A master's degree can increase your earning potential and kickstart a more rewarding career.
However, the cost of education is spiraling out of control. So how do you move forward without incurring a huge debt that will leave you struggling for years to come?
The answer is getting an online master's degree that you can complete without moving or without even leaving your present employment.
In the past, online degrees had a poor reputation that did not hold much weight with employers. However, in the last ten years, they have gained legitimacy as the quality and acceptance of online education has grown.
The important things to keep in mind are the reputation of the university or college that you choose. Making sure the school is accredited is a necessity.
If a degree is not from an accredited college with a good reputation it is fairly worthless.
Why get a Free Master's Degree Online
Recent studies show that someone with a master's is on average going to make $1,300 more a month than a person only holding a BA in the same field.
Not only will you get more respect from your employers, but you will get a chance to network with other professionals which can lead to new job opportunities.
Gaining a tuition free master's degree can also lead to gaining promotions and can create more job satisfaction when you specialize in an area you are interested in.
A master's degree can help you get on board with new technology in your field and can act like a refresh button on an old, tired career.
Getting a master's degree can also help you to think more strategically and to gain leadership skills.
The Cost of Tuition Fees
According to recent research by EducationData.org, they estimate that it costs on average $30,000 to $120,000 to get a master's degree.
Getting an online degree can save you huge amounts of money. This is for a variety of reasons. The online programs usually cost the student less because they cost less for the University to supply.
On top of that, you don't have to pay for transportation, and they are much easier to fit a work schedule around because the material is 'on demand'.
There are two methods to gain a free master's degree online.
1. Choose a tuition-free program
2. Receive scholarships that will cover your tuition and other expenses
You can also take the free classes online and then transfer the credits to a paid online master's degree program to bring the cost down. Alternatively, you can choose a low-cost university.
What is Accreditation?
An accredited degree program in the United States means that the school is approved by an accreditation agency that the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) deems to be valid.
You can easily search the Department of Education database of accredited colleges and universities.
Another good way to check the reputation of a college or university is to check the list of the top 1000 universities on Wikipedia. It gives you a world ranking.
If you haven't heard of a school and it's not on the list, chances are your future employers will be less than impressed with your degree.
Types of Online Study for Free Master's Degrees Online
The type of study an online program employs can be very important if you are working or have other responsibilities.
Some of the terms to look for that describe the type of study involved with a free master's degree online:
Hybrid: A hybrid degree means that you have to be on campus in person at least some of the time.
Asynchronous: This means that the course is done according to your schedule or ‘on demand’. There are often weekly or monthly deadlines to keep you on track.
Synchronous: This means you will have scheduled classes and meetings with tutors and lecturers. This gives an experience more like a traditional degree than asynchronous.
How Will Potential Employers View a Free Master's Degree Online?
Students should have confidence in earning a free tuition master’s degree online.
In most cases, it’s the degree itself, and not the format through which it was earned, or how much it costs that hiring managers care about.
Although obviously a degree from a prestigious university will impress.
When you have a tuition free online degree you can discuss in interviews how dedicated you were to further your education and career.
Studying online, especially while holding down a job shows the willingness to go that extra mile professionally.
How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master’s Degree?
Free tuition online graduate programs usually take anywhere from 9 months to 3 years. It also depends on whether you decide on a full or part-time free tuition program.
If you study part-time it can take up to 5 years to complete graduate programs.
Which Master’s Degrees Have the Most Value?
The most valuable master’s degrees are those that lead to the best-paying jobs and have the potential for growth. Job security is also a consideration.
However, the degree that best matches your interests, work experience, and talents will also lead to more success than a degree you're not truly interested in.
Master’s degrees in high demand lead to careers that pay well and have positive market growth. You might consider the following subject areas to find higher paying careers:
- Computer Science
- Health Administration
- Data Analytics
- Cyber Security
- Business Administration
Free Tuition Online Master’s Degrees
There are many free tuition online classes you can take at the master's degree level but very few free programs that lead to a master's degree. The following two universities offer fully tuition free online master’s degrees and are accredited.
