When GW graduates become employees, payday awaits

As graduates from the Class of 2013 jump into the slowly rebounding economy, they may wind up back at GW.

The University boasts that 1,400 employees, or 6 percent of its workforce, hold GW degrees – far higher than schools like the University of Georgia, which counts .1 percent of its employees as alums. Recent graduates say part of the draw in working at their alma mater is the facilitated path to a second degree. Employees can take graduate classes at a 96 percent discounted rate – higher than nearly every other university in the country.

For 2010 graduate Jason Lifton, the offer was one he couldn’t refuse. Faced with a rough economic outlook, Lifton was hired to work at the Student and Academic Support Services office by its former head Robert Chernak. He began working toward his MBA at the GW School of Business soon after, and said, “There was no better place for me.”

He said there are a mix of recent alumni who work at GW: some who want to give back to their schools, and others who keep their work-study jobs long-term or take on new positions.

“The strongest incentive to me was just having the ability to give back to a place that has given me so much,” Lifton said. But he added that once he finishes his master’s degree, he is “not really sure” if he will stay at the University.

Lifton will ultimately save about $75,000 out of the about $78,000 tuition it would typically take to earn a GW business degree. The payday far exceeds those offered by other schools like Northwestern and Vanderbilt universities, which give a 75 and 70 percent tuition cut, respectively, to staff. The University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis both give a 50 percent break.

GW employees looking to take classes can also work for a shorter period of time before seeing that discount – about 90 days. Other schools, such as Washington University in St. Louis, require at least a year as an employee before the discount applies.

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