Free master's degree | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free master's degree

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 8:46 AM

A question fired at me this morning about SB 858 by Sen. Shane Broadway, (link fixed) which zipped through Senate Education with nary a peep yesterday.

It would pay up to $20,000 (in repayment of federal student loans) toward the cost of a master's degree for ANY state employee who possessed a master's and was hired after June of this year or who had completed six hours toward a master's at any time before July of this year.

This is said to encourage a better educated state worker corps. Pretty sweet incentive. My source said it could cost $10 million over the life of the program, contingent on available funds.

My source is suspicious. Applicants need not demonstrate need. They need not demonstrate that they possess a skill in short supply or even that they're using their master's for the job for which they apply. Then there's a question about incentives for people already working in state government.

State employees in this context are NOT school teachers, naturally. They don't get the same favorable treatment as state employees, whether on health benefits or other perks.

I'd be happy to hear from someone on the other side of this.

(You'd think money for such employee perks would be in short supply, after the administration's blown-up revenue projections.)

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