Ask Brian: Is there an affordable post-grad available in business?
Scholarships, bursary schemes and grants can take the sting out of tuition costs
Post-graduate degrees in business, such as an MBA in a ranked business school, can cost in the region of €30,000 in tuition fees. Photograph: iStock
Question: I graduated with an IT degree five years ago and have been working full-time since. I now want to study at post-graduate level, possibly in business, to boost my earning prospects. With a young family and accommodation costs rising, I can’t fund an affordable business Master’s. What are my options?
Answer: A business post-grad will complement your existing skills and add a set of cross-sectoral skills to complement your CV and enhance your employability.
There is also increasing convergence between sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT) and business.
The benefits of post-graduate study are also well documented in terms of earnings potential and employability but the costs of tuition fees for postgraduate study can be significant.
Post-graduate degrees in business, such as an MBA in a ranked business school, can cost in the region of €30,000 in tuition fees, whether done as a full-time course or part-time over two years.
That said, it can seriously boost your employment prospects. Latest figures from the Higher Education Authority show that 71 per cent of post-grads were in employment nine months after qualifying, in contrast with 49 per cent of undergraduate degree holders.
Fortunately, there are a number of scholarships and bursary schemes available to someone in a situation like yours.
A good starting point is the websitewww. studentfinance.ie, which has some very user-friendly information regarding financial assistance and bursary opportunities.
Susi, the national authority for the awarding of higher and further education grants, administers means-tested grants towards tuition fees, of up to €6,270 for postgraduates, falling within the eligibility criteria.
Bear in mind that no maintenance grant is available from Susi for living costs for post graduate students (check www. susi.ie for more details).
If your interest falls within the business management area, one option that may be relevant is UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s “Aspire” scholarship programme, which has just recently launched for the 2017/18 academic year. It offers up to nine MSc and three MBA students with up to 50 per cent off their tuition fees.
This scholarship scheme, now in its seventh year, was established following the creation of €500,000 fund by a donor specifically for students who may not otherwise have the financial means to pursue postgraduate study at the school.
The closing date for this programme is April 29th and further information is available on the UCD Smurfit School website (www.smurfitschool.ie/aspire)
Another financial decision you face is whether you can undertake your studies full or part-time, as the former will lead to a loss of earnings while undertaking the course.
Bear in mind that part-time work can be very challenging to balance with study at this level.
In addition to grants and bursaries, if you continue to work while studying don’t forget that tax relief may also be available on tuition fees for relevant eligible postgraduate courses at qualifying institutions. Further information can be found on the www.revenue.ie website.