Home News A Graduate Program’s Twist on Alternative Financing – Inside Higher Ed

A Graduate Program’s Twist on Alternative Financing – Inside Higher Ed


Online nursing program will defer half of tuition, charge no interest and make repayment based on income. Questions abound.

A New York Times article this summer described graduate schools as the “biggest offender” in loading students up with “outsized” debt. And with more than half of master’s students in 2016 saying that some or all of their course work was conducted online, it isn’t surprising that scrutiny of online master’s programs — by government officials, think tank analysts and journalists — is intensifying.

Providers of online graduate degrees aren’t sitting idly by. Some universities have begun cutting the price of their online master’s programs, and others are working harder at proving their value. And on Thursday, the most visible enabler of expensive online master’s degrees — the online program management company 2U — announced what it heralds as a groundbreaking way to make “high-quality programs more affordable.”

Beginning in early 2020, Simmons University will let eligible students in its $67,000 online nursing program, known as Nursing@Simmons, defer as much as 50 percent of their tuition until after they graduate — and to pay the money (without any interest or fees) based on how much they earn, capped at 10 percent of their annual income.

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