journalism program
journalism program

Whether you want to become a reporter or an editor-in-chief, you should consider the cost of tuition for a journalism program. Then, you can look for the right program that fits your needs and budget.

Soon enough, you’ll graduate with the skills to help pursue your career. Just make sure you understand the financial implications of choosing a particular school.

Read on to learn more.

Public vs. Private

The average cost of tuition for a public university is just over $10,000 per year. This number applies whether you’re a journalism major or not.

Meanwhile, private universities charge over $38,000 in tuition on average. Because of that, you can save a lot of money by attending a public university with a good journalism school.

Now, some public schools can be very large, so you may not get as much experience during your journalism program. Private schools may cost more, but a lot of them do offer financial aid, so you may pay less than the average tuition price.

In-State vs. Out-of-State

You can further divide public universities into in-state and out-of-state. If you attend a public journalism school out-of-state, the average tuition increases to about $22,700 annually.

The $10,000 number applies to the average tuition for in-state students. While out of state tuition is higher, it’s not as high as tuition for a private college or university.

Going out of state can expose you to a lot of new people and a new environment. In some cases, it’s well worth the higher tuition cost, and you may get financial aid to lower the cost.

Undergraduate vs. Graduate

Another thing to consider when estimating the cost of a journalism program is if you’ll be an undergraduate or graduate student. An average undergraduate journalism program costs about $7,300 in-state.

Out of state, a similar program has an average tuition price of just under $24,600. As a graduate student, you can expect to pay about $20,550 to go out of state.

And if you stay in state for your graduate studies, tuition costs about $10,800 on average. Be sure to consider the degree you intend to receive to help get an idea of your tuition for journalism school.

Ways to Save on Tuition and Fees

Fortunately, you may not have to pay the sticker price for your dream journalism program. Before you choose a journalism school, consider if you’ll qualify for certain ways to lower the cost.

In some cases, you may be able to save a significant percentage on tuition. This can be an easy way to lower the overall cost of college, and you may get to attend your dream school.

Consider the following options as you search for affordable journalism schools.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are some of the most common ways to reduce your college tuition, journalism major or not. You can apply for grants and scholarships from the specific university or a general program.

Both public and private schools may have individual scholarship programs for journalism or other achievements. For example, you may receive a scholarship if you’re a national merit scholar.

Students from low-income families might qualify for grants to attend college. Be sure to check with the schools you want to attend to see if they offer any scholarships for journalists or any other thing that may apply to you.

If not, you can look for scholarships on outside platforms that you can use no matter where you attend college.

Tuition Discounts

Another excellent way to lower tuition for your journalism program is to get a tuition discount or waiver. The Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) helps students from certain states save money on tuition another participating state, including:

  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Wisconsin

You can also ask universities about specific tuition discount programs. Some schools near state borders will offer lower tuition rates to students from the bordering state.

Then, you may not have to pay the full out-of-state tuition rate to attend your dream school. And you can combine tuition discounts with other savings methods to lower your tuition even more.

Legacy School

If your parents went to a specific school with a good journalism program, consider applying there. Some universities offer legacy scholarships to children of alumni.

You may be able to save a decent amount of money on tuition. This is useful if the school is out of state or if its in-state tuition is higher than average.

When looking for schools to apply to, ask your parents where they attended. Then, research the school’s journalism program to see if it may be a good option for you.

If so, contact the university to ask about legacy scholarships. You never know what funding you may be able to get.

Close to Home

Another easy way to reduce your overall college costs is to attend a school close to home. Of course, a nearby school will almost always be in-state, with some exceptions, such as around New York City or other multi-state areas.

But you may be able to afford to spend more on tuition when your living costs are low. If your parents are willing to let you live with them during college and not pay rent, you can keep from paying a ton of money.

Many students may not live near a college with a good journalism program. However, consider if any local schools are worth attending as a journalism major.

Then, you may be able to keep tuition and other college costs from getting too high.

Cost of Living

If you decide to go away to college, you may want to consider the location of your dream school. For example, Columbia University has an amazing journalism program, but New York City is expensive.

Even if you get good financial aid from your school, you may need to pay a lot to live there. You might luck out and get two offers from different schools where the tuition costs are about the same.

