Back-to-school costs for adult learners

Friday, July 1, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 27
By Linda Bryant

A sampling of tuition costs for adult learners:

Belmont graduate Lisa Butler

Butler’s journey to degree completion was not cheap.

She accumulated about $40,000 in student loans and says a “low estimate” of her costs for six years is about $60,000.

The Belmont Adult Degree Program is $645 per credit hour, significantly less than tuition for traditional students, which is $1,140 per credit hour.

“I needed to hire tutors, who helped with subjects like statistics and calculus,” Butler says. “There were a lot of extra expenses – from gas for my car to computer equipment. I couldn’t get by on my old Dell, I needed to buy a much-faster laptop.”

Butler doesn’t regret the expense and says she’s already made up for some of it because of raises.

However, she does warn against going back to school in a field not related to an individual career goal.

“I knew my degree was going to be a plus in the financial industry,” she says. “I have a friend who dropped out one semester before graduation, but she wasn’t going to use the degree in her career. For most people it’s wise to tie the degree directly to the career (advancement).”

Nashville School of Law

According to the Nashville School of Law website, tuition based on 12 credit hours is $5,760 or $480 per course credit hour. The school’s tuition is among the lowest of private law schools in the United States.

The program requires 48 credit hours for graduation.

Trevecca Nazarene University

A master’s in educational leadership at Trevecca Nazarene is $512 per credit hour and typically takes 15 months to complete. The total estimated cost is $15,360 based on 30 credit hours.

A doctorate degree in education (Ed.D) at Trevecca is $699 per credit hour. Based on 57 credit hours, the estimated tuition is $39,843. The advanced degree takes about 27 months to complete.

– Linda Bryant