The University of the People
This American-based University has been around since 2009 and is fully accredited. They are entirely online, and they offer completely free tuition.
UOP does charge an application fee of $60 and final exam assessment fees. If you can't afford these costs, they don't accept federal financial aid, but you can apply for a fee waiver.
The University of the People has three master's degree programs available. Their first online, tuition free, master's degree is in Business Administration, their second is in Information Technology and the third is in Education.
IISE University free master's degree online
IICSE is a liberal arts university that is accredited in the United States and is dedicated to providing completely free tuition, and distance learning at the University level.
They do charge a one-time application fee of $45 and an exam fee per course of $50. They make sure that all your instructional materials, books and lecture materials are free.
They offer over 40 tuition free Master's Degrees in the following categories:
- Master of Arts
- Master of Science
- Masters of Business Administration
- Master of Education
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of International Law
While there are other great free master's degrees from accredited universities in the US they are not online. There are also some great online graduate programs that are not free.
Free Tuition Master’s Degree Online with Full University Scholarships
There are two free master's degrees online where once you are accepted you get your tuition free and other funding through the school's scholarships.
In fact, no matter where you want to go, always inquire about what scholarships are available for graduate students. 70% of grant and scholarship money comes directly from educational institutions.
University of Texas, Dallas – Master’s in Business Analytics
This course focuses on cutting-edge technologies and is for beginners as well as experts.
This Master's is a fully online course and once you enroll you can apply for the University of Dallas scholarship for the course which awards you $15,000 if you are accepted.
Texas A&M University
This famed University has a Master’s in Public Service and Administration (MPSA) and again, can be considered a free tuition course because if you are admitted you will receive funding for the tuition.
They sometimes award more than tuition cost depending on many variables such as your prior education, financial need, experiences, and interviews.
The MPSA program was designed to create ethical leaders and the course is fully accredited.
Scholarships for Free Online Master’s Degrees
As you can see there are not many master's programs with free tuition. However, you can make them tuition free by getting scholarships.
Scholarships and grants don't have to be paid back. There are millions of available scholarships, and you can qualify for more than one.
You can search for scholarships by your desired major, future career choice, sex, and minority or veteran status.
You should always start off by applying for federal student aid. It is free to complete an Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and is entirely need-based.
You can get scholarships to cover more than just tuition fees. You can get aid for everything from living expenses to textbooks while you are in graduate programs.
How to Find a Scholarship for a Free Master's Degree Online
There are literally over a million different scholarships and for that reason, it is better to search a database portal than try to find them all on your own. This way you can search by your personal details and narrow your search down.
When applying for scholarships, seek as many as you can to apply for. You are not restricted to earning only one. Look to both private and public scholarships so you can get a free education.
Here are a few of the bigger databases:
GoGrad is designed to help grad students pay for their education. They are very good at showing all the information you need to know such as deadlines, and what the requirements are to win the scholarship.
They include many scholarships for veterans and women.
The Fastweb database is one of the largest and they have information on over 1.5 million scholarships.
First, you make a free account and then fill out details about your accomplishments and interests. The more information you give them about yourself the better able they are to match you with scholarships that you are likely to win.
3. Scholarship America
Scholarship America has the goal of helping everybody who wants further education. They give you all the information you need to enter master's degree programs and graduate free of debt.
They have given out almost 5 billion dollars in scholarships and have opportunities for free master's degree programs.
Scholarship America offers very large scholarships. For example, winners of their Dream Awards get on average around $24,000.
4. Sallie Mae’s Graduate School Scholarship Search
Sallie Mae is a commercial student loan company, but they have a database that is really easy to search by educational field, demographics, and school. They have over 85,000 graduate scholarships on their portal.
You have to register for a free account to access the database and that enters you into sweepstakes where you can win $1000. You can set your account to alert you when scholarships become available that suit your area of study or interests.
