Online Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) Equivalent to an MSW

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Online MSSA Financial Aid “Paying for Graduate School” webinar

In this session, we will review information on:
- Planning Your Finances
- Scholarships
- Outside Support
- Student Loans
- Accepting Your Aid Package
- Process and Next Steps
- Q&A Session

Presenting:
• Matthew Colver, Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Originally presented on June 6, 2018.

Transcript

Matt Colver:
Okay. So, we’re gonna go ahead and get started with the webinar today. Once again, my name’s Matt Colver. I’m the Assistant Director of Financial Aid here at the Mandel School. I’m just glad to do this presentation today, and give our prospective and new students some more information about the financial aid process for the fall semester. Kind of what to expect, in both your financial aid package and kind of knowing the next steps in the process and really how to make financial aid in your courses here at the Mandel School affordable to you, and make the process kind of as seamless as possible.

A great time here on campus right now. We have a lot of fall students stopping by doing visits, preparing for fall semesters, in all of our program formats here. We have our on campus format, our intensive weekend format, and then also our online format. Which, our online students are a huge part of our program here.

Kinda dive into the information today, and get started talking about financial aid. So, welcome, we’re excited for you to join us. Definitely excited to help support you through our process here at the Mandel School as we prepare for the fall semester. So, I will go ahead and get started.

I’m just gonna talk about Fall 2018. Preparing for paying for graduate school, talking about financial aid. My name is Matt Colver, once again, I’m the Assistant Director of Financial Aid. I’ve been with the Mandel school for about four years now. I really help our students throughout the process, from the beginning phases of the application process, ’til they graduate and beyond. Helping students with how to prepare for their student loan payments, and different things like that. Then also paying for their tuition every semester. I would be your point of contact, so here’s my contact information. The best way to reach me is via email, then my phone number as well.

So today’s agenda, we want to talk about planning your finances, knowing exactly what the costs are gonna look like with our program. Understanding scholarships support, outside support, student loans, and financial aid next steps, accepting your financial aid package, and a lot of process information of what to expect in your aid package, and know how to navigate that. So, we’ll go ahead and get started.

So, planning your finances. So, as an online student, you would be charged per credit hour. At the university we have different tuition costs that you might see on our website. It talks about a flat rate tuition for our on campus students. Then our part-time, or intensive weekend program, or online students, are charged per credit hour.

Your credits that you’re gonna be taking each semester are gonna be really different, it’s gonna change each semester based on your individualized pattern of enrollment. That’s something that you’ll get from a register, and get from your academic advisor, exactly what classes that you’re gonna take at your time here at the Mandel School, and when you’re gonna take what class. So, you’re gonna receive that information when you’re planning, and enrolling in classes, and registering for class. But, your costs are really gonna be based on how many credit hours that you take each semester.

So, for our online program, the cost for the fall semester is $1,484 per credit hour. Typically, students take anywhere from seven to eight credit hours, or seven and a half credit hours. We’ll go over some specific examples of that in a second. So, you’re charged per credit hour for that for tuition, and there’s an online program fee for our online students of $18 per credit hour. So, those are the only charges that you’re charged each academic year. You’re just charged for the classes that you’re taking.

So, there’re other charges that you might see on the financial aid website, or you might see them on our website. Those are more for the traditional on campus program format, or the intensive weekend format, the other fees. These fees are the only ones that you’re charged here. So, there’s like a health insurance fee on the on campus program, and other things like that. You’re not charged that as an online student.

So, I’m gonna go through, give an example of a pattern of enrollment that I was discussing. How many credit hours that you’re gonna take, is gonna be dependent on how many credit hours that you need if you’re an advanced standing student, or if you’re a traditional track student. If you’re traditional track student, our program is 60 credit hours. So, if you don’t have a bachelor’s in social work in the past seven years, or you don’t have other credits from another master’s in social work program that you’re transferring into the program, you would have 60 credit hours that you would need to graduate our program.

So, first semester, you’re gonna take seven credit hours. You’re gonna take one credit hour in your field, seminar, then you’re gonna take two, three credit hour classes. So, that’s how we’re gonna get to seven credit hours. In your second semester, you’re gonna take two credit hours in your field placement, and then you’re gonna take one, three credit hour class after another, that’s where we get to eight credit hours.

