“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“How much does online school cost” can be tough a question to answer, given all the moving parts of tuition, financial aid and extra charges that exist. But if you do the research and figure out what your online degree will deliver in terms of a career boost, you should be able to insure that the benefits of your education will outweigh the costs.
The cheapest university – online or traditional – isn’t necessarily the best bargain. Some keys to understanding the true value include digging in to how exactly your potential school collects fees, exactly which type of credit fee you will be charged and if you qualify for discounts or special benefits – which have become more and more common. Lastly, you want a school with the kind of accreditation that will be viewed in a good light by employers out there in the real world.
What’s the Most Expensive Kind of Online School?
The major you choose can have an effect on your cost. A school will seldom charge the same for bachelor’s or master’s degrees across all subject areas. Tuition for a quarter credit hour in most programs at Purdue Global University, for example, is $371. But it’s $315. for a nursing BSN and $305. for students in technology or business programs. Those small-sounding differences can add up over the course of a 180 degree program. If you’re a military veteran, you may be able to take these programs for just $230. per quarter credit hour. There are also price variations at the graduate level. While master’s programs in education, criminal justice and other popular specialties cost $420. per quarter credit at Purdue, the number for business and health care administration degree fees is $485.
Hidden Fees Add to Your College Cost
Be careful to look at the fees you’ll be charged on top of tuition. At some schools, extra fees for technology, books and application costs can tack thousands of dollars on to how much your online degree will cost. Of course, you do start with a key advantage with online study. You eliminate the cost of a dorm room and food service, which can be crushing. At Boston University, a top-end private school, annual tuition sounds high enough at $54,720. But an on-campus student would have to add $16,160. each year to that for room and board.
In-State Versus Out-Of-State Tuition
Historically, state universities (which are public schools) have always charged a premium for students from out-of-state to attend. When it comes to online degrees, the competing urges that state schools have to make more in tuition while at the same time attract more students has created an odd, confusing array of cost possibilities.
In 2016-17, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average state school’s annual fee on traditional class learning for in-state students across the U.S. was $19,488., compared with an average of $24,854. for out-of-state students. But there were big variations within the category. In Connecticut, a state with severe budgetary problems, the fee of a year’s public education for in-state students was $24,174., while an out-of-state student paid a whopping $32,836 to attend Connecticut State University.
It quickly gets more confusing when you start looking at online degree program costs. A very few state schools charge no premium to out-of-state students. Colorado State University Global Campus is one. This school was one of the first public universities created for 100% online learning. It’s 2019-20 tuition and fees total about $8.400. per year for undergraduate student, regardless of whether they come from in-state or out-of-state.
But State University of New York (SUNY) programs are more typical of what you’ll find with a state university system. Full-time online students at SUNY pay a flat fee per annum. For New York State residents, it’s $6,870. a year. Out-of-state online students pay $8240. a year. State Universities, in general, remain one of the most affordable high-quality options in higher ed. But mind the fee gap! Your tuition may cost much more if you’re looking at a school out-of-state.
Cost of For-Profit Versus Nonprofit Online Schools
State universities are public institutions and, as such, they’re all nonprofits. But if you’re shopping for a 100% online degree, you’ll likely end up comparing more traditional private colleges do for-profits.
Private colleges like Georgetown University, Villanova and others tend to be older and have wide name recognition. But these schools are able to charge higher tuition fees because of their reputation. For profit schools are not necessarily more or less expensive than private ones. At American Intercontinental University, a large for-profit online school, the cost per credit is $325., meaning that the average 180 credit bachelor degree costs about $58,500. in total. You can easily pay far more than that at a private school. There’s no guarantee that either of these two types of schools will be the perfect choice for you. As you compare them, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of a private school’s reputation against the fact that a for-profit school with lots of adults in its student body will tend to focus heavily on career education, and may be a bit more aggressive in helping you find various types of financial aid than a private college.
How Many Degrees to Reach Your Final Goal?
Lastly, it helps if you can start (or re-start) you education with a clear vision of whether you need just one degree or multiple credentials to get hired in your chosen career. Business, in particular, is an area where it can be debatable whether you need only a business bachelor degree or an MBA for a good job. Education is an area where you almost always need a graduate degree to succeed, while nursing is a category where an MSN grad degree may only be needed if you want to move into certain roles. If you need both a bachelor’s and a master’s to get where you want to go, make sure to look at all possible options like accelerated degrees and combo or “bridge” degrees to get you finished quickly. The number of years it takes you to finish your education will have a massive effect on how much your total cost will be.
Schools Specializing In Online Degrees
Purdue University Global
A very large and well-known school with over 40,000 students on 11 campuses and in a large online degree program, and top quality accreditation. Offers a very wide range of degrees in:
– Criminal Justice
– Health Care
– Computer Technology
– Information Systems
– Legal Studies
Learn more about Purdue’s degree programs
San Diego, CA-based school, Ashford University offers a vast array of degrees online across the range from associate to bachelor and masters. Degrees available in:
– Business Management – BA & MBA in 19 different specialties
– Early Childhood Education
– Health Care Studies
– Homeland Security
– Sports Management
Get information on Ashford’s online programs
(Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001, www.wascsenior.org.) Certain degree programs may not be available in all states. For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit: http://ashforddisclosures.com.
Colorado Technical University
CTU is a large institution based on Colorado Springs with over 25,000 students. It has solid regional accreditation (the best kind) and has been ranked #1 Best for Vets in the category for online and non-traditional universities by Military Times Magazine.
Offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees online in
– Criminal Justice (multiple specialties)
– Project Management
– Information Systems (multiple specialties)
Learn more about Colorado Tech’s degree programs