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Comparing Costs

Calculating the cost of a graduate degree in Education

Calculating the cost of a graduate degree in education deserves more thought than comparing per credit tuition rates.

The number of credit hours needed by any student varies greatly based on past education, part-time vs full-time course loads can carry different charges, and every institution has some type of additional fees, which can add up quickly. In addition, while you must be realistic about what you can afford, you must also consider what school is the best fit for you.

The number of credits YOU need

  • Prerequisites
  • Past schooling
  • Transfer credits
  • Prerequisites

    Some schools include prerequisites in their posted credits and some don't, so be sure to ask about prerequisites for the program you're considering. Also ask whether past schooling or experience can excuse you from taking prerequisites.

    Past schooling

    Graduate degrees with an emphasis may include classes you took in during your undergraduate degree or as part of a different graduate degree. This may excuse you from taking that course again.

    Transfer credits

    Every institution has its own rules about what credits it will accept from other institutions; investigate your options for transferring credits with the admissions team.

    Prerequisites

    Some schools include prerequisites in their posted credits and some don't, so be sure to ask about prerequisites for the program you're considering. Also ask whether past schooling or experience can excuse you from taking prerequisites.

    Past schooling

    Graduate degrees with an emphasis may include classes you took in during your undergraduate degree or as part of a different graduate degree. This may excuse you from taking that course again.

    Transfer credits

    Every institution has its own rules about what credits it will accept from other institutions; investigate your options for transferring credits with the admissions team.

    Teacher holding a folder

    01

    Tuition Rates and Full vs Part-Time

    Most institutions clearly list their tuition rates, but that can still lead to some incorrect assumptions. These tuition rates sometimes change based on the number of credits being taken in a semester (part-time vs full-time vs extra time). Tuition rates can also be impacted by pursuing dual degrees from two differently-priced programs.

    It helps to have an idea of how quickly you want to advance through your program, whether you plan a class a semester, part-time, or full time.

    At St. Thomas, we charge the same per-credit tuition regardless of whether you attend part-time or full-time, and the cost is the same across similar programs:

    • The EdD is $895 per credit
    • All other graduate programs, including Licensures, Master's degrees, and the EdS are $660 per credit

    Application Fees, Books, and Other Additional Costs

    Most graduate programs have costs beyond tuition, although there is no standard set of additional costs. Be sure to ask about costs such as:

    • Application fees or entrance exam fees
    • New student fees
    • International student fees
    • Books (or e-texts) and materials
    • Transportation or parking
    • Additional course fees
    • Facilities or Resource fees (including technology, administrative, library, and lab fees)
    • Student Health fee
    • Graduation fee
    • Licensing / certification test fees

    Most graduate programs have costs beyond tuition, although there is no standard set of additional costs. Be sure to ask about costs such as:

    • Application fees or entrance exam fees
    • New student fees
    • International student fees
    • Books (or e-texts) and materials
    • Transportation or parking
    • Additional course fees
    • Facilities or Resource fees (including technology, administrative, library, and lab fees)
    • Student Health fee
    • Graduation fee
    • Licensing / certification test fees

    St Thomas has no application fee and no longer requires entrance exams. The additional costs we do have are:

    • Estimated cost of books and materials at $150 - $250 per course
    • For those taking classes in person in downtown Minneapolis, the cost of parking is $15 per evening/weekend
    • There are a handful of courses that charge an additional fee ($50 - $100 per course) for things such as Practicum, Student Teaching, and Internships
    • We charge fees for Technology, Graduate Writing Center, and Student Health, totaling approximately $170 per semester (less in J-term)
    • (Note that St. Thomas does not have fees for: new students, facilities, administrative costs, library access, general resources, labs, tutoring, or graduation.)

    St Thomas has no application fee and no longer requires entrance exams. The additional costs we do have are:

    • Estimated cost of books and materials at $150 - $250 per course
    • For those taking classes in person in downtown Minneapolis, the cost of parking is $15 per evening/weekend
    • There are a handful of courses that charge an additional fee ($50 - $100 per course) for things such as Practicum, Student Teaching, and Internships
    • We charge fees for Technology, Graduate Writing Center, and Student Health, totaling approximately $170 per semester (less in J-term)
    • (Note that St. Thomas does not have fees for: new students, facilities, administrative costs, library access, general resources, labs, tutoring, or graduation.)
    Student with graduation hat on with question marks above her head

    01

    Finding the Right School for You

    As you compare graduate programs from different schools, keep in mind that you want to evaluate the "fit" of the school along with the cost. A graduate degree in Education is a multi-year commitment, and will require you to spend a number of hours with faculty and staff from that school, along with fellow students who chose it. Your time has value as well, and you want to spend it well.

    You should ask yourself:
    • Do I respect and believe in this program?
    • Does this program reflect my values?
    • Will this program support my pace of learning?
    • Do I want to spend time interacting with the people at this institution?
    • Will I be proud to say my graduate degree is from here?
    If you can answer "yes" to those questions, then the school is a good fit and it's time to evaluate the cost.

    At St. Thomas, we believe deeply in helping individuals find their best "fit" and have designed our graduate program costs to be competitive but not the main motivator.

    The True Cost of a Graduate Degree = Money AND Time

    In summary, the true cost of a graduate degree consists of both money and time.

    Calculating that cost takes more than multiplying the number of credits by the tuition rate. That figure alone can change drastically based on your past education and your decision to attend part vs full time. The costs for books and additional fees also has an impact on the money you need to budget.

    In addition to the money, be sure you're spending your time in a way that has value to you, as part of an institution that you value. Be sure your graduate program of choice is a good fit for you and your career goals.