FREE MASTER’S DEGREES ONLINE, Online education has significantly changed the lives of many people, particularly after the COVID pandemic forced educational institutions to think outside the box and transfer all of their classes online. The good news is that there are now a lot more organizations and colleges that provide totally online degrees than there were before the epidemic! Because online learning is flexible, you may study around your present schedule and yet find time for your family and hobbies. Because you won’t have to worry about lodging or getting to and from a campus, it can also save you money.
A significant worry is the cost of earning a master’s degree; millions of students graduate with mountains of debt hanging over their heads. Unexpectedly, US students leave school with an average debt of $57,000 USD, and close to 25% have debts of $100,000 or more! This has caused a lot of people to look for more affordable solutions.
Free online master’s degrees are uncommon, but there are some options to think about and some practical advice for cutting the cost of your education. Here, we’ll discuss some of the best free master’s programs you can get online, look at the institutions that provide them, and provide you with a checklist to help you choose the right one.
Free Online Learning
We need to define the word “free” first. While it can be challenging to find completely cost-free programs, it is possible to find ones that offer free tuition. If you are enrolled in a program, you might have to pay extra for things like textbooks, examinations, applications, and some courses.
However, there are certain schools that don’t charge tuition, such those where you receive course materials and are expected to “teach yourself.” There are more free or inexpensive tuition-free programs available online as compared to totally free tutor-led programs.
There are several factors that affect the price of an online master’s degree, and they are typically the cause of the difficulty in finding free programs. These components include:
- School rankings
- Student support services
- Availability of financial aid
- Type of accreditation
- The quality and experience of faculty members
- Student to faculty ratio
- Size and influence of the student body
- Instruction format for online programs
Although it is exceptional, it is not impossible to locate a master’s program that is entirely free at one of the most prestigious institutions with the highest school rankings. We’ll next discuss how to obtain an online master’s degree for free (or virtually free!) after that.
5 Options for Free Online Masters Degrees
Depending on what you want to do with your free online master’s degree, there are a few different approaches you might take.
1. Financial Support
Applying for financial aid is the greatest option to obtain a verified, high-quality master’s degree without having to pay for it. If you can’t afford to pay for your master’s degree yourself, scholarships are a typical source of funding. It takes work to submit several scholarship applications with a strong, in-depth application, but it will be well worth it if even one of them is accepted. The temptation to only apply for larger scholarships may be strong, but a mix of lesser grants can make a big difference. Consider browsing the scholarship databases listed below:
Grants can be given to “deserving” students in full or in part, and they might be tailored to particular students, such the Davis Putter Scholarship Fund for students pursuing social and economic justice studies or the Scholarships for Women. Students who come from families with modest combined incomes may also qualify for grants. Make sure you meet the requirements of the award program before applying. This will save a ton of time for both you and the grant source.
2. Graduate of a military or naval academy
You might be able to obtain a master’s degree for nothing if you enroll in the US military or navy academy. Although there are many benefits, this is not a choice to be made hastily. It is not a good idea to enlist in the military solely with the intention of earning a free education, as this would be detrimental to both the service and you. Consult with your friends, family, and/or anyone else you trust before deciding.
You can use the G.I. bill to cover your tuition and living costs while you study if you decide to enlist in the military. Only residents of a few states may use the bill, so be sure it’s available where you live. In addition, military personnel may qualify for a number of tuition support programs.
3. Employer-funded degrees
Employees may be able to pursue a master’s degree while still employed by certain companies and jobs. Since you acquire new, specialized skills and knowledge that will help you develop in your profession and increase your value to the business you work for, this is advantageous to both you and the organization.
Similar programs might already be offered by businesses, particularly major organizations like Intel, P&G, Bank of America, and BP. There are frequently prerequisites, such as staying with the organization for more than six or twelve months. Later in your career, looking for jobs that provide tuition assistance can be a great move.
You could also be able to ask your boss for funding for a master’s degree if you’ve been with your company for a long time and it’s big enough. Your argument for an online degree will be stronger because you can keep working while you study, which is a huge advantage for employers.
4. Work at a university or college
Working for a college or university frequently entitles one to free access to courses and programs. Programs for residence directors, work study opportunities, and even research apprenticeships are all options. While your options may be more limited online in this case (and if you currently work there, attending classes on-campus may not be too onerous), they are still available.
Ask your manager if this is something you can do if you obtain a job at a college or university or if you already work there. One of the main benefits of choosing this route is that you are already enrolled in school and have access to all the contacts and potential networks that will help you find employment after earning your master’s degree.
5. Master’s degrees without tuition
Several top colleges provide fully funded, tuition-free master’s programs that are fully accredited. Here are a few illustrations:
- Free degree programs are available from the fully recognized online university known as University of the People. When it officially opened in 2009, it was the first non-profit, online university to receive American accreditation. As long as they have at least two years of work experience, graduates from a range of professions can enroll in their MBA program due to its flexibility.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a renowned private research institution that was established in 1861. In addition to fully supported programs like the Program in Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, they provide free online courses through MIT Open Learning.
- Technical college Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) offers a range of online courses. The institution was ranked among the top 10 public universities in the country (US News & World Report).
- In 1851, Columbia College was established as a non-profit school of higher learning. The quality of online programs is frequently touted as being on par with that of on-campus programs, and they consistently obtain high rankings.
Free Master’s Degree Checklist Online
- You’ve decided to pursue a free online master’s degree, is that right? Make sure you carefully read the program information before signing up. Here is a helpful checklist to get you going:
- A laptop and a high-speed internet connection are advised, while some online programs can be studied on a phone.
- If you’re asking for financial aid, be sure the program is accepted first (including grants and work-study courses).
- Carefully study the course descriptions to evaluate the program’s content and overall quality. Has it been written well? Does it seem like the information has what you’re looking for? Is there adequate support for students?
- Consider academic standing and school rankings; enrolling in a reputable institution will improve your chances of finding a better job and earning a higher salary after graduation.
- If you’re looking for a scholarship or grant, search for a college that offers auto-renewing scholarships so you don’t have to submit a new application every year (but it’s not the end of the world if you do!).
- Keep in mind the type of employment you want once you complete your master’s degree; while some employers don’t care where you obtained your master’s, others will. You should consider the reputation of the degree provider before enrolling in classes. Ivy League college degrees are more expensive than degrees from universities that offer tuition-free education.
- Beware of websites with advertising that offer free online degrees because they are unlikely to give you a certificate that is respected. More often than not, individual courses than complete programs are offered for free, and the credentials might not be accredited. Make cautious to fully evaluate a website before registering for studies—you don’t want to waste your time!