For many years, SIUC offered a Physician Assistant program at the baccalaureate level, with its own unique tuition schedule. Starting in Summer 2007, that BS degree program was phased out and a new Master of Science program in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) was introduced in its place. This MSPA program is designed for students who already have significant health care experience, and applicants are required to have a Bachelor's degree and to have completed a number of prerequisite courses before they can start the MSPA program.
The normal MSPA program is a 90 credit hour program lasting 26 months, with credit hour loads over 7 terms as follows: Summer #1 (10 hours), Fall #1 (22 hours), Spring #1 (22 hours), Summer #2 (6 hours), Fall #2 (12 hours), Spring #2 (12 hours), Summer #3 (6 hours).
The MSPA program charges regular Graduate School tuition plus a tuition surcharge specifically for the MSPA, along with general student fees. The Graduate School tuition is "capped" at 15 hours within a given term, while the tuition surcharge is "uncapped." In other words, following the credit hour load schedule noted in the previous paragraph, during the first Fall and first Spring semesters, the student will be charged 15 hours of Graduate School tuition plus 22 hours of the MSPA tuition surcharge, but, during the other terms, the number of hours charged for both Graduate School tuition and the MSPA tuition surcharge will be the same (and each under 15 hours).
Effective Fall 2016, while Graduate School tuition for incoming graduate students in other programs will no longer be capped at 15 hours in a given term, the Graduate School tuition portion for MSPA students will continue to be capped as noted in the previous paragraph.
The Graduate School tuition for a non-resident MSPA student is 2.5 times that for a resident MSPA student. The MSPA tuition surcharge for a non-resident is 1.5 times that for a resident. While it is possible for some non-residents in other graduate programs to qualify for an Alternate Tuition Rate that would lower their non-resident tuition, most MSPA non-resident students – including those from "border states" – really do not have that opportunity available to them. Instead, they can consider going through the process of establishing Illinois residency for purposes of paying resident tuition rates.
For more details about the MSPA tuition surcharge, see http://www.siusystem.edu/board-of-trustees/legislation/appendix_a.html, Item 1, Section A, Note 3.
MSPA students will incur other expenses beyond tuition and fees, as noted here.