Get Most of Your Credits Tuition Free
There are many free courses at a master’s degree level that you can take online for credit towards a master's degree or for a certificate but they are not going to award a master's degree upon completion.
These are still very useful and can look great on your resume, they also can be a great way to work towards your degree with free tuition.
If you want to get a more prestigious degree and still save money a great way to do that is to sign up for free courses on platforms like edX or Coursera.
Find out how many transfer credits the university of your choice accepts toward its master's degree. Look for courses that generate credits on the free course platforms. After completing all the free courses online, apply your credits and then graduate from a well-known master's degree program.
Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees
Another option is to choose a lower cost online master’s degree. Usually, you can pay much less of the school’s online degree than in person classes. Below are just some of the options you have in earning an online degree.
The University of Florida - Gainesville
The University of Florida offers 86 online master's degree programs.
They are the same accredited degrees that you can earn on campus, taught by the same teachers. On top of that, they rank 5th in the nation for public universities.
Another great thing about the University of Florida is that many of the master’s degrees they offer are for high-paying careers.
They offer everything from MBAs to Aerospace Engineering Degrees.
Eastern University- Philadelphia
Eastern University was founded in 1925 and is ranked in the top tier of Universities in the Northern US by U.S. News and World Report.
This Christian Pennsylvania University prides itself on helping working adults to achieve their educational goals. They have over 27 different MBAs to choose from in the following categories:
- Business and Leadership
- Counseling and Psychology
- Nursing and School Health
The University of Illinois
The University of Illinois has many online master's degrees available and they vary in price. They are delivered through Coursera and they vary in price. They also have many free tuition certificates available on Coursera.
The University of Illinois currently has 43 online master’s degree programs from Aerospace to Weather and Climate Risk Data Analytics.
The University of Illinois is a pioneer in online learning and its online programs are very well respected.
The University of Southern Indiana
Founded in 1965 Southern Indiana has some very inexpensive online Master’s degrees available.
This University prides itself on its low tuition fees. Their online MBAs allow different concentrations for example data analytics or marketing. Here are a few of the online Master’s Degree programs they offer.
- Online Master’s in Health Administration
- Online Master’s in Liberal Studies
- Online Master’s in Criminal Justice
- Online Masters in Business Administration
Find Affordable Textbooks
Textbooks for graduate studies can be a significant cost. Even if you are getting free tuition, the cost of textbooks can make free programs a burden.
Finding free or inexpensive textbooks can help you afford your education whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student.
Luckily many not-for-profit agencies offer free textbooks for students.
This platform is funded by donations and was founded by Rice University. OpenStax has funding from such luminaries as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
You will find peer-reviewed textbooks that fulfill the most common coursework and popular textbooks.
Mobilism is a Ukrainian site that is crowd sourced. They have a tremendous selection of Ebooks. they keep it updated and you can request a book if they don't have it in their impressive catalog already.
Mobilism runs contests and has a help desk. You can search for books according to your device.
Bookboon has a great selection of textbooks but also offers books that can help you with career development and entrepreneurial aids and business development.
IntechOpen has been around since 2004 and they offer textbooks on everything from Robotics to Stem Cell Therapy.
IntechOpen is one of the largest free textbook publishers in the world and they have a great reputation.
You can also reduce the costs of your textbooks by finding free online books. Here are a few places you may be able to find the textbook you need in a PDF.
How to Apply to an Online Graduate Program
Even if you find free tuition online master's degree programs, you can still apply for financial aid and scholarships because there are other costs associated even with tuition free master's programs.
1. First research which programs you would like to apply to.
Then notate all the deadlines for test scores and grade submissions as well as the school's scholarships. You will find all the deadlines on their website. It is good to contact the universities financial aid office so they can help you and keep you on track.
2. Fill out the FAFSA.
The financial aid process is the same for undergraduate and graduate students except that graduate students are always considered independent for the purposes of the financial aid application.
