Non-Degree Student Status, Demystified

Posted: June 26, 2017 9:30:00 AM CDT

DiplomaBeing a non-degree seeking online graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) may not be what you think. Whether or not you plan to complete a degree program, UNK’s non-degree status may be your best option to get started on the education you need.

Linda Johnson, Director of Graduate Admissions and Programs at UNK, shares some common misconceptions about the non-degree status for graduate programs, along with insight about how this status benefits students.

Myth #1: Only students who don’t want a degree should apply as a non-degree seeking student.

Truth: A non-degree status encompasses many different students who want to pursue educational options at UNK, including students who:

  • Plan to complete a UNK graduate degree on campus or online but who missed the application deadline to begin in the upcoming semester
  • Have already completed an undergraduate degree and want to add a teaching endorsement, initial teaching certification, or recertification
  • Are enrolled in another institution but could use an online course offered by UNK that applies toward the degree at their institution
  • Want to take a few courses before committing to a degree program or take courses for professional or personal development

Myth #2: If I want a degree after all, I can just continue coursework as a non-degree student until I finish the degree.

Truth: Although you can complete up to 12 graduate credit hours as a non-degree seeking student, you should apply to the degree program as soon as you decide to pursue the degree. This helps UNK ensure that you are on the right track toward fulfilling the degree requirements and that the appropriate policies are applied to you based on your student status. If you have been an active non-degree student in the past two years, UNK will waive your application fee when you apply to the degree program. Most importantly, if you are not completely sure that you have switched from a non-degree to degree-seeking student, contact UNK to check as early as possible. 

Myth #3: My student status doesn’t matter as long as I get the education I need.

Truth: There are significant differences in university policies for degree-seeking students and non-degree seeking students, including that financial aid is only available for degree-seeking students. Your student status affects many other policies that are specific to the degree program you are pursuing or considering applying to. Becoming fully admitted to a degree program allows you to ensure that all the courses you take apply toward the degree so you don’t invest in credit hours you may not have needed.

The application deadlines to apply to an online graduate program at UNK are October 15 for spring semester, March 15 for summer semester, and June 15 for fall semester. Plan a fall semester start even though the application deadline has passed by applying as a non-degree seeking student today. View the available online graduate programs available through UNK eCampus.

By: Rosanna Vail

Category: eCampus, General

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