How you can finance your online Master’s degree programme

Online masters degree programmes are becoming more popular and affordable in current circumstances. Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP

By U2B Staff 

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Online Master’s degree programmes are generally more affordable than traditional in-person programmes. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, online learning is becoming even more affordable, more accessible and more popular.

Students around the world are affected by travel and visa restrictions due to the current pandemic, and in-person classes have been cancelled.  Unsure when they are able to travel or being their courses next semester, online programmes are gaining popularity.

Students around the globe are choosing online degree programmes as an option to further their education. In terms of financing, students have plenty of options.

If you’re one of the many students or working professionals planning to apply for an online Master’s degree programme, you can also save on expenses and additional costs with an online Master programme because you won’t need to pay for commuting to class or pay for certain fees.

Can you apply for a scholarship in an online Master’s degree programme? The answer is yes – if you meet the criteria.

Even if you only receive partial funding, a scholarship can still help you ease your financial burden on your path towards your online Master degree without adding to your debts. 

The University of Essex is still accepting applications for the Executive Scholarship for Online MBA programme. If awarded, you can receive up to £6,000 towards your tuition fees.

The University of Edinburgh also offers twelve Masters scholarships under  Edinburgh Global Online Learning Masters Scholarships, which are open to nationals from certain countries. 

Besides scholarships, you can also look into student loans and other payment plans.

Federal loans and grants

If you’re a US citizen looking to apply for an online Master’s programme, you can apply for funding through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) programme.

Most online colleges that have been accredited by the US Department of Education will accept FAFSA funding.

If they do, you will fill out an application and the university will determine if you are eligible to be awarded the funds under this programme based on your income.

If you’re married, take note that you will also have to disclose your spouse’s income and assets when you apply. 

There are also grant programmes such as the (FSEOG) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) and TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) which you may be able to get when you submit your FAFSA application.

The financial aid office will award these grants to those who qualify. You can also check with your university if you qualify for any other grants not under the federal programme. 

In the UK, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan under the government for an online Master programme if you meet the eligibility criteria. 

For citizens from other countries, check with the Education department in your home country if you’re eligible for federal student loans to help finance your online Master’s degree programme.


Private Loans

You can also try applying for a private loan to finance your online Master’s programme.

Doing extensive research is key when it comes to applying for a private loan in terms of interest rates, so make sure you do your homework and compare different lenders so you’re getting the best loan available to you.

You can also get a co-signer to increase your chances of getting a loan approved or to get a lower interest rate. 

For a start, Sallie Mae Student Loans and College Ave Student Loans are two popular loan programmes designed for students in the US.

Payment Plans

If you need to stagger your tuition fee payments, then you’ll be pleased to know that some universities allow you to pay your tuition fees in monthly or periodic instalments for online Master’s programmes.

The Interactive Online MBA by LIGS University is one such programme where you can pay for your tuition fees in instalments instead of the beginning of the academic year. 

If paying for your online Master’s programme in instalments is the best financial option for you, then it will be worth asking universities about their payment plan options if they’re not easily found on the website.