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College to accept state employee tuition waivers

FSU College of Business now accepts state-employee tuition waivers for graduate work

Starting this fall, the Florida State University College of Business will begin accepting state employee tuition waivers for several of its graduate programs, giving state workers the opportunity to pursue coursework without emptying their pockets.

“Eligible state employees will be able to update their business skills by taking courses from internationally known business educators,” said David Paradice, senior associate dean and Sprint Professor of Business Administration. “In the long run, both the state agencies and the citizens of Florida will benefit from state workers improving their knowledge base.”

The college’s part-time, evening Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is tailored for employees who must work during the day. The college also recently launched a completely online graduate Business Professional Specialization for those wanting more skills in a specific business discipline, such as accounting or marketing, but not necessarily a degree. For more information on all of the college’s programs and how to apply, visit

The state allows state universities and community colleges to waive tuition and fees for eligible state workers taking undergraduate or graduate courses on a space-available basis. At the FSU College of Business, waivers can only be accepted for graduate courses.

The savings can be significant for a state worker. The Part-time MBA program, for example, is a 39-credit-hour program that takes seven semesters to complete. Students typically take six credit hours – or two evening classes – each semester and complete one final course in the seventh semester. Tuition currently costs $477.70 per credit hour or $2,866.20 total for two courses. For the online Business Professional Specialization, waivers will cover tuition but not distance-learning fees. The college’s other online graduate programs are currently not eligible.

The new acceptance of state waivers comes at a fortunate time for Stephen Rogers, MBA student and financial analyst at the Florida Department of Transportation. He said the change means more money staying in his bank account for life’s expenses – including a new baby and monthly home mortgage payments.

“It’s going to help,” Rogers said. “I felt I needed to get a graduate degree to take the next step in my career, get up to the next pay level and to get the knowledge I need to be in management and the business world. Plus, I want to own my own business one of these days.”

Rogers joins a long list of state employees who have opted to pursue a graduate business degree at FSU.

Ryan Stokes, financial manager at the Florida Department of Management Services’ Division of State Group Insurance, attended evening classes to earn an MBA in 2009. He said state waivers would have made the sacrifice easier, but it didn’t deter him from finishing his degree earlier. Stokes credits his MBA coursework for helping him develop his strategic planning skills, and he knows several state employees who moved into management posts after earning their FSU MBA.

“You just have to balance the work and your home life. I definitely think it was worth it,” he said.

FSU also stands to benefit from more state-employee students.

“This change will increase the number of students in our graduate business classes who have work experience,” Paradice said. “This type of student elevates the overall level and practical value of the courses through their discussions and analyses of the problems currently being faced by working professionals. Students arriving at class who have experience in the workforce bring real-life examples professors can use to translate theory into action in terms of today’s business environment.”

The following five College of Business graduate programs are eligible for the State of Florida employee tuition waivers:

Master of Business Administration (MBA) – part time, evening, on campus. Please note: The Online MBA program does *not* qualify for the waiver.

Master of Accounting (MAcc) – on campus. Can be completed part time, though courses are offered only during the day.

Master of Science in Finance (MSF) – on campus. This is a lock-step, full-time program with courses offered only during the day.

Master of Science in Marketing (MSM) – on campus. Can be completed part time with most courses offered in the evening.

Business Professional Specialization – courses offered online. Please note: These are the only online courses that qualify for the waiver.

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