For workers in a tumultuous economy, there's no job security like making themselves more valuable through additional education. That's one of the main reasons that graduate programs throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have seen increases in applications in the past several years, especially among adults returning to school from the workforce or after losing their jobs.

But master's degrees and doctorates don't come cheaply, and prospective students who lack deep pockets need to do their homework to find the right program at the right cost. Financial aid varies widely from school to school and among disciplines, so research is a must.

There are a few constraints. Unlike undergraduates, graduate students are not eligible for federal tuition grants, but they can apply for federally guaranteed student loans, information about which can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

"The first thing you want to do is to file the federal financial aid form and then contact the college specifically," says Connie Williams, director of student financial aid at the University of Cincinnati. At UC, it's already a little late in the year to start that process since the university's assistantships and stipends are already being awarded, she said. Ideally, prospective students should apply for federal loans and contact the school in January of the year they plan to enroll.

Federal loans are only offered to students who intend to earn a degree. Those wanting to dabble with a few classes or earn a certificate are ineligible.

"At the graduate level, it's tough," says Peg Griffin, director of graduate programs at Northern Kentucky University. "If you can work part time, some have assistantships with a small stipend and tuition remission. Different universities offer different rates."

There are multiple options for graduate programs in the Tristate, including ones many are familiar with like UC, Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, Miami University and Thomas More College. But there are also non-traditional, often less expensive options like Strayer University campuses in Cincinnati, Mason and Florence. Wright State now offers its weekend MBA program in Mason at Sinclair Community College's Courseview Campus Center.

At NKU, graduate students have been offered up to nine credit hours of tuition at the in-state rate. Students from Cincinnati who are charged the metro rate pay the difference. That funding, though, may be reduced as part of federal cutbacks, a trend that concerns financial aid officials.

"It's really tough for grad students to find money," Griffin says. She suggests that prospective students find programs and determine the number of credit hours that they can afford to take with little or no assistance given the uncertain future of federal funding in case loans aren't available.

Those with jobs already should check with their employers about assistance they offer. Some are willing to pay for a full course load while others will pay for a set number of credit hours or a set amount of money, Griffin said.

The picture is brighter for those willing to commit to a doctoral program, especially in engineering and the sciences, where private grant money is more abundant. Many full-time doctoral candidates receive full scholarships and a stipend in exchange for teaching undergraduate classes or being research assistants. 
 

Get important information about Tristate educational programs below.

ANTONELLI COLLEGE
124 E. Seventh St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. (513) 241-4338
9100 W Chester Towne Center, West Chester, OH 45069. (513) 330-6807
Associate degree programs: A variety of quality occupational associate degrees.
Cost: $12,000 per year.
Financial aid: Grants, scholarships, loans, work study.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: Typically 70 to 80 weeks of class.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Here are the top reasons to choose Antonelli: Small class sizes with personalized attention; career-relevant classes; lifetime career placement assistance in desired career field; family atmosphere; customized financial aid assistance for those who qualify; externships/internships in desired career field; accreditation from Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges; industry-recruited instructors with hands-on learning; caring faculty and staff; complimentary tutoring available; all-inclusive tuition; flexible class scheduling with day and evening classes; weekend office hours; scholarships available to those who qualify; paid membership to student organizations.

ART INSTITUTE OF CINCINNATI
1171 E. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45246
(513) 751-1206 "¢ www.aic-arts.edu
Associate degree programs:1.
Cost: Full-time, $21,110 per year including books, supplies and fees.
Financial aid: Title IV Grants, loans and scholarships.
Non-traditional adult working students: 15 percent.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: 22 months.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: It offers career training that focuses on talent and the love of art/design with opportunities in many areas.

ART INSTITUTE OF OHIO "” CINCINNATI
8845 Governor's Hill Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45249
Bachelor degree programs: 8.
Associate degree programs: 6.
Certificate programs: 1.
Cost: $29,888 (16 credits/quarter) per year. Excludes starting kit (varies by program).
Financial aid: Federal or state aid, private loans, grants, scholarships and others.
Non-traditional adult working students: Approximately 34 percent of the student body is age 24 or over.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: Four quarters for diploma program (one year full-time); six quarters for associate programs (18 months full-time); 12 quarters for bachelor programs (three years full-time).

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: In the current economic climate, many adults are searching for an opportunity to reinvent themselves and begin a new career. The Art Institute of Ohio "” Cincinnati provides a great opportunity for adult learners who want to pursue their passion in the creative fields of design, media arts, fashion or culinary arts. Our programs feature industry-relevant technology, instructors with real-world experience, hands-on curriculum and career planning services.


