WORCESTER, Mass. – March 10, 2009 – Recognizing today’s economic challenges on students and families; and underscoring the career benefits of advanced degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is announcing a new, less expensive route to a master’s degree for its graduating class and recent alumni.
The March 12, 2009 edition of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette features an article about the program.
The Master’s Degree Tuition Incentive Program is a pilot program that offers members of WPI’s Classes of 2004 to 2009 a tuition discount that can reduce the cost of a master’s degree by more than 40 percent. Through this one-time program, seniors and alumni who have been accepted into a WPI master's program may register for as many as 33 credits during the 2009–10 academic year, but pay tuition for only 18 credits. This represents a savings of up to $16,809. The program will make it possible for many students to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in just five years, at a substantially reduced cost.
"This new program will allow seniors and recent graduates to enhance their education and their professional preparation during these tumultuous times," said WPI Provost and Senior Vice President John A. Orr. "WPI graduates have always been in high demand and even with this tight job market, that isn’t likely to change. What is changing is the need for advanced degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Not only does a master’s degree offer value by expanding career opportunities, but it can have a very real impact on earnings potential. Through this new program, we hope to offer our new and recent graduates a reprieve from the current economy, while preparing them for an even brighter future."
According to WPI’s Career Development Center (CDC), the average starting salary for a WPI graduate with a BS degree is $55,229, while the average starting salary for a WPI MS degree recipient is $64,983. The CDC also reports that the placement rate for WPI’s Class of 2008 was 92 percent. Last year the university was also ranked ninth in the nation by Forbes.com in its "Top Schools for Getting Rich" survey, which was based on the salaries of both recent BS graduates and those with 10 to 20 years of experience.
The new Master’s Degree Tuition Incentive Program is being offered to full-time students on a pilot basis only during the 2009-10 academic year. Those who do not complete the requirements for a master’s degree during the academic year may continue taking graduate courses at WPI’s regular rate on either a full- or part-time basis. The tuition discount is available to all WPI graduates who have completed or will complete their bachelor’s degree requirements between Jan. 1, 2004, and August 1, 2009, and who are accepted into any of WPI’s master’s level programs, except the MBA. Aside from the Master’s Degree Tuition Incentive Program, WPI has offered undergraduates a combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science program for years. This accelerated course of study allows students to obtain both degrees after only five years of full-time work; the tuition incentive program is also available to the students enrolled in this program during the next academic year.
This discounted program further demonstrates WPI’s commitment to helping families who may be adversely affected by the economic downturn. Last week the university announced that undergraduate tuition will increase by just 2.9 percent for the 2009–10 academic year – the lowest percentage increase in almost 20 years. WPI is also offering families the option to pay their bills over the course of 12 months instead of 10, and is planning to offer additional programs to help families during the economic crisis.