Using Non-Degree Status to
Test Grad School Waters
(Continued from 1)
Larger universities will open an account for you when
you apply. They will send a username and password, and
all registration is done online. At the
University of Massachusetts, where I am currently enrolled
as a non-degree student, even billing is done online
- you print your bill and submit payment.
At UMASS all university communications now go through
student e-mail accounts exclusively; I had thought I
could avoid installing the university's e-mail software
on my home computer, but it's a necessary part of being
a student. In short, be very aware of how your institution
handles technology for administrative purposes, and
keep yourself up to date.
COSTS: Each institution treats non-degree
students differently, in terms of financial aid policies.
If you need financial aid, contact your institution.
Generally schools do not require non-degree students
to pay many of the activities and health fees that degree
students must pay - but you also do not have access
to those facilities.
The cost of tuition and fees can often be deducted
on U.S. taxes, directly, as a benefit of the Life-Long
Learning Credit. Check the IRS
website or talk with an accountant to find out more
about your specific tax situation.
A WORTHWHILE VENTURE: Whether or not
you go on to degree status, taking one or two classes
as a non-degree student can be an eye-opener in terms
of the level of challenge a graduate program in your
field demands. You might find that your work experience
gives you analysis and insight into topics in class,
and that the workload is easy as a result. On the other
hand, you might find yourself buried in reading or turned
off by what you thought would be an interesting course
topic. Registering for non-degree status is low-risk:
you're not commited to a graduate program, but if you
do apply at a later date, you have six credits (or more)
under your belt. Testing the waters can be a win-win
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
of the non-degree graduate student application at UMASS.
Melanie Zoltan is a student at the University of