So, that’s gonna be really the cost that you wanna prepare for in that first academic year. You’re gonna plan on 15 credit hours, so that’s what your charges will be based on. In the future semesters, you’re going to take seven and a half credit hours for the rest of the program. The summer semester next year, you’re gonna be packaged for your financial aid for three semesters. So, instead of having two semesters in that second year, you’re gonna have three semesters that it’ll cover. Also, in that third academic year you’d have the summer, the fall, and the spring semester that you would be taking.

So, that’s really kind of the pattern of enrollment that you can expect at the traditional track student. Advanced standing is a little different, because you already have your foundation social work classes that we’re taking from your bachelor’s in social work program. We’re transferring those into our 60 credit hour program, and you need 36 credit hours to graduate our advanced standing program.

So, how many credit hours that you’re taking, is gonna kinda either vary, it’s either gonna be seven and a half credit hours, or four and a half credit hours. The seven and half credit hours, is you’re gonna be taking one and a half credit hours for your field education, and one three credit hour class after another. So, two, three credit hour classes in a semester.

Speaker 2:
Hey Matt.

Matt Colver:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
Hi, this is Kivia.

Matt Colver:
Hi.

Speaker 2:
Hi. In looking at your second and your third, for your academic year for the traditional track-

Matt Colver:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
Your second and your third, some are 2019, duplicate. Is that correct?

Matt Colver:
I’m sorry, so you’ll be taking 20, 2 1/2 credit hours in that second and third year for traditional track student.

Speaker 2:
Right. On your second year, you say summer 2019, 7.5.

Matt Colver:
Yes.

Speaker 2:
Okay. On your third year, it says summer 2019, 7.5.

Matt Colver:
Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah, I meant to put summer 2020, fall 2020-

Speaker 2:
Okay. Just wanted to make sure.

Matt Colver:
-and Spring 2021. I’m sorry, I see that now.

Speaker 2:
I just wanted to make sure I was looking at the time frame right. I’m like wait a minute.

Matt Colver:
Oh no. I’m sorry. Thank you for clarifying that. I should have updated those dates. So, yes. 2020, fall 2020, and then spring 2021.

Speaker 2:
Also, if you have a master’s degree, mine is in psychology, the credits transfer over, it might be possible for me, then I might almost look at a shorter time frame. Correct?

Matt Colver:
It depends what those classes are. If they’re social work classes that you took at a masters level, they would possibly qualify. That’s a great question that you would ask your enrollment advisor, that’s kind of on a case by case basis.

Speaker 2:
Okay.

Matt Colver:
I mean, typically if a student is in a masters in social work program, masters in psychology, I’m not clear on. That’s something you want to talk to about with your admissions advisor.

Speaker 2:
Okay.

Matt Colver:
To see, it’s gonna be very case to case basis, based on the classes that you took.

Speaker 2:
Okay.

Matt Colver:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
Okay. All right. Thank you.

Matt Colver:
Okay. Great. Yeah, thank you.

So, back to the advanced standing track. So, if you’re advanced standing student, so if you’ve taken a bachelors in social work, and you’re transferring in to our 60 credit hour program, you’re taking 36 credit hours. So, we’re transferring in 24 of those credits from your bachelors in social work program. You’ll just need 36 credit hours to graduate.

The first academic year would be 15 credit hours, 7 1/2 credit hours each semester. The second academic year, you’ll take four and a half credit hours twice, so in the summer and spring semester. Then you’ll take seven and a half credit hours in the fall. So, we call it the A term and the B term classes. So, you’ll take a three credit hour course in your field when you’re taking four and a half credit hours. Then when you’re taking seven and a half credit hours, you’re taking an A term class, a B term class, and one and a half credit hours in your field. So, you’re always gonna be in your field education in our program. It’s just how many credit hours you’re gonna get for that is gonna vary in different semesters.

Okay. So, that’s really how the different academic years break down. This is gonna be a cost example for what a traditional track student, and advanced standing student would pay for this next coming year. Because, right now, for financial aid, we’re just gonna be concentrating on the fall and the spring semesters. The summer semester is a totally different financial aid package. These two examples equal out to the same cost, because we’re talking about 15 credit hours between those 2 semesters. The fall semester for traditional track student would be seven credit hours, the spring will be eight credit hours. Advanced standing, would be seven and a half credit hours each semester. So, the cost here is broken down, it’s $22,530. It’d be the same, because you’re taking the same classes.

Okay. So, to cover that cost, you would receive a combination of scholarship support from the school, and student loans. Scholarship support is communicated to students at the time of their admissions decision. Our online scholarship we have, is our centennial scholarship, which is a 17% tuition discount. Because you’re charged per credit hour, kind of a fair way to award scholarships to our students in the online format, would be a tuition discount. Because, your tuition varies by how many classes that you take each semester. That tuition discount would change as well, based on how many credit hours you’re charged for.

