Access to an education is not just a human right, but a strong predictor of access to other vital opportunities and social goods. The University of Louisiana Monroe's (ULM) eight online Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs put that education in reach, not just through the flexibility of an online course of study but also by making that master's degree affordable.
By the Numbers
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2017 that the average annual wage for elementary school teachers in this country is $60,880. The actual salary for any given teacher depends on where they work and how long they've been in the profession, as suggested by MSN's breakdown of those BLS numbers by state, but if teachers are going to invest in their continuing education and professional development, they are going to need choices they can afford.
All eight M.Ed. options from the University of Louisiana Monroe are designed to accommodate working educators. You have your choice of degrees in Reading, English as a Second Language, Special Education in Early Intervention, Special Education in Educational Diagnostics, Special Education in Gifted Education, Special Education in Mild/Moderate Grades 1-12, Educational Leadership, and Educational Technology Leadership. In all of these M.Ed. programs, students can complete the 36 hours of coursework in as few as 15 months, and pay tuition fees on a course-by-course basis.
You don't have to be a math teacher to see the value of only $300 per credit hour or $900 for the typical three-credit-hour class. The total program cost of $10,800 is known up front. It is the same for all M.Ed. programs at the University of Louisiana Monroe, and a fraction of the financial obligation U.S. students take on for their undergraduate degrees. It is the same low tuition rate for all students. There is no pricey surcharge for out-of-state students.
Return on Investment
Most states offer a salary bump for teachers with a master's degree, and you will want to look into rates and policies in your district for specifics on what to expect. Broadly speaking though, the U.S. News & World Report found in 2013 that for grade school and high school teachers, after controlling for experience, "you make about another $5,000 a year if you get a master's degree."
Tuition can vary widely across institutions, as can opportunities for financial aid. As the College Board, summarizes in its College Costs FAQ, "College may seem expensive. In reality, though, it's often more affordable than you think. The costs depend on what college you go to and how much financial aid you receive."
It is always worthwhile to investigate your grant and scholarship opportunities. Some districts have funds available for professional development or coursework in the educator's field. Additional financial aid may also be available from the university.
One way to understand your options is to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, often just known as FAFSA. And don't forget to tell your tax professional about your studies; they will be able to advise you if the tuition is tax-deductible.
Learn more about the University of Louisiana Monroe online M.Ed. programs.
Sources:Federal Student Aid: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
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