5 Tips to Control the Costs of an Online Degree

So you want to earn your Master’s degree in Paralegal Studies, but don’t have the time, ability or resources to relocate to an on-campus university? Preparing yourself for your future career should not have to be a difficult process. This is why many students from across the country choose online graduate programs to support both their educational and lifestyle needs.

Online programs offer numerous advantages that traditional education options cannot. They tend to be more affordable and convenient than on-campus programs, which makes them the ideal choice if you are going back to school, working full-time or cannot move across the country to attend a certain university.

For example, George Washington University offers one of the few Master’s degrees in Paralegal Studies in the country, but the campus is located in Washington D.C. Students who live in the Midwest or Southwest may wish to attend, but cannot move for a variety of reasons, such as family, work or other commitments. Yet, as the university offers the same high-quality program online as they do on campus, students from all across the country can benefit from expert instruction from the comfort of their own home.

While it is important to ensure you will receive the same quality of education online, it is also essential to consider the costs of pursuing an online degree. With a traditional program, students must factor in housing and meal costs, along with various university fees. You also must consider commuting costs and the time spent in the classroom that you will not be able to spend working.

Someone writes a budget

For online programs, you can learn at your own pace, in your own home and without the added traditional educational costs. As all you need is internet access, you can begin preparing yourself for a rewarding paralegal career with real earning potential. To control the costs associated with an online degree, consider these five helpful tips:

1. Work part- or full-time

One of the primary draws of online learning programs is that they allow you to earn your degree while working part- or full-time. For traditional education curriculums, students may find it challenging to attend classes and maintain a regular working schedule, but this is not the case for an online program. You can listen to lectures, do your homework and study all on your own time and around your work schedule.

This ability to work while earning a degree helps students manage tuition and living expenses. Instead of solely relying on loans or savings, you can pay off your tuition as you go. If you already work in the legal field, you have the added benefit of being able to immediately apply what you are learning in the classroom to your job.

2. Consider employer or military reimbursement options

If you served in the military or work full-time, you may be eligible for certain tuition reimbursement options. First, military veterans who served at least 36 months of active duty are usually entitled to financial assistance, which may include 36 months of undergraduate or graduate tuition and fees, housing costs and a stipend for supplies or books. Check with your online program to see if you will be able to use this cost assistance.

Meanwhile, some companies offer employer reimbursement programs for their employees, especially if the schooling directly correlates to their industry. Explore this option with your employer to see if they offer any kind of financial incentives to help with financing your online degree.

3. Research federal low-interest loans

The government offers a few financial assistance options for college students in the form of low-interest loans. There are direct subsidized loans based on financial needs, along with direct unsubsidized loans that do not require proof of need. Regardless of whether you choose to use these loans, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see what may be available for you.

The cost-saving aspect of these loans are that they are low-interest. Repayment for these loans begin six months after you complete your schooling, leave your program or fall below half-time enrollment. There are also plenty of loan repayment options available when the time comes.

4. Don’t buy new textbooks

After tuition and various university fees, your next biggest expense is usually textbooks. The first rule to keep in mind with cutting costs is to avoid buying new textbooks. Check out your school’s online bookstore to see if you can purchase used textbooks or rent certain copies. If this option is not available for you, consider looking online at various e-commerce retailers where you can rent or purchase textbooks at a fraction of the original cost.

5. Choose the right school

Not all online programs are made the same, which is why you should carefully shop around for schools. You want to choose an online program that fully supports your educational and career goals. This is because once you complete your degree, you want to ensure you have learned the necessary skills and knowledge employers demand in the paralegal field.

GW’s online paralegal program will provide you with the advanced credentials you need to boost your career and earning potential. Though a degree does not guarantee a career, it may make you stand out more as a potential candidate. Once you land a position, it also may make you more eligible for a higher salary than with a bachelor’s degree or certification.

Student makes a budget

Don’t let cost hold you back from the career of your dreams. Are you ready to make a career move into the legal arena? People looking to make a career change or further their career advancement opportunities should consider George Washington University’s Master’s in Paralegal Studies online.

As one of the few paralegal master’s degrees in the country, the program will equip current or future paralegals with the skills, experience and knowledge they need to succeed. Contact one of our program representatives today to learn more about our rigorous curriculum that you need to be prepared to enter into the legal field, along with our flexible online offerings to meet the needs of your schedule.









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