One thing about the centennial scholarship, is some students don’t receive that in the first semester. They might not come into our program with a 3.0 grade point average. That is one requirement for this scholarship. But, we reconsider students after one semester, if they have a 3.0 grade point average, they can get the scholarship in the second semester and all future semesters. So, some students have a centennial scholarship for all eight semesters on the traditional track program, some students have it for seven semesters.

In addition to that, we also have a Dean’s scholarship. Now, I would say that this Dean’s scholarship is a selective scholarship that some students receive, but not all students receive it. We’re looking at really high grade point averages, and at least two years of related experience in a social work setting, social services setting. This Dean’s scholarship is communicated at the time of the admissions decision. This is all grade point averages from under graduate education. So, we consider all this information at the time we’re reviewing your admissions offer.

Okay. So, in addition to scholarship support, students have other outside support that they may receive through outside sources. If you’re a veteran, or currently in the military, you can get a military tuition assistance, or GI bill benefits, post 9/11 GI bill benefits, yellow ribbon benefits, vocational rehab benefits. We have a VA department here on campus, that helps all the veterans who’ve served, and who are currently in the military with this part of the process. Financial aid does not have somebody that does this, it’s actually through our registers office. So, if you have questions about that, if you just go to the case.edu website, and just put in veterans benefits there’s more specific on the website,-

Speaker 2:
Hush!

Matt Colver:
-who to contact with that. Our veterans services department would help all of our students in our online program, with their military benefits.

Students also could receive different awards if they served in the AmeriCorps program. Also, any external scholarships outside of Case Western Reserve University. The most common outside benefits that students have, are employer based benefits. So, it’s either a tuition reimbursement from your employer, that after your classes are complete, show the grades that you received, and show some type of billing statement to your employer, they can reimburse you for the courses that you take. Students receive $4,000 dollars a year in tuition reimburse benefits from them. Sometimes, students receive more, sometimes students receive less. It’s really gonna be based on the benefits that you have. Your HR department would be the best point of contact talking about different tuition reimbursement programs that your employer may offer.

Another common type of assistance would be tuition assistance. The employer many times, would pay directly to the school instead of it being a reimbursement. So, that is pretty common in social services agencies, and different county agencies, or different things like that, non-profit organizations, where they are happy to have you in school for your master’s level social work education, and are happy to help support you in getting your educational goals. So, that’s definitely something you want to talk to your employer about, to see what kind of programs that they have that can help offset your tuition.

So, in addition to outside support, and scholarship support, students take out student loans to cover the rest of the costs. When you complete a FAFSA at a graduate level, that aid is not need based, it’s gonna be more merit based aid. It’s gonna be the scholarship support from the school, and unsubsidized student loans to cover the rest of the cost. So, when you complete a FAFSA, it tells you that you qualify for $20,500 per academic year. For the unsubsidized loan, that’s the kind of the most common one for graduate schools. Based on the fall example, if it’s $22,000, $20,500 direct unsubsidized student loans. So, that will pay for the bulk of that, and then whatever the scholarship amounts. We’ll go over an exact example of what an aid pack looks like here in a second. The majority of your funding, will be coming from an unsubsidized direct loan.

Okay. So, continue on. Another type of loan that students receive to cover the cost, would be a Direct Graduate PLUS loan. A Graduate PLUS loan, can be up to the cost of attendance. So, it can pay for whatever gap in funding that you have that wasn’t covered by the unsubsidized loan, and your scholarship, and anything else, for living expenses, personal expenses, school supplies, transportation costs. When we package your financial aid package, we’ll package you for a lot higher amount than what you owe for tuition. So, students have stuff like, stability to borrow exactly what they need for their books, supplies, living expenses, or they can borrow less money, and just borrow what is owed for the tuition and fees. We can package you for the maximum amount, and you determine exactly how much you need in those categories.

Okay. So, student loan repayment, the good thing about that, a lot of our students have lots of questions about repaying their student loans. Especially if they’ve taken loans out at an undergraduate level, or previous graduate program. They might have high student loans, and kind of have anxiety about paying those back later.

