year, moms and dads celebrate the new school year by shopping for new
clothes, shoes, and backpacks filled with fresh school supplies for
their kids. But as they see their kids off to school, many also think
about going back to school themselves.
benefit of online education is that the "Back to School" mentality
holds true all year round in many cases. It's never too late to think
about finishing what you started. Or beginning what you never got a
chance to start.
You might be ready to go back to school if:
know exactly what you want to accomplish. You know how earning a degree
will help you achieve that goal. If you know that you can't qualify for
a pay raise or move into a management role without a bachelor's degree,
going back to school is a smart decision.
if you are looking to strengthen certain technical talents (like
the gaps in your knowledge of the fundamentals (like basic algebraic
principles), you may not need a credential like a degree. One course or
a certificate program—or even a non-credit option, like a
book from Amazon.com—will meet your needs. Stay focused as to how this
degree helps you accomplish your goals.
if there is any doubt as to why you need this degree, chances are you
won't be able to see the big picture later. Then you risk the chance of
losing motivation along the way.
employer offers tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit. According
to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50 percent
of companies with 100 or more employees offer some kind of tuition
assistance as part of their benefits package. However, some companies
seem to keep quiet about their tuition assistance program. It's up to
you to find out if it's available to you and if so, what you need to
have thought about the short- and long-term financial impact of going
back to school to earn your degree. A college degree doesn't come
cheap. But don't let the price tag of a college education stand in your
much they will pay. IRS
regulations stipulate that employers may
provide an employee with up to $5,250 per year, tax-free. Additional
compensation will be taxed.
they will cover. Does tuition assistance apply to your
or other costs? In addition to tuition and fees, your company might
even pay for textbooks and other related course materials.
of education. Perhaps company policy stipulates that they
will pay 100%
of the costs towards a degree or certification, but only 50% for
personal interest courses. Make sure to ask!
of institution. Employers will verify that the institution
is accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department
of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA);
these are the only two organizations authorized to recognize
Find out how grades may affect your level of coverage. Your employer
may foot the entire bill if you get an A and comparatively less for any
lesser grades. To be eligible for tuition reimbursement, you must be
earning a C or better.
they will pay. Determine whether your employer will pay up
front at the
start of the semester or if you have to come up with money for tuition
first and then wait to be reimbursed after you have received your
of study. If you work in public relations, it's unlikely
they will pay
for a degree in biology. See what limits there are in your choice of a
major. Chances are that you will have to consider a a major that is
relevant to your current line of work or a future role.
of employment. Thinking about earning your degree and then immediately
quitting? Think again! Your employer will generally require you to be
employed for some time following the completion of the degree. If you
leave before that time, you may have to pay back any tuition or fees
that were otherwise covered by your employer.
your personal budget. Examine how paying for school affects you over
the next few years. Does it also affect your family as well? Another
way to look at it: Consider an increase in earnings potential and a
wider pool of potential jobs that becomes accessible to you after you
complete your degree. By going back to school, you’re literally
investing in yourself.
have the support of your loved ones. Is your family willing—and able—to
support your efforts to be a student? To do your best academically, you
need to have the backing of those closest to you.
the consequences of going back to school with your family. Discuss how
things will be different for everyone: Increased chores for kids;
tighter budgets; guaranteed quiet time to study in the evenings.
Discuss that it’s an investment that will pay off in the future.
employer’s on board, too. Don't assume that because you’re making a
commitment to excellence that you are free to use your work computer to
respond to a discussion question for your class. If you’re upfront with
your employer, they might be more understanding when you have to submit
a last-minute quiz.
OK with the time commitment and have a plan in place. The general rule
of thumb is that even a three credit college course will require up to
twelve hours per week on average. Don’t believe the myth of "Online
education 24/7 - on your time, at your schedule!" It might be exciting
in reality, you will be squeezing school-related duties into your life.
This means giving up brunch outings, coffee with friends, and maybe
even lazy Sunday mornings for an extended time.
confident in your ability to take control of your destiny. Are you the
type who can understand that hard work and dedication can translate
into high grades or the type who will make excuses when your grades
start dipping? If you identify with the former, then congratulations!
You’re committing to your future and making that next big leap to