“How am I going to pay for this?”

Last week I had a comment on my post about financing your education.  That comment really deserves its own post.  When deciding any Master’s program, it is very important to factor in the big question of “How am I going to pay for this?”

Not all graduate programs are created equal in the costs.  And to my initial surprise, many online programs are just as, if not more expensive than tradition programs.  One of the online programs I had researched was $89,000 in tuition.  http://onlinemba.unc.edu.  Several of the factors include the length, location, and prestige of  the program.

When factoring in the costs and fees associated with starting a graduate program; don’t forget about the $250 fee of taking the GMAT (and the possible fees associated with purchasing study material for the GMAT), application fees, the fees associated with requesting transcripts for your applications, acceptance fees, travel costs, tuition and fees, parking passes, and of course, books and course material.

When searching for schools, speak with your employer (if you are employed) and see if there is any assistance available.  Some employers will pay for some or all of the fees associated with continuing your education.  That being said, there may be some stipulations to their assistance, such as only attending certain schools, or only taking classes online or on weekends.  This may narrow your search.  I am very fortunate to work for Ohio State which offers some tuition assistance.

If this is not an option, review your financial position and determine your next steps.  Financial aid is available as well as some programs do offer scholarships or loans.  Don’t let the costs and fees associated with furthering your education get you down, the benefits of your investment will outweigh the costs.

The Perks of Being a GA

Fisher College offers several types of financial aid to graduate students. One particular type of aid is a Graduate Assistantship. The majority of MAcc Graduate Assistants (GAs) are placed in a teaching position for 211 or 212 undergraduate accounting classes. Along with teaching, other GA positions may include grading papers, administrative work, or acting as a MAcc ambassador.

Most MAcc GA led classes are taught on Friday, and are considered “labs”, or“ break-out“ sessions from a larger lecture class. The Friday “lab” session is typically devoted to group work on an accounting case project. GAs are responsible for assisting students with their cases, as well as grading the cases. Occasionally, GAs may teach a brief lesson to supplement class material taught earlier that week. GAs are expected to contribute ten hours a week to their duties.

If you are interested in a GA position, it is important to submit your Fisher MAcc application early. The deadline for financial aid priority consideration for domestic applicants is December 31, 2010. Also, it is important to schedule a visit to Fisher College. During your visit, you will have an opportunity to meet with admission staff, professors, and current students, which may increase your chances of being considered for tuition assistance.

So what are the perks of being a GA? Along with tuition assistance, GAs receive a monthly stipend. Since I am living at home this year, I am able to save my GA money and plan a vacation this Christmas break. I will be traveling to Peru to visit Machu Picchu and the Amazon jungle! If anyone has any Peru travel advice, please let me know. I will post an entry after I return with photos!