BECKFIELD COLLEGE
16 Spiral Dr., Florence, KY 41017
(859) 371-9393 "¢ www.beckfield.edu
225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 200, Springdale, OH 45246
(513) 671-1920 "¢ www.beckfield.edu (Tri-County)
Bachelor degree programs: 5.
Associate degree programs: 9.
Certificate programs: 1.
Diploma programs: 4.
Cost: $290 per credit hour.
Financial Aid: Loans, grants.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Beckfield's full-time schedule is simply three classes per week, allowing for work and family time while still earning a college degree. The school also has excellent job placement services.


BUTLER TECHNOLOGY AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT SCHOOLS
3603 Hamilton Middletown Rd., Hamilton, OH 45011
(513) 645-8205 "¢ www.butlertech.org
Certificate programs: 10.
Cost: Range is $5,225-$13,000 per year.
Financial aid: Pell grant, Stafford loan, PLUS loan, scholarships, agency funding.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: 4-12 months.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Butler Tech will give you a better return on your investment. Its programming is directly focused on giving students exactly the skills they need to succeed in their career. That programming is continually updated to make sure learners are experienced in the latest tools and techniques.

CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
2700 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45204
(513) 244-8426 "¢ www.ccuniversity.edu
Graduate degree programs: 3.
Bachelor degree programs: 7.
Associate degree programs: 8.
Certificate programs: 2.
Cost: College of Adult Learning, $11,000 per year; undergraduate, $13,600 per year; graduate, $9,000-$12,500 per year.
Financial aid: Federal aid, state aid, merit and need-based institutional aid.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes. 20 online graduate level courses available.
Average time to complete program: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: If you want your career to be a ministry, whether in the church or the business world, CCU can equip you to make better decisions, speak with authority and align with God's purposes. For over 80 years it has trained thousands who are impacting millions around the world.

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
2600 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-1100 "¢ www.uc.edu
Graduate degree programs: 156.
Bachelor degree programs: 103.
Associate degree programs: 49.
Cost: $10,065 per year undergrad; $13,236 graduate and pharmacy; law $20,946.
Financial aid: Varies.
Non-traditional adult working students: 24 percent are older than 25."¢#169;
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: The University of Cincinnati has hundreds of majors to choose from at the associate, bachelor, masters, doctorate and professional levels. They include both traditional programs offered on five campuses in the Cincinnati metropolitan area plus distance programs in Education and Allied Health.

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI "” CLERMONT COLLEGE
4200 Clermont College Drive, Batavia, OH 45103
(513) 732-5200 "¢ www.clc.uc.edu
Bachelor degree programs: 6.
Associate degree programs: 39.
Certificate programs: 23.
Cost: $4,863 per year.
Financial aid: Loans, grants, co-op.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: When you attend UC Clermont, you are attending the University of Cincinnati. It means that you have full access to UC's uptown campus student support services, student clubs, fraternities, sororities, intramural sports and more, including all UC libraries and student tickets to Bearcats games "” basketball, football, soccer "” the works. Students will find highly-dedicated and credentialed faculty in our classrooms, where the emphasis is on the student.

UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI "” RAYMOND WALTERS COLLEGE
9555 Plainfield Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236
(513) 745-5600 "¢ www.rwc.uc.edu
Bachelor degree programs: 1.
Associate degree programs: 67.
Certificate programs: 18.
Cost: $5,499 per year.
Financial aid: Loans, grants, co-op.
Non-traditional adult working students: Nearly 75 percent of students work.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Raymond Walters College provides plenty of convenient options: evening and Saturday classes, part-time or full-time enrollment, distance learning options, counseling and tutoring, and financial aid. Its staff helps ease your transition and provides one-on-one tutoring. Classes are small, and professors are approachable and helpful. And it has "one-stop" financial aid processing so you'll find out fast how much aid is available.

CINCINNATI STATE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
3520 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45223
(513) 861-7700 "¢ www.cincinnatistate.edu
Associate degree programs: 75.
Certificate programs: 66.
Cost: $5,000 per year.
Financial aid: Federal, state, institutional scholarships.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: 3.5 years.
Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Through its co-op program the college is able to work directly with employers to meet their employment needs and also help direct students to where the jobs are.
 
