How expensive is online education?
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How expensive is online education?

Monday January 5, 2009

How expensive is online education?
There are a lot of misconceptions about online education and its pricing. Many people consider it more expensive because it is new, while on the other hand the online degree programs, themselves advertise as very affordable in order to allure prospective students.
The thing that you should know when it comes to the cost of online degree programs is that if you opt for quality, you will probably find the total costs pretty close to traditional brick-and-mortar schools. But the basic difference that at the same time saves your money is that you won't have to pay for residency and trip costs. Another advantage of online programs is that the costs are universal regardless of geographic location of the student.

No residency or trip costs!

As in traditional schools, online degree programs can be public and for-profit programs. Naturally, public programs are cheaper because they are supported by government money while private institutions are not. The overall expense also depends on the type of the degree you choose. For instance, Associate's degree is the cheapest and of lowest rank. As the rank goes higher the prices go too.

student loanThe basic tuition is determined by cost per credit hour. Credit hour is a measure of cost credit based on the number of hours per course per week throughout a semester or term. Usually a full-time student needs to carry around 15 credit hours per semester which brings a total of around 120 credit hours for any type of undergraduate degree.

Another important fact is that with online colleges you have the option to pay on a per-course basis. So if you meet some unexpected circumstance in life you can take a break and continue whenever you want. Whereas in traditional schools if a student doesn't complete the required number of credits they must pay for additional ones needed to finish the degree. Some online colleges also offer a refund if you notify them in due time that you won't be able to attend the classes.

Paying on per-course basis makes studies more flexible.

When considering the expenses you must know that you will also have to pay some additional fees like application and student fee, books, software, computer equipment, internet, etc. Anyway, before you decide to enroll you must inquire thoroughly about all the details.

Another thing you should inquire about are the alternative ways to pay for your education like financial aid, loans, grants. Financial aid is available for anyone who studies at an accredited online program. Then there are also student loans for which you must meet the conditions but more and more companies are getting more flexible on approving loans. The best case would be if you are employed and your employer pays for part or whole tuition.

In any case you will have to do a thorough research. Specific programs have specific requirements and it is up to you to get all the info and choose the one that suits your needs best. The best thing to do is to address a financial aid advisor and ask all you need to know. If you want your employer to pay for your education, consult your Human Resources officer.

Also inquire about tax breaks and deductions as well as about loan forgiveness since government forgives loans in some cases, for instance for highly needed career fields.


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