iSchool invests $1.3 million in Upstate IT scholarships
Almost like an angel investor, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) made a decision in 2009 to fund a stake in the future careers of Upstate New York residents looking to enhance and retool their information skills.
The school created a 50 percent tuition scholarship, and has since provided $1.377 million worth of funding for 105 permanent Upstate residents to pursue graduate education in the information field. Now, the iSchool program is expanding upon its initial success. Two new degree areas—graduate certificates in social media and data science—are being added for the 2012-2013 year, and the iSchool has committed to fund all recipients for the entire course of their studies, even if that takes several years. Additionally, the program is working to attract students from a wider geographical range, since its extensive distance programs make it possible for students from anywhere in the Upstate New York region to participate.
The program encompasses seven master’s and certificate of advanced studies graduate programs. All can be fully completed through distance learning, and the school is encouraging interested students beyond the immediate Syracuse area, anywhere in Upstate New York, to apply. The application deadline is May 1 for preference consideration.
In addition to the significant financial aid that the 50 percent tuition program provides, some enrolled students may also receive financial help from their employers. In that case, the school does not reduce the amount of its aid (as some colleges do), further illustrating its commitment to the program goals.
That was the case for Damon Mone, now manager of commercial and carrier operations at Time Warner Cable in Syracuse. Between the financial aid he received and tuition assistance from his employer, the family man with three children will graduate this year with a master’s degree in telecommunications and network management “with zero debt”— a factor that made it all possible, he says. The same is true for Cordell Ennis, now a consultant in technology for Accenture. As a young man newly in the workforce, he enrolled in the program to help achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. “I would not have been able to do this without the scholarship,” he says.
The iSchool is aware of the fact that many working adults have been affected by changing job market conditions. That is a population also in need of educational opportunities, even though universities historically have tended to focus their financial aid resources on undergraduates, observes David Dischiave, assistant professor and director for the iSchool’s Global Enterprise Technology program.
“The Upstate IT scholarship is one big way the iSchool has put Scholarship in Action as an affordable vehicle to help working adults gain access to the courses that can change their life in a measureable way,” Dischiave says. “Many of my students have been able to gain new employment or get promotions they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise” because they were able to gain or update to the latest skills.
Master’s degree and certificate of advanced study programs in these areas at the iSchool are eligible for the scholarship:
• 42-credit M.S. in information management
• 30-credit executive M.S. in information management
• 36-credit M.S. in telecommunications and network management
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in information security management
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in information systems and telecommunications management
Newly added for the 2012-2013 academic year are:
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in data science
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in information innovation/social media