The difference between an "academic" and a "professional" master's degree may be, well, academic, but such re-designations at UC Berkeley have come with increased tuition for a variety of programs. As the rising cost of education at America's colleges and universities continues to be a perennial topic, the University of California as a whole has maintained a tuition freeze, with UC President Janet Napolitano saying just this week that "I think in terms of affordability California has done a very good job of keeping the university affordable and accessible," according to the Mercury News. Nevertheless, the reclassification of 20 master's degrees at nine graduate schools by the Chronicle's count has netted millions more from students despite the freeze and without directly violating it.
To the base tuition of $11,220 that graduate students pay yearly, “Professional degree supplemental tuition” can add thousands. That translates to much more for the University — that supplemental tuition netted the school $62 million just last year. Berkeley's School of Social Welfare was first to charge supplemental tuition in 2010, rising in cost from $11,000 to $17,000, while the following year the School of Engineering followed suit with a tuition hike from $12,950 to $44,985, a sum that's now $51,165. However, some programs like that one say students are saving money, as the two-year program was shortened to just one year.
“Before, I didn’t have to work and could focus on my studies and becoming a good teacher,” one student receiving a master's in education told the Chronicle. “So it makes things a lot harder.”