Cost Comparison for Distance MLS Programs

Paul Pival, over at the Distant Librarian, points out that Judith Siess has calculated the least and most expensive distance MLS programs – based on figures from the Become a Librarian web site. This was one of the most important sources of information that I used to choose my MLS program about a year and a half ago. Judith points out that their is a wide discrepancy in the cost of various programs, but cautions against simply choosing the least expensive. I have to say that cost factored quite heavily in my decision of schools. I did incur debt from my undergraduate educational experience. Although it wasn’t much in comparison to the debt of many I know, it was significant enough for me. Student loans seem to hang over one’s head for the longest time – and I had ABSOLUTELYno intention of taking out any loans to go to graduate school.

My second requirement was that there be no requirement to actually visit the campus. I do not have the flexibility to be able to go to a campus for 2 weeks a year or for orientation visits. While I wasn’t opposed to cohort approach, it seemed that part of the cohort development required face-to-face sessions. With these constraints, there really were only two options: Southern Connecticut State University and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. SCSU was less expensive  and closer in proximity – in case there was ever a reason to have to visit campus. Despite issues and problems (which I would expect to find at any institution), I am extremely happy with my decision. While cost shouldn’t be the only reason to choose a school, I personally think it is one of the most important.

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5 Responses to Cost Comparison for Distance MLS Programs

  1. Julian says:

    I face such a predicament. I want to attend the local state school, but I am not sure they want me back. I feel like I’d be seen as nothing more than a second-chance charity case, despite being more qualified on paper this time (career-wise). I’m just nervous about qualifying for in-state tuition, even though I have done everything required to establish residency in my state. The other local library school is way out of my price range (about three times as much in cost), and just isn’t my first choice. I can get a discount if I get into a relatively nearby online-only program, but I’m not sure right now if an online-only program is what I want. I wouldn’t be opposed to an online program with some face-to-face — as long as it’s not too much of a drive away. I also don’t want to give up my job to go to school full-time. I want part-time (because full-time didn’t work so well for me last time), and if I give up my current job, I may as well fully give up on librarianship.

    I am the biggest idiot in the history of Earth. I didn’t have to pay for library school the first time around, yet I managed to completely mess it up. This time, I hope to be fortunate enough to have to cover less than half of the cost myself. I, too, survived undergrad without much in loans, but library school 2.0 is going to easily double my student loan debt (if I get another chance).

    I started an application at Southern, but I decided not to finish it. I’m sure the library school there is pretty good, but I wanted to go to library school away from my home of origin.

  2. Jennifer says:

    It is a tough choice – and I think so many factors can play a role in what programs we choose. Decideding to go with an online only program was easy to make. Simmons is the closest program tome physically, but getting into Boston for classes (around my work schedule) just wasn’t something that I was willing to consider. I also decided against URI for the same reason. SCSU was the closest and, honestly, the best value. I can pay as I go.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself about things that happen in the pass – we all do idiotic things. After I graduated from college, I entered a PhD program in history. I hated it. I left the program on poor terms – and in debt – for nothing. I still cringe a bit when it crosses my mind. However, I wasn’t ready.

    Have you thought about taking an online class to see if you like it? I took one before I actually applied. I knew I wanted to do an online program, but I definitely had reservations about it (I still have some). Fortunately, the first one that I took was an incredible class and helped to reinforce the fact that this was the right choice for me.

  3. Julian says:

    I took one online class when I was in library school before (but there were three in-person meetings during that semester). I did horribly in the class, but that was my fault. The online experience, though… I am much more comfortable online than in person, but I would have gotten more out of the class if it had been in person. Speaking up in class and possibly feeling like an idiot for what you say is one thing… it’s completely different when you’re online and you have the option of editing your words before you hit the Enter key.

    That commute into Boston or greater Providence can be very rough, so I don’t blame you. Here in the DC area, the two library schools are very Metro-accessible.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I understand about being more comfortable online. I am a quiet person – and find it difficult to speak up in a traditional class. However, that probably also means that I need practice with it. I’m trying to push my limits in other ways – and actually this blog has really helped me do this.

    I have a colleague who went to library school at Catholic University – and has wonderful things to say about the program (in case you are considering this school). I definitely don’t envy you having to make the decision. I remember almost driving myself crazy going back and forth. Finally, I just made myself stop thinking about it and make a decision.

    I went to GWU for my freshman year of college (way too big of a school for me). I loved living in DC. It was a wonderful place to go to school!!

  5. Kristine says:

    I’m curious. I read “The Ugly” and I’m going through the same thing right now. Why didn’t you comment on Judith’s site? I wish someone would have commented so I wouldn’t have picked this school. I’m so angry, because I feel very locked in because I’ve already taken 3 classes and if I transfer most schools will only take 2 of my classes. That means $1500 and hundreds of hours of work down the drain.

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