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The Cost of Online College Courses: Closer to Traditional School Fees Than Many Expect
There’s alot of misunderstanding about the cost of online college courses, and about the real tuition for and associate, undergraduate, graduate and even doctoral degrees in general.
There are lots of
shortcuts available if you want a fake degree from a
“diploma mill” or a non-accredited online school.
But if you want to study at a real quality school, you may be surprised
to find that individual distance learning courses cost about the same
as traditional classes.
The total tuition you'll pay for an online degree, in fact, may be exactly the same as what you'd pay at a "brick and mortar" college for four years. But you'll get a big financial benefit from the fact that you'll live at home while studying. Students at traditional colleges have to budget tens of thousands of dollars for room and board over four years, especially if their school is in a major city.
You also tend to pay for online learning on a “per-course” basis. That’s important, because it gives you flexibility to stretch out your schedule if events in your life make it necessary. In most cases, when a full-time student at a traditional school doesn’t complete the required credits within four years, he or she has to pay for every additional semester needed to finish the degree.
If you study at a state school, you may also get a unique benefit from the "distance" in distance education. Most state colleges and universities charge a huge premium (sometimes almost double the basic tuition) for on-campus students who are not residents of their particular state. There's almost never a premium charged to out-of-state e-learners.
Cost differences: Traditional and Distance Learning:
There are several ways to defray this cost. If you
are employed, particularly by a mid to large-sized company, you
may be able
to get a the company to fund some or even all of the cost of online
courses. The federal government, which has traditionally given grants
only to on-campus students, has shown more flexibility in recent years
about giving financial aid to online students. (Read more about smart ways to pay for your online education
Western Governors University
A unique non-profit university that's 100% online, and has grown very rapidly since it was started in 1999. Two reasons for it's growth are it's good accreditation and very low tuition rates. WGU charges flat rates and not cost per credit. Tuition is less than $3,300. per term for most programs, and under $4,500. per term for nursing and MBA degree programs. Offers almost 50 different online degrees in:
Walden University Readers are sometimes surprised to find a "big name" online school on this list. Walden University is an accredited institution with over 40 years of experience and more than 40,000 students. It offers over 60 online degree programs with more than 300 specializations and concentrations, including:
Colorado State University Global Campus This is the online extension of Colorado State's public college system. The school has high-quality regional accreditation and, unlike most state schools, does not charge a premium tuition to out of state students. The cost per credit is $350. The school also offers a great guarantee: that it won't raise your tuition while you are in school. One of the big hidden costs in college, particularly for adult learners who take more than the standard amount of time to finish a degree, is the way most schools raise tuition each year. A typical student can end up paying thousands of dollars more in the third year of school than at the start. CSU's tuition guarantee can eliminate thousands of dollars in cost, on top of the moderate tuition rate. Offers bachelor's degrees in:
Grantham University Founded in 1951 to help World War II veterans get a new start in life, Grantham is one of the earliest online-only colleges in the U.S. It's accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and has an exceptionally low tuition rate of $265. per credit hour for undergrad degrees and $325. per hour for graduation degrees -- one of the most affordable tuition rates our research has been able to turn up. Grantham offers a good variety of career-focused degree programs online:
Ohio Christian University Ohio Christian is a private, nonprofit school with about 3,300 students. It was founded in 1948, and offers many accelerated programs. Online teaching is strongly focused on helping adults meet their career objectives. The cost per credit hour in bachelor programs is $385, while associate programs cost $295. per credit, lower than most other schools.
Grand Canyon University
A large private school offering online degrees at a total cost of about $49,400., a relatively moderate price for a school with strong name recognition across the country. Grand Canyon has a vast array of bachelors degrees in specialties including:
Top Schools Specializing In Online Degrees:
Offers a very wide range of bachelor's, master's and associates degrees in
- Criminal Justice
- Health Care
- Computer Technology
- Information Systems
- Legal Studies
Learn more about Kaplan's degree programs
Liberty is a private Christian school that has grown into a major provider of online degree prorams. It offers a wide array of certificate, bachelor, associate and masters degrees in:
- Criminal Justice
Get free info on Liberty University Online
Iowa-based school established in 1918, Ashford offers a vast array of online degrees online across the range from associate to bachelor and masters, in addition to it's campus-based programs. Degrees available in:
- Business Management - BA & MBA in 19 different specialties
- Early Childhood Education
- Health Care Studies
- Homeland Security
- Sports Managment
Get information on Ashford's online programs
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