is not always necessary.

ch12

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 07:58:37 PM »
The University of Wisconsin is offering an amazing Flexible Option which is leading legitimate online degrees offered by states. It's been called the only one that will work. It's affordable. http://ecampus.wisconsin.edu/online-degree-programs/flex-option.aspx

It's not open yet, but it will be soon.

suntailedshadow

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 11:51:20 PM »
What stream of IT are you in?... networking, system administration, programming, databases, etc. Is there scope for taking further certifications in your line of work?

This. I would be sure getting a degree would really be the best way to increase your marketability (and salary) if I were you.

mindaugas

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 11:17:30 AM »
What stream of IT are you in?... networking, system administration, programming, databases, etc. Is there scope for taking further certifications in your line of work? My guess is these would be reimbursed by your office. The certifications would greatly increase your marketability without adding to your debt. There are corporates which will foot the full bill for your undergrad studies. Get your certifications and aim for them. Good luck to you guys!!
Sys Admin. I plan on getting my MCITP by end of year, company will reimburse tests. They do NOT reimburse any tuition. It's a small company with no benefits, except high salary. Right now I'm happy, but if I want to jump ship and work for a larger company with better benefits I need a degree. I could jump and take a cut in pay. I've actually gone through the interview process a few times, but the benefits + pay cut never match up to the salary I earn now.
Plus I want a degree so I feel more accomplished and manly. Don't judge me! :P

Peony

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2013, 12:29:21 PM »

[/quote]
Plus I want a degree so I feel more accomplished and manly. Don't judge me! :P
[/quote]

I'm a fan of education for its own sake (though obviously not to go into debt for or to otherwise put yourself in a financially dicey position), so I am here to encourage you to follow this dream in an intelligent, well-planned way. I wish you luck in finding a program that suits you and hope you find it to be intellectually rewarding. And so much the better if it's also financially rewarding!

suntailedshadow

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2013, 10:20:35 PM »
Sys Admin. I plan on getting my MCITP by end of year, company will reimburse tests. They do NOT reimburse any tuition. It's a small company with no benefits, except high salary. Right now I'm happy, but if I want to jump ship and work for a larger company with better benefits I need a degree. I could jump and take a cut in pay. I've actually gone through the interview process a few times, but the benefits + pay cut never match up to the salary I earn now.

Very interesting. I can only speak with assurity in regards to the Market i'm in (Phoenix area, Networking) but a degree isn't really even taken into consideration when we do our hiring. It is interesting to hear that there is so much more value placed on a degree in different parts of the country/disciplines.

Plus I want a degree so I feel more accomplished and manly. Don't judge me! :P

I certainly can't argue with that! And i'm not saying don't do it. I'm only telling you to do be sure to do the research so you can prioritize properly. Right now I'm in my senior year for my bachelors but its on hold while I'm doing my CCIE's. The reason being that when I finish my Bachelors I'll get a Pat on the head and a high five. When I complete my first CCIE I will get between a 25% and 40% raise (And I'm already doing quite well). I Just want to make sure you get the best return on your time right now! That's all :-)

mindaugas

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Re: finish degree without expensive tuition
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 10:03:51 AM »
Most job postings "require" it but my experience has always made up for it. A lot of times they don't even check, they assume I have one. Also helps in choosing a school since I'm not looking for anything prodigious, I just need the paper that says I had enough discipline to complete it. 

The reason being that when I finish my Bachelors I'll get a Pat on the head and a high five. When I complete my first CCIE I will get between a 25% and 40% raise (And I'm already doing quite well). I Just want to make sure you get the best return on your time right now! That's all :-)

Yep, that's why I'm working on the MCITP as well. With the amount of data centers popping up and hosted services, you will have no problem landing a job with CCIE. Good choice!