5 ways earning your next degree could change your future

There are significant lifelong advantages that come with earning your next degree. One of the biggest? Bachelor’s and master’s degree holders have higher earning potential than their counterparts with an associate degree. Despite the advantages earning an additional degree can bring, there are still 36 million U.S. adults who have started but not finished a degree and millions more who’ve thought about getting another degree but haven’t taken action. Why is this? For some, the thought of going to school is just too daunting. Many others would love to go back but feel they don’t have the time or money.

Whether you need to finish a degree or want to earn another one, if you’re interested in going back to school but you’re not sure you can commit, read on.

Achieve your career goals.
Do you want to change career paths or advance from your current position? Earning a bachelor’s or graduate degree can give you the credentials and skills you need to make your next career move.

Earn more money.
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average full-time employee with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $20,000 more per year than a full-time employee with an associate degree. And those with a master’s? On average, they earn $16,000 more per year when compared to those with a bachelor’s.

Gain new or improved skills.
Earning your next degree will bring new skills into your life as well as help you hone the skills you already have. You’ll gain technical and soft skills that will serve you personally and professionally.

Grow your network.
Earning a degree isn’t just lectures and homework — you’ll also get to spend time building relationships. Many people find new opportunities through the networks they built in college, and you can too.

Gain greater self-confidence.
Prove to yourself, your employer and everyone around you that you have the skills, focus and determination it takes to meet your goals.

Tips for earning your next degree

Don’t give up.
Just the thought of earning another degree can be overwhelming. When you’re taking action to fi nd the right school, apply and enroll, keep your end-goal in mind — remind yourself how life will change once you earn your degree. And if you’re having a hard time with any part of the process, don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Admissions representatives will gladly help you along. Just ask!

Look for flexibility and support.
Colleges that offer online and night classes typically understand that most adults require flexible schedules that will fit into their busy lives. Look for schools that offer your program of choice completely online or at night and talk to the school’s representatives about the support they provide to ensure their students who work full-time can succeed.

Find ways to save.
First and foremost, if you have existing college credits or a degree, find out how many credits can be applied to your next degree. Next, check to see if your current employer offers any education benefits that will help you pay for all or part of a degree. Some employers even have direct partnerships with local universities where you can take classes at discounted rates. After you enroll, always look for used books first and talk to the bookstore about discounts.

Don’t skip scholarships and grants.
Scholarships and grants can have a huge impact on your final costs, so be sure you thoroughly investigate what’s available to you. Check for federal, statewide and local grants; request resources from your school of choice; and spend the time to apply for aid. While filling out more applications may not sound exciting, the time you spend can literally pay off .

Tell everyone.
OK, maybe you don’t need to tell everyone but it’ll really help to have your family, friends and employer in the know. By letting them know you’re enrolling in advance, you can gain their support, work out any scheduling kinks and ask for help where you might need it. This will reduce some of the pressure you may feel when trying to balance your commitments.

Does your employer offer education benefits?

Ask your employer if they offer any of these to see if you’re eligible to receive additional funds.

Tuition reimbursement: Employees pay the up-front costs, and their employers pay them back for all or some of the tuition costs

Tuition assistance: Similar to reimbursement but employers typically help pay for tuition up front

Corporate Education Scholarships: Employers who’ve partnered with Davenport University can provide their employees tuition scholarships to offset costs, typically up to $5,000 per employee per year

If your employer doesn’t offer education benefits but is willing to consider it, we’ll find out if they qualify for the Corporate Education Scholarship. Email us at ducomm@davenport.edu.

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