How Much Do Online Colleges Typically Cost?
Would you like to attend college and earn a degree from home, without having to keep to a strict daily school schedule? Do you need to work while you go to school? If so, an online college education might be the way to go. There are various costs involved with going to college, and many things to consider when estimating the overall cost of your online education. Keep reading for more information.
Overview of Online College Costs
According to U.S. News & World Report, online program costs can be affected in a number of ways. For example, some online programs award credit for life experience or previous college coursework, thereby relieving you of certain credit hours you might otherwise have to pay for in a traditional school (www.usnews.com). On the other hand, U.S. News reported a survey from Babson Survey Research Group that found that traditional sources of funding for college, like scholarships, are less likely to be available to online students.
The Babson survey also found that tuition and fees for online students are usually the same as for on-campus students. Schools may have different methods of charging tuition which, while not affecting the total costs, can affect the amount of money you pay at any given time. Traditionally, attending a college outside of your state of residence costs more than attending a school inside your state of residence. This is not always the case, but it is something to consider when trying to determine the overall cost of going to school.
When you attend an online college, you are not just charged tuition. Extra costs and fees can add up and increase the overall cost of an online education. In an online program, you need to have access to a computer with an Internet connection. You may also be charged extra for shipping your books to your home and for software programs that you need for certain classes.
Benefits That Offset Costs
Despite the additional costs associated with attending an online college, you may actually save money in the long term due to other aspects of this type of course delivery. Going to college online allows you to have more control over the indirect costs associated with college. For example, online education is flexible and therefore, you can continue working while attending classes instead of having to cut back your work hours or stop working completely. You can also save money by not having to commute back and forth to the campus for classes.
If you're lucky enough to be able to live with your parents, you may be able to save a substantial amount of money by avoiding a dorm or other expensive on-campus housing. According to the College Board in March 2011, the average expenses for room and board for full-time, in-state, undergraduate students at 4-year colleges for the 2011-2012 school year came to $7,410 (www.collegeboard.org).