DEVRY UNIVERSITY
8800 Governor's Hill Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45249
(513) 583-5000 "¢ www.keller.edu
Graduate degree programs: 7.
Bachelor degree programs: 5.
Associate degree programs: 1.
Cost: $350-$580/credit hour; Keller Graduate School of Management, $2,100/course.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: The school's career services staff works diligently with graduates to guide and motivate them through the career search process. Staff members work with students on career planning, job interviewing and resume preparation. The Cincinnati campus has a Career Services staff member.

GATEWAY COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE
1025 Amsterdam Road, Covington, KY 41011
(859) 441-4500 "¢ www.gateway.kcts.edu
Associate degree programs: 30 programs of study, 23 of which offer an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Science degrees.
Certificate programs: More than 80 in 25 different programs.
Cost: $3,490 per year.
Non-traditional adult working students: 91 percent of students have indicated they intend to work while going to school.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Gateway's faculty and staff are very experienced in helping adult students overcome the challenges associated with starting over. The school provides career advice as well as academic advising, and it has an array of support services to help students juggle the demands of going to school, working and managing a family at the same time.

GREAT OAK CAREER CAMPUSES
3254 E. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45241
(513) 771-8925 "¢ www.greatoaks.com/adult
Associate degree programs: 1.
Certificate programs: 17.
Cost: For total tuition, books, tools, etc.: $5,500-$9,375 per program.
Financial aid: Available for all full-time program offerings.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: 900 hours.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Over 96 percent of recent Great Oaks graduates found jobs in their fields of study.

HONDROS COLLEGE
4605 Duke Drive, Suite 115, Mason, OH 45040
(513) 573-6093 "¢ www.hondros.edu
School of Nursing Campus
7600 Tyler's Place Blvd., West Chester, OH 45069
(888) 466-3767 "¢ www.hondros.edu
Associate degree programs: Various associate and certificate programs.
Cost: $14,000 per year.
Financial aid: Yes.
Heavy online or online-only options: N/A.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: As a career college, Hondros offers the highly focused education needed to succeed in real estate, appraisal, mortgage, insurance, home inspection, financial services and nursing. Its mission is to serve the adult learner with career-specific knowledge and education based on practical application.

INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY "” CINCINNATI
9286 Schulze Drive, West Chester, OH 45069
(513) 881-3601 or (800) 498-4968 "¢ www.indwes.edu
Graduate degree programs: 3.
Bachelor degree programs: 6.
Associate degree programs: 1.
Certificate programs: None onsite. There are online certificate programs available in Communication, Criminal Justice, Human Services, and Religious Studies.
Cost: Average total, $15,000-$22,000.
Financial aid: Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, tuition assistance from selected companies.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: Approximately 20-24 months.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Its affordable, accelerated programs allow students to continue to work, attend to family responsibilities and complete a degree program. Its programs are convenient, allowing students to register only once for all the courses in their program, and delivering all books and materials directly to each student. Students attend classes once a week; the average course length is five to six weeks. Classes are small in size, generally around 15 students.

IVY TECH
50 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
(812) 537-4010 "¢ www.ivytech.edu
Associate degree programs: More than 150 programs and concentrations statewide, all of which result in an associate degree or certificate.
Cost: Less than $3,000 per year.
Financial aid: Yes.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: Varies.
 
Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Ivy Tech is Indiana's most affordable college "” about half the average annual cost of other schools for tuition and books. It gives you more options, more choices, more ways to complete your education and land a great-paying job for a lot less investment.
 
KAPLAN COLLEGE
801 Linn St., Cincinnati, OH 45203
Associate degree programs: 2.
Certificate programs: 3.
Cost: Medical Assistant, $14,570 (nine months); Medical Billing and Coding, $14,885 (nine months); Electrical Technician, $18,900 (12 months); Health information Technology associate degree, $29,570 (two years); Criminal Justice associate degree, $29,695 (two years).
Financial aid: Available if qualified.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: 9-18 months.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Kaplan is responsive to the needs of adult learners, many of whom juggle work, family and other responsibilities. In addition to small class sizes, its comprehensive support system provides academic advising, study skills workshops, financial aid counseling, time management guidance and more. Curricula include programs designed to prepare students for entry-level employment or advancement in many of the country's fastest-growing occupations.

MIAMI UNIVERSITY
501 E. High St., Oxford, OH 45056
(513) 529-2531 "¢ www.muohedu
Graduate degree programs: 80.
Bachelor degree programs: More than 100.
Associate degree programs: 20. Through regional campuses.
Certificate programs: 7. Through regional campuses.
Cost: $12,198, plus $1,460 (books and supplies) per year.
Financial aid: Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, direct unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Nursing Loans, loans from Miami University, Bank Education loans, federal Pell grants, SEOG, state scholarships/grants, private scholarships, scholarships and grant aid from Miami.
Heavy online or online-only options: No.
Average time to complete programs: Median time is 3.7 years.
 
Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: The workforce development consultants at Miami's Corporate and Community Institute work with individuals and employers for on-site, on-campus or online training.
 
MIAMI UNIVERSITY "” HAMILTON
1601 University Blvd., Hamilton, OH 45011
(513) 785-3111 "¢ www.ham.muohio.edu
Bachelor degree programs: 3.
Associate degree programs: 7.
Certificate programs: 12.
Cost: Lower division (students with less than 68 semester credit hours), $2,316 per semester. Upper division, $3,510. (Add $300-$1,000 per year for books).
Financial aid: About half of the students receive some sort of financial assistance.
Non-traditional adult working students: 35 percent are 25 or older.
Heavy online or online-only options: Each of Miami's regional campuses is offering 30 online classes this semester.
Average time to complete programs: Average student is on campus for six semesters.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Students choose a Miami regional campus for the affordable tuition, low faculty-to-student ratios, financial aid programs, free counseling and tutoring, and convenient day, evening, and online course offerings.

MIAMI UNIVERSITY "” MIDDLETOWN
4200 E. University Blvd., Middletown, OH 45042
(513) 727-3200 "¢ www.mid.muohio.edu
Bachelor degree programs: 3.
Associate degree programs: 7.
Certificate programs: 12.
Cost: Lower division (students who have earned less than 68 semester credit hours), $2,316 per semester. Upper division, $3,510. (Add $300-$1,000 per year for books).
Financial aid: About half of students receive some sort of financial assistance. Many are eligible for scholarships and awards based on need and/or merit. Aid packages are often combinations of grants, loans and work-study.
Non-traditional adult working students: 36 percent are 25 or older.
Heavy online or online-only options: Each of Miami's regional campuses is offering 30 online classes this semester.
Average time to complete programs: Average student is on campus for 8.6 semesters.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: Students choose a Miami regional campus for the affordable tuition, low faculty-to-student ratios, financial aid programs, free counseling and tutoring, and convenient day, evening, and online course offerings.

MIAMI UNIVERSITY "” VOICE OF AMERICA LEARNING CENTER
7847 VOA Park Drive, West Chester, OH 45069
(513) 895-8862 "¢ www.muohio.edu/voalc
Graduate degree programs: 2.
Cost: $9,000 per year.
Financial aid: A special program for area educators pursuing graduate degrees, Miami TEAM (Teacher Education Access at Miami) Scholarship, provides 50 percent tuition and fees to eligible participants.

Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: The VOALC is part of Miami University's ongoing outreach efforts to serve the region, increasing accessibility to graduate and undergraduate programs for persons working and living in the Tristate. Courses and programs at the VOALC are focused in areas that have been identified as greatest need (e.g. professional development for educators, graduate business program for working professionals, baccalaureate completion programs to increase educational attainment level of surrounding population).

COLLEGE OF MOUNT ST. JOSEPH
5701 Delhi Road, Cincinnati, OH 45233
(513) 244-4531 "¢ www.msj.edu
Graduate degree programs: 6.
Number of bachelor's degree programs: 38.
Associate degree programs: 9.
Certificate programs: 9.
Cost: $23,500 per year.
Financial aid: In 2008-2009, more than 70 percent of adult students received some type of financial aid, including loans, grants and scholarships,, including a transfer scholarship, the Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship and the Moore-Eckel Scholarship. There are also scholarships available for specific areas of study.
Heavy online or online-only options: No
Average time to complete programs: Varies.
 
Why should an adult looking for more education choose this school: The Mount provides a campus and programs that appeal to most adults who are considering returning to finish their degree or pursuing an advanced degree. As the only college founded by the Sisters of Charity, the mission of the Mount is demonstrated through the values of simplicity, humility and charity.
 
NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
100 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY 41099
(859) 572-6364 "¢ www.nku.edu
Graduate degree programs: 20.
Bachelor degree programs: 70.
Associate degree programs: 6.
Certificate programs: 23 graduate.
Cost: Undergraduate full-time, $3,564 per semester for Kentucky residents ($5,796 for Cincinnati area residents). General graduate rate, $403 per credit hour ($528 for Cincinnati area residents).
Financial aid: For graduate students there are a few graduate assistantships. The only other aid available to graduate students is guaranteed student loans.
Heavy online or online-only options: Yes.
Average time to complete programs: 2-3 years for graduate students depending on full-t 
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