News Brief - 12/15/16 ST. LOUIS As 2016 comes to a close and residents around the state begin making resolutions for the New Year, WGU Missouri is encouraging working adults to make going back to school a top priority in 2017. The online, nonprofit university is offering the “A New Kind of You” scholarship, with awards of up to $2,000 each available to new students. Because choosing a school can be an overwhelming decision for many adults, WGU Missouri is also offering the following tips to help ensure those returning to school in the New Year can find a university that will allow them to successfully earn their degrees and advance their careers: Choose a school that allows you to apply what you already know. Your work experience and previous education/training may mean you don’t have to start over from scratch. Earned credits are often transferable into a program of study. Workplace training and experiences may also help advance your degree, especially if you choose a school that offers a competency-based approach to learning, which allows students to move at their own pace and advance when mastery of the subject matter is demonstrated. Understand the costs and borrow responsibly. Continuing your education is a financial commitment. Consider the amount of tuition, book costs and other fees. Speak with a financial advisor about financial aid and other means of assistance that can lower your costs, and compare the tuition and fees of various schools to make the right choice for your budget. If you decide to take out student loans, don’t automatically borrow the maximum allowable amount. Before deciding how much to borrow, educate yourself about the local employment market, including average salary ranges, and calculate how much your monthly salary will go up once you finish your degree and begin repaying your loans. Take advantage of the support your university offers. Going back to school, especially for the adult learners who are working full-time and raising families, can be challenging. You’ll need a good support team to answer your questions and encourage you along the way. Be sure to look into how you will interact with faculty, what type of mentoring is offered and any other types of support available before choosing a college. Make sure the school you choose is accredited and its students are in demand. As you look into different educational institutions, ensure those establishments have the appropriate accreditation, and confirm your credits earned will be recognized by other higher education institutions and employers. It is also beneficial to ask about alumni placements, employer surveys and graduate rankings before registering. “For adult learners resolving to go back to school in the New Year, choosing the right university can be a daunting task,” said WGU Missouri Chancellor Angie Besendorfer. “We encourage them to do their homework and choose a school that will provide a flexible, affordable college experience to meet their needs. WGU Missouri offers affordable competency-based education programs that are a fit for many working adults, and we look forward to helping more students achieve their educational goals in the coming year.” WGU Missouri’s “A New Kind of You Scholarship” is open through March 31st, 2017 to new students in any one of the more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at WGU Missouri. Each award is valued at up to $2,000 ($500 per term, for up to four terms). Scholarships are competitive and are awarded based on a candidate’s academic record, readiness for online study and current competency, as well as other considerations. For more information or to apply, visit missouri.wgu.edu/newyou.