One of the things to talk about with that is, you really want to do income based repayment plans. So, your monthly payments are gonna be based on your taxable income, and your household size. Not the standard repayment plan, which would be like a simple interest loan. So, a simple interest loan, would be like a car loan or something like that, where you would pay a loan amount, your loan repayment amount would be based on how much you borrowed. These income based repayment plans are gonna be better, because they’re gonna be based on how much you earn, and your taxable income. It can be more affordable when you’re paying back the loan. A standard repayment plan might be a lot higher. So, you definitely want to be aware of how much you’re borrowing, but these income based repayment plans can be very affordable to you, once you start paying them back.

So, for an example of the income based repayment plan, would be like a pay as you earn plan, where it would be 10% of your discretionary income. For someone who has a household size of one, making around $40,000 a year, that monthly payment on an income based repayment plan, might be $185 a month. If your income is higher than that, your monthly payments would be higher than that. If your income is lower than that, your monthly payments would be lower than that. It’s kind of an example that is very similar to what some students face when they start paying back the loans, but it is definitely a manageable payment plan. But, you’d sign up for those later. With those student loans, your payments don’t start until six months after you graduate, or separate from school. So, that is definitely you want to prepare for down the road.

Also, something that’s common with our students, because they’re working in the non-profit sector, or working for a federal, state, or local government, is the public service loan forgiveness. The way that program works, is you make 120 payments on your loan, and whatever balance that you have at the end of that, your loans are forgiven. So, I do some workshops throughout the year that help our students navigate that process. On of the qualifications is you have to be working in the non-profit or government sector. Which, is very common for our students, because they’re either working at different mental health agencies, or non-profit organizations, hospitals, GA, a lot of different agencies that our students work at. It’s very common for our students to receive the public service loan forgiveness, and work towards that. The basis of that program is to make 120 payments, and those payments have to be income based repayments that I’m talking about, while you’re working at a non-profit or government agency.

So, that’s definitely something that you wanna look at, look into more as you’re studying in social work and looking at different places to work after graduation.

Another thing to talk about, is private student loans. So, students do, sometimes, get private student loans instead of federal student loans. I would recommend this only for students who are borrowing a lesser amount. Let’s say your gap in funding after the unsubsidized loan is only like $2,000. For three years it’s $4,000. You might get a private loan, because your interest rate might be lower on a private loan. I wouldn’t recommend students getting like a $30,000 private student loan to keep their interest rates lower, because they don’t have the same parts of the program, where they have income based repayment options. So, if the student is looking at, “Hey, I have $3,000 balance. I need the lowest interest rate.” You might wanna look at these types of private student loans to cover that. If you’re gonna be borrowing a higher amount, we recommend the federal student loans, because it has the federal loan forgiveness program, the public service loan forgiveness program, and the more flexible amount you can borrow based on your income.

Okay. So, repaying student loans. What students really do, is many times consolidate their student loans. So, instead of having multiple loan payments after they graduate, they have one student loan payment. Then that payment, is income based, based on how much you earn. That’s why, I think, the income based repayment plans are more flexible when you’re paying those back, having one payment, and having that payment being affordable to you.

All right. Continue on, I think I have an example here. So, this is gonna be an example of what a typical financial aid package looks like for a student who received our centennial scholarship. So, we’re talking back to students who are taking 15 credit hours. So, your cost would $22,530 for the academic year. Your scholarship would be $1,892 per semester, if you’re advanced standing. It’d be a little different allocations if you’re a traditional track student, because you’re taking seven credit hours, and eight credit hours in the spring, but overall it’d be the same allocation. So, you’d have your centennial scholarship, your direct unsubsidized loan, so that would equal out to a little over $24,000.

So, you wouldn’t need an outside loan for this academic year. Like I said though, you would need them later down the line when we’re packaging aid for the summer semesters. But, for this academic year, you’d have an overage just by doing the direct unsubsidized loan and centennial scholarship. So, you could even scale back your unsubsidized loan and take out less money. You’ll be offered a maximized loan amount. So, you might be offered $10,000 extra in a Grad PLUS loan. That one is credit based, so you would have to get approved for that Grad PLUS loan. But, that’s kinda what you’d be offered if you needed more money for living expenses, book supplies, education related expenses that you might have. Whether it’s a change in employment, or something like that. You can certainly borrow less money, but we’d be packaging you for the maximum amount. So, that’s what an aid package would look like.

Kind of talking about financial aid next steps and what to expect in the process. So, we kinda try to communicate to students a simple streamline process when it comes to financial aid packaging. The first step in the process, is the packaging phase of the process. You’re gonna accept your scholarship that you receive, you’re gonna confirm that you’re attending our program, and then also completely a loan document. So, this phase of the process happens when you confirm you are gonna attend the Mandel school. The second phase of the process is just accepting your awards, and figuring out your specific amount for your loans. So, this first phase is that application phase, and then completing your Case financial aid application.

