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HELP FAQ

These responses are a compilation of student and faculty perspectives and are offered as insights for future students.

Although this page will be updated regularly, the information shared is subject to change. Please contact the HELP program should you have any questions or concerns with the information presented. More information on the program can be found on the UNG Academic Catalog.
Financial Questions
How much does the HELP cost?
Current tuition pricing can be found at the University of North Georgia’s Business Office’s website. In addition to tuition and mandatory fees, there may be some additional costs that vary each semester for books and other materials. However, most courses only utilize open access educational materials to help defray costs.
Can I use the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the HELP Program if I am a USG employee?
Yes! Get more information on this at the USG Tuition Assistance Program Website.
Are there opportunities for scholarships, grants, etc.?

Multiple scholarships can be applied for through the UNG scholarship pages. Selection for the scholarships are determined by the applicable scholarship committee, and not the HELP program. 

Life Balance Questions
Is working a full-time job, being a partner/parent/dependent, and completing the HELP program feasible?

The following question was answered by students in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Absolutely, although I will say if it were easy then everyone would do it! This program must be something that you have the full support of your family and hopefully your employer as well. As with many things in life, it comes down to time management and work-life-school integration. Depending on your stage of life, having a consistent time to work on your studies can change. For me, I have four little kids and a wife who like to have my attention when I get home from work. I mostly squeeze in readings during short breaks throughout the day and commit the larger assignments to early morning time blocks. The more you can integrate your family and your work into your studies the better you will be. For me, I have chosen a dissertation topic that will hopefully benefit my workplace as well. My boss is interested in the results of my study and my research has made me a better employee.    

How much time a week does the HELP program demand?

The following question was answered by students in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

It really depends on the course, the professor, and your learning preferences and style.  I am a slow reader and I like to learn by experiencing things (not necessarily the best combination for a distance learner). However, I like math and I’m good at following processes and instructions. Given these considerations, I am probably a little slower than average on doing course readings and writing for those courses that are reading intensive. For the quantitative course, however, I can accomplish those modules fairly quickly. I cannot say that I spend 10, 15, or 20 hours a week on the HELP program because there are too many variables to consider. I can say though that I typically work 70-80 hours a week, have four little kids, and I have been able to find the time I need to devote to the program. If you prioritize your life and manage time well, you will do just fine.     

What happens in emergency situations? Are there any special considerations given to course assignments?

The following question was answered by students in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

In my experience, the HELP faculty have been extremely accommodating in giving students individual consideration. Our youngest daughter was born with a rare birth defect the first week of Fall semester. We knew the entire pregnancy that she had a cyst growing in her upper chest that may cause several complications during and after birth. She ended up having surgery 5 days after her birth and spent three weeks in the NICU. During that time, the faculty was very understanding, lightened my workload, and delayed assignments. Having that time to just focus on my family and not worry about my studies was priceless. I cannot speak about other students’ experiences or other institutions programs, but the UNG HELP program supports its students and is there to ensure students achieve their academic goals. 

Are there opportunities to be published, attend conferences, and guest lecture in classes in one’s area of expertise?

The following question was answered by students in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Yes! Students have presented their final course projects at multiple conferences.  Currently, there are no requirements or expectations to be published or attend conferences during the HELP program, although it is highly encouraged. All final dissertation research will be published. 

The HELP program recognizes that there are students in the program who are experts in their field of work. Students who have expertise in any given topic may have the opportunity to facilitate a module with the oversight of the professor. For instance, if you have worked extensively in the student affairs functions of higher education, you may be asked to help facilitate one of the modules during the Leadership in Student Affairs course.   

Academic Questions
Does this program require any campus visits?
No. Attending the New Student orientation is strongly recommended. Orientation occurs in August prior to the start of the first academic semester. All other academic requirements, to include dissertation defense, can be accomplished through virtual communication.
Is the GRE required for admission to this program?
No. Requirements for admission can be found on the Graduate Admissions Website.
Will UNG accept transfer credits?

Requests for transfer course credit for courses completed at regionally accredited institutions within six years will be reviewed by the Higher Education Leadership & Practice admissions committee upon the request of the student. Requests will only be considered if courses were NOT applied towards the completion of a degree earned. Requests must include the syllabus for the semester in which the proposed transfer course credit was completed. Requests may only include courses from programs at the Ed.S., Ed.D. or Ph.D. levels. Transfer credit award will be up to 15 credit hours.  

How many classes/credits do I take a semester?
As designed, each semester consists of two academic courses (3 credits each) and one dissertation writing course (1 credit) for a total of 7 credits. The dissertation writing course is designed to set benchmarks and goals to ensure student research is on track to complete their research within three years. See the plan of study for specific course requirements and schedule.
What are the “typical” academic class requirements each week and each semester?

The following question is answered by a student in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Class requirements are subject to the individual professors and can be found in the course syllabi which is published prior to the start of each semester. Typically, courses will either have a one-week or two-week modules. These modules involve assigned readings, creating an original response to assigned prompts, and responding to a specified number of your fellow student responses. The time to complete each module varies depending on the individual, course, and professor. Major assignments for each class also vary and can include (but not limited to): research papers, case studies, book reports, group projects, narrated presentations, statistical reports, and dissertation critiques. 

How can someone balance conducting research while taking classes?

The following question is answered by a student in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Concurrently taking academic classes and conducting research can be challenging.  To assist this, the HELP program has approved a “wrap around model” for most courses. The wrap around model enables students to apply course assignment content to add towards their research on their chosen dissertation topic without risk of plagiarism. This practice does not allow for students to use course assignments to satisfy other requirements. For instance, if your dissertation topic was a leadership study, you could use your final paper in the leadership course to contribute towards your literature review. However, you could not use your final paper from one course to satisfy a requirement in another course.  

What type of dissertation topics do students research?

The following question is answered by a student in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Dissertation topics are chosen by the student with feedback from the dissertation advisor. Students are allowed to study any topic within higher education by any method they so choose. Some broad topics that students are studying currently include: leadership and student performance, presidential pathways, student retention, and mental health in graduate students.

Are there opportunities to be published, attend conferences, and guest lecture in classes in one’s area of expertise?

The following question is answered by a student in the HELP program to provide examples of student voice. This response reflects their personal experiences. Any statements made are the views of the respondent and not the UNG or HELP program. 

Yes! Students have presented their final course projects at multiple conferences.  Currently, there are no requirements or expectations to be published or attend conferences during the HELP program, although it is highly encouraged. All final dissertation research will be published. 

The HELP program recognizes that there are students in the program who are experts in their field of work. Students who have expertise in any given topic may have the opportunity to facilitate a module with the oversight of the professor. For instance, if you have worked extensively in the student affairs functions of higher education, you may be asked to help facilitate one of the modules during the Leadership in Student Affairs course.   

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