When a prospective student is trying to determine the affordability of an online college, they will have to look into quite a few different factors. These include things like the geographical location of the student, the type of program field in question, and length of study. For instance, an individual who wants to attend an online program from a Californian university will usually pay more if they live outside of California. The same is true for degrees that require more years or advanced specializations. So, what is the right way to describe the cost of online college?
The term “affordable” is often left out of conversations held between accountants, finance experts, investors, or any other professionals who work with money. This is because it is loosely defined because people’s subjectivity dictates it. Just consider, for instance, a person who makes $30,000 versus someone who makes $3,000,000 annually. For the latter, paying $10,000 for a college semester may be borderline unnoticeable. The party that is making $30,000, however, will usually have to obtain special funding to cover such an expenditure. Hence why any question related to affordability of online colleges can never be answered with a clear-cut “yes” or “no.”
Luckily, there is a way to gauge the cost of an online program by glancing at the competing physical institutions. Generally speaking, online colleges will indeed be a lot more affordable than their face-to-face counterparts. The reason why boils down to the resources that the student takes advantage of. Anyone who signs up for a traditional classroom will have to pay fees for using the school’s building, parking, printing, and many other add-on services. Folks who do their coursework online will not need to cover these types of charges because they do not utilize any of the aforementioned. Instead, the only thing that they require is a computer paired with a reliable internet connection. Since most students secure those two inputs themselves, the only other financial concern will be the textbooks.
Rapid Rise of Tuition and Fees
Over the past three decades, the cost of getting a college degree has gone up by more than four times. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a student attending a four-year institution in 1985 was paying around $5,500 per year. Nowadays, people have to pay $23,000 on the low-end. Private institutions and advanced specializations will further increase that price tag. This trend of seemingly endless rise in education expenses is one of the main reasons why online programs came around. Even though they will not help save a ton of money, taking courses online makes the student eligible to continue working full-time. Thus, they will have a constant flow of income that is bound to make their learning endeavor more affordable.
Related Resource: The 50 Most Affordable Colleges with the Best Return
To accurately determine the savings that an online program will offer over some traditional alternatives, you should begin by making a list of your options. The next step is to individually compare each of those programs and find accurate financial figures by getting in touch with the institutions. Finally, holding a job while taking online courses will further allow you to make your online college attendance much more affordable.