Firefighters Eligible for Major Tuition, Fee Savings to Pursue Graduate Degree at WT

Chip Chandler Mar 04, 2024
  • Graduate
  • Community
  • Social Sciences
  • Featured

Firefighters Eligible for Major Tuition, Fee Savings to Pursue Graduate Degree at WT

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — Firefighters looking to advance in their career are eligible for tuition and fee waivers to pursue a graduate degree at West Texas A&M University.

WT’s Master of Public Administration program now offers assistance for tuition and lab fees, thanks to a state program that allows community colleges and universities the option to offer assistance to active-duty firefighters.

The University’s graduate program in criminal justice and public administration recently was ranked No. 17 nationally and No. 3 in Texas, according to newly released 2024 rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

Priority application deadline for the fall 2024 semester is March 15; final deadline is July 1.

The savings are significant, particularly for online students, said Dr. Darrell Lovell, MPA program director.

Students taking between three and nine semester hours would save between 70 and 80 percent in tuition fees. That does not include additional merit-based scholarships that students may qualify for.

“So, an active firefighter taking six hours a semester would pay roughly $2,700 total for their degree where the average student would pay $12,600,” Lovell said. “For a firefighter who is a full-time student taking nine hours, it would cost roughly $2,400 total for their degree where the average student pays $12,800.”

The Panhandle Regional Planning Commission is helping spread word to fire departments throughout the region.

“This is a big benefit for those looking to move up in city or county departments,” said Alex Guerrero, local government services director.

Firefighters might consider pursuing an MPA because it provides them necessary skills for promotions into administrative positions, Lovell said.

“This degree program expands and improves the skills of public servants and, by extension, the services they provide,” Lovell said. “Having public servants who understand the concepts of policy, budgeting, and management is essential for evolving local governments, such as those in the Panhandle and beyond.”

WT’s Master of Public Administration degree, offered through the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences and WT’s Graduate School, is a 100 percent online program designed to suit the needs of both traditional graduate students and working professionals.

The program, launched in fall 2022, offers three concentrations —one focusing on criminal justice administration, one focusing on rural/local government and one focusing on general public administration.

The 36-hour program provides course work that can be completed in as few as two years and flexibility designed for working professionals in government, nonprofit administration, law enforcement and education, as well as continuing students who want to enter the workforce with a graduate degree in hand.

Those who would benefit from the degree include those working in or targeting careers as social and community service managers, urban and regional planners, administrative services managers, emergency management directors, budget analysts, human resources managers, postsecondary education administrators, medical and health services managers, and management analysts.

WT’s commitment to being a learner-centered university is a key component of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.




About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.