But if one is in a major city and another is in a smaller city, the smaller city may be more affordable overall. Of course, you can save money in a big city by getting roommates and not eating out.

Still, it’s important to think about more than just the cost of your tuition. Then, you can ensure you’ll be able to afford everything involved in your journalism program.

Flat Rate Tuition

When comparing journalism programs, consider if the universities offer flat rate tuition. Some schools, such as Indiana University Bloomington charge the same amount whether you take 12 or 17 credits in a semester.

So even if the cost per credit hour is higher there than at another school, tuition may cost less if you take more credits at a time. If you’re able to take more classes at once, this can be an easy way to lower your tuition.

You’ll still need to pay for textbooks and fees for each class. However, you may save hundreds or thousands of dollars by increasing your course load.

Before you choose a school with flat rate attendance, make sure it will work out in your favor. Consider if you can take enough credits in a semester so that you can save money.

Part-Time Attendance

Attending college part-time won’t lower your tuition overall because you’ll eventually need to take the same number of credits. But it can help you save money each semester.

If you’re willing to stay in college longer, you can work to help pay for tuition and other expenses. Then, you may be able to avoid taking out loans, but you can still attend a good journalism school.

Before doing this, make sure that part-time attendance is an option. You can ask the department chair of your dream journalism school if you can attend a few classes a semester to lower your tuition bill.

If you need to attend full-time for financial aid or other reasons, consider if you can take fewer classes. Some journalism programs may have progressive classes where each one is a prerequisite for another, so you might need to take a certain number of credits.

Is Paying More Worth It?

Saving money on a journalism program can be great for some students. But in some cases, it can make sense to pay a bit more in tuition for journalism.

You should look at everything that comes with attending a specific journalism school. Sure, you might get just as good of an education at a more affordable college.

However, there are a few things that can make spending more on tuition well worth it.

Non-Academic Resources

As you research colleges, consider if you will get access to career help or other resources as a journalism major. Some colleges have fantastic career centers that can help you prepare for after graduation.

Determine if the career center gives you access to a job board or if they will help you with your resume and cover letter. While those services aren’t necessary, they can set you up for success long after you finish school.

You might also have access to a journalism club or another activity to connect with other students. Then, you can get some experience outside of your journalism classes.

If you want to explore other interests outside of journalism, consider if you will have time for that in your schedule. Some schools may have more electives than others, and it’s worth knowing that before you enroll.

Journalism Specialty

You may also want to look for a journalism school that offers a particular specialty. Perhaps you want to focus on news reporting or editing, or you might want to specialize in public relations.

If you know those things, take them into account when choosing a journalism program. That way, you’ll get to learn what you want to learn about the field of journalism to prepare for your dream career.

Maybe you’re unsure of what you want to focus on. In that case, look for schools with well-rounded journalism programs so that you can explore your options.

When you do settle on a concentration, you’ll be able to keep up with it without transferring to another school.

Unique Experiences

A good journalism program will offer more than just a good list of classes. You should look for a school that offers experience outside of the classroom.

Consider if you will be able to do a journalism internship during college. If you want to focus on print journalism, you might also want to look at programs with a good on-campus newspaper.

You should also consider if there are any journalism-related work-study programs available. Then, you can use the program to help cover your tuition while receiving industry experience.

Think about the local paper and if students will have a chance to work there. It may seem small, but your experiences outside of the classroom can shape you overall and prepare you for your career. 

School Network

Another thing you can do is research the school’s network and alumni benefits. Consider if you can connect with other journalism school graduates to grow your network.

You can ask the school where their graduates usually end up working. If that sounds good, you can network with those people to help move your career forward.

On the other hand, if a school doesn’t have a ton of journalism alumni, paying more in tuition may not be worth it. The same is true if most students end up working in an area of journalism that doesn’t interest you.

Networking can be an excellent way to start your career, even when you’re in school. A good network may be worth the higher tuition cost.

How Will You Pay for Your Journalism Program?

If you want to work in media, you should consider how much a good journalism program will cost. You can expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $38,000 or more per year.

Now, prepare for the cost and find ways to lower it. And you’ll be able to determine if it’s worth paying a bit extra for non-academic resources and experiences.

Do you want to learn more about paying for college? Read more about the subject.

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