The Case financial aid application is pretty easy. It’s just gonna ask you how many credit hours that you’re planning on taking this next academic year. Going back to that other example, if you’re a traditional track student you’re gonna take seven credit hours, if you’re advance stand you’re gonna take seven and a half credit hours. The only reason you have to do this early is because, we want to package your financial aid before you start classes so that we can get everything packaged on the first day of classes. The financial aid money is processed on the first day of classes, and then a few days after that students can receive a refund, if they’re expecting money to cover books, and supplies, and different costs that they have. So, this is the first phase of the process. The second phase is packaging your aid.

Studentloans.gov website has updated the Graduate PLUS application. I know a lot of our students have been planning to come in the fall semester since January. So, they haven’t been able to do this part of the process yet. You can do it anytime after May 15th. That application opened up where you can complete Promissary notes, entrance counseling, Grad PLUS application, any of your specific loan document applications you can complete now. Then you’ll get an email from university financial aid when you’re ready to accept your awards, and then that’s when you’ll set those exact amounts, how much you’re borrowing, and accepting your scholarship electronically.

So, that’s kind of an overview of the process. I’ll open it up for questions here in a second. If you have questions about the application, or next steps in what to do for welcome webinars, or online orientation, or field education requirements, I recommend that you contact your enrollment advisor. If you don’t have an enrollment advisor yet, I recommend that you reach out to me and let me know that. We can connect you with our online enrollment advisors who can with the process. Most students should already have contact with an enrollment advisor, but if not I’ll be glad to help connect you with someone.

Yeah, if you have any questions about financial aid, I’m glad to answer any questions that you have.

Speaker 2:
Matt, is this webinar accessible to download?

Matt Colver:
Yeah, it’s recording. So, I will be able to send that out to you. Yep. I’ll send it out to all participants today.

Speaker 2:
Okay. Thank you.

Matt Colver:
Yeah.

Speaker 3:
Is the centennial scholarship the only scholarship that your school offers?

Matt Colver:
So, we have the centennial scholarship that’s 17% off tuition, and the Dean’s scholarship. The Dean’s scholarship, like I said though, is very selective. So, not all students receive that. The centennial scholarship all students receive, as long as they meet that grade point average requirement. So, yeah. For our online program format, it is the only scholarship that students have. These two scholarship. Our on campus format, they have other scholarships. That’s for on campus students.

Speaker 3:
Okay. So, what is the Dean’s scholarship?

Matt Colver:
The Dean’s scholarship, is 13% off of tuition. So, the requirement for that is that you have at least 3.7 grade point average, and 2 years of service, work history in the social service’s sector. That is actually evaluated at the time of your admissions decision, they communicate that information to you.

Speaker 3:
Okay.

Matt Colver:
Great. Anyone else have any questions?

Speaker 3:
What is the total … So, it’s $20,500 per year, that’s 2 semesters. So, advanced standing is how long, your program?

Matt Colver:
It’s 36 credit hours. So, advanced standing students, it takes six semesters to get through the program. So, you would do three semesters taking seven and a half credit hours, and three semesters doing four and a half credit hours.

Speaker 3:
So, what is that … Okay, so it’s 36 credits. What does that come out to in terms of the program itself? The cost of the program for advanced standing?

Matt Colver:
So, it’d be around, 36 credit hours, since it’s $1,484 a credit hour, it’s around $53,000.

Speaker 3:
Okay.

Matt Colver:
But, you’d have multiple financial aid years that you would be charged to cover that. So, your financial aid package would be, repackaged three times. One for this year for two semesters. Next year for three semesters. Then the following year for one semester.

Great. Any other questions?

All right. Okay. So, if nobody else has any other questions, we’ll end today’s webinar. I really appreciate everyone joining us today. We’re excited to have you join us here in the fall, and answer any questions that you have, and help you with the enrollment process here in the next couple weeks. Anyone else have any questions?

All right, that ends today’s webinar. Thank you so much for joining us. Feel free to reach out with any questions that you have.

Speaker 2:
Thanks Matt.

Matt Colver:
Have a great day.

Speaker 2:
Have a great day.

Matt Colver:
Yeah, thank you.

Speaker 2:
All righty.

Matt Colver:
It’s been fun.

Speaker 2:
Bye-bye.