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Tuition and Funding

The cost of the entire program for students entering in the Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 cohorts is $13,500. The per credit rate of $900 is locked in for the duration of study. Cost per each 3-credit class is $2,700 which is approximately 30% less than regular graduate tuition at American University. An increase of $50 per credit is anticipated for cohorts beginning in next calendar year (January 2015). If a student defers admission or temporarily withdraws from their cohort and enrolls at a later date, current tuition rates will apply (which may be higher than at time of admission). The first 12 students to enroll in the Fall 2014 Cohort will receive a $900 tuition award.

Please note that current American University students and non degree students who enroll in the certificate program courses will be charged the standard SOC graduate tuition. For current rates, please visit the Office of Student Accounts page.

Starting spring 2014 the Digital Media Program will be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. If you would like to apply, please visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ to start your FAFSA application. Note you must be a degree seeking student to apply for Federal Financial Aid. Eligible students can fund the program with the Post 9/11 GI Bill. More information regarding this process can be found here.

Employer Tuition Assistance

A number of students receive sponsorship from their employers for expenses associated with the certificate program at SOC. Employer sponsorship, either in whole or in part, benefits both the student and sponsoring organization. The student will receive the foundations needed to further their career. The organization will gain from employees who enhance internal organizational capabilities.
Below are some points to emphasize when approaching an employer for sponsorship. The certificate program benefits employers by providing employees with:

  • Practical education and training, which can be applied directly to the needs of the sponsoring organization;
  • Access to information on the newest innovations in digital media;
  • Networking opportunities with individuals in similar positions at other organizations;
  • The opportunity to build on skills gained from the employing organization;
  • Enhanced knowledge of social media theory, strategy, and tools.

Requesting Financial Support

If your organization routinely funds education reimbursement, use whatever means are in place. If, however, your organization does not have a formal system in place, the following tips may be useful in approaching your employer.

  1. Be strategic about asking. If you do not ask, they cannot say yes. On the other hand, consider the likely outcome of your request. Find out about your organization's recent history of providing such support. Research your organization's policies and procedures to determine how the organization handles requests for tuition payment or reimbursement, tuition remission, or payment for training.
  2. Clearly articulate the organization's return on investment. What will they get out of this expenditure? Provide examples of projects or topics presented in class that may be directly beneficial to the employer.
  3. Make your request look as professional as possible. Be professional and respectful. Whenever possible, use your organization's language and style for communicating, so as to increase the likelihood of being funded, e.g., formal or informal language, letter or memo, written or verbal.
  4. Get the decision-maker’s commitment in writing. Having documentation outlining your education support arrangement will help protect you should your organization have a change in leadership or priorities.
  5. Make sure you know the financial consequences of leaving your organization before you complete your certificate program. If your organization has paid for any of the courses, will they demand repayment? What will happen to your tuition reimbursement request if you leave the organization in the middle of the course?

Internet Links

Applicants to the Digital Media Skills certificate program are encouraged to seek external funding. Websites providing scholarship information are below.

International students may also be interested in visiting these Web sites to locate additional sources of financial aid:

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at, www.american.edu/soc/disclosures.