3. Fill out the Application for Your Free Online Master's Degree.
Ensure you fill out the application specific to your course. Follow the instructions carefully and contact the admissions office of the university if you have any questions.
4. Write a Great Essay for a Free Online Master's Degree.
With some programs, you have to write a great essay in order to win your place.
Usually, online students have work or life experience that makes them stand out from students coming straight from high school, so be sure to emphasize what makes you unique.
Try to make your essay stand out by using stories about your life and by being creative.
5. Gather your Recommendation letters
You will quite often be asked to supply letters of recommendation. You can get these from old college professors or from people you have worked with or for.
6. Order your Transcripts and Test Results
It is a good idea to gather your transcripts and test scores well ahead of time as it can take a while for your old educational institutions to get this information to you.
You will need official transcripts that show your GPA and you may be required to take a GMAT or GRE exam. This depends on your field of study. Sometimes you can avoid these exams if you have work experience.
The Best Way to Get Free Graduate Programs
The best way to get free graduate programs is to apply for scholarships because there are scholarships out there for just about anyone who needs help paying for their education.
Finding completely free tuition programs can be a last resort if you are unable to get scholarship money.
Always check with your employer to see if they will reimburse you for your master's degree. Many companies have programs to help pay for their employees to further their education.
Getting Free Online Master's Program Certificate
Another option is to go for a free tuition certificate program at the master's level because many of these certificates are free or very low cost from extremely prestigious universities.
Depending on what field you are in they can be a valid choice to improve your earning potential without a master's degree.
According to Forbes, when you earn a certificate, it can boost your salary by 13 to 25%. A certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and is made for working people.
Here are a few top courses that are free with printable certificates that can further your career but there are tens of thousands of tuition free courses available in all fields of study.
Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate
IBM Data Science Professional Certificate
Digital Marketing Specialization- University of Illinois
Business Foundations - Penn State
A Free Master’s Degree Online is Possible
A free master's degree online is within your reach. Studying online is a great way to further your education and improve your career prospects.
To sum up we suggest you take the following actions to graduate debt free with a master's degree in hand!
1. Look for free online courses.
There are many websites that offer free online courses from top universities around the world. These tuition free programs usually last for 6-8 weeks and cover a wide range of topics. Taking one or two of these courses can give you a good taste of what it's like to study at the graduate level and help you decide if pursuing a full degree is right for you. Look out for courses that will issue you with credits that you can apply towards a master's degree to save money.
2. Find scholarships and fellowships.
There are many organizations that offer scholarships and fellowships specifically for students pursuing an online master's degree. Do some research and see if you might be eligible for any of these programs.
3. Consider employer-sponsored free programs.
Some employers will pay for their employees to get an online master's degree, either in full or in part. If you're interested in this option, talk to your boss or HR department to see if your company has any programs like this in place.
4. Check out low-cost or no-cost options.
There are now many low-cost or no-cost options for getting an online master's degree. These include free programs sponsored by state governments, nonprofit organizations, and even some private companies.
Be sure to do your research to find free graduate programs that best fit your needs and budget.
Getting an online master's degree is a great way to further your education without having to take out student loans or quit your job.
There are many different ways to get a free or low-cost online master's degree, so do some research and find the option that works best for you.
With a free master’s degree online, you can achieve your educational goals without going into debt!
If you do find that you are eligible for a Pell Grant or are struggling to make ends meet make sure you get your Free Talk, Text and Unlimited Data by qualifying for the Affordable Connectivity Program with EASY Wireless and supercharge your career with an online Master’s Degree.
From Getting Your GED to a Master's Degree - Our Comprehensive Guide to a FREE Education Online
Did you know you can get a GED all the way up to a Master's degree online for free? Our complete guide shows you how to get a free education including how to apply for scholarships and grants.
We even cover topics such as how to save money on textbooks and other school essentials.
Take Charge of Your Future, "The Ultimate Guide to Online Classes for Adults: Get a Free Education Online".