Getting a college education is not cheap, this can be especially true for online programs. The average student graduated over $30,000 in debt in 2016 (CNN, 2017). Financial experts advise never owing more in student loans than you will earn in your first year on the job. Luckily some professions, such as working in the public health sector, are well paid, growing fields that make that a possibility. Not only do MPH degrees lead to decent salaries, but an online MPH program, like the ones featured in our Top 30 Most Affordable Online MPH programs can be the best choice for prospective students looking for lowest cost, yet reputable degree options to pursue while remaining flexible. And remember, as the population both grows and ages in America, the need for public health workers will only increase. Some jobs such as biostatisticians and administration are already projecting job growth at well over 20% in the coming years!
How Much Will an Online MPH Degree Cost?
Graduate hours cost a premium so even the most affordable online MPH programs (are expensive. But with careful research and planning many students are able to afford it and continue working while completing their degree online. The first thing you need to do is figure out how much your online degree will actually cost you.
A great place to start is College Scorecard. This is a government website that tells you the real cost of a particular school, not what they advertise on their website. It also gives you a simple rundown of the type of aid you qualify for and federal grants that don’t have to be paid back. Pay special attention to the GI Bill information on the website, as well. Even if you did not serve in the military, but your parent did, you pay qualify for benefits under the new expanded GI BILL.
If you are employed, your second stop should be your company’s human resource office. Find out if they have a tuition reimbursement program, employee scholarships or other education benefits. Many companies want you to stay after you’ve earned your advanced degree and offer enticements to do so through educational benefit programs.
Where to Look for MPH Scholarships?
Once you have decided where you will attend school and how much money it will cost you per year, you need to immediately begin applying for scholarships. The applications are long, often require letters of recommendation, and the competition is fierce.
Start with the school’s website. Many schools offer scholarships specifically for MPH programs and they can be used by online students. For example, Walden University offers one full ride and two $10,000 scholarships to MPH students each year.
Then search the internet for scholarships that anyone pursuing a degree in public health could use such as the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship. Tylenol has awarded millions of dollars in scholarship money over the last two decades and has awarded many, many scholarships to MPH students.
Finally, think about what makes you stand out from the crowd. Think outside the box, many scholarships go unclaimed because no one applies for them each year. There are scholarships for returning students, single mothers, minorities, recovering addicts, former foster children, children of immigrants, first in the family to attend college, etc. Some of these scholarships are quite generous. For example, the Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship awards twenty, $5,000 scholarships a year to minority students in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Search for any that might apply to you.
The money is out there. Don’t graduate in debt when scholarships for online MPH degrees, federal grants and employee educational benefits can add up to a free ride!