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The Cost of an Online Degree

Aug 17, 2007
The cost of a college education is never considered cheap, no matter if you attend offline or online. However, online courses can be more expensive than their offline counterparts at times, as universities try to make up for the missed opportunity costs of parking on campus, room-and-board, textbooks, etc. Also, the level of your courses, whether it be for a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree will also determine the cost of the courses you take. The choice of university where you choose to attend online classes can also affect the cost of your education.

Online courses will sometimes be more expensive at universities that have better or more prestigious reputations than those that are not as well-known or well-recognized because employers look more favourably upon those graduates who have completed their degrees at universities that are more well-known or have more prestige.

Because of this, your current employer may be willing to reimburse you for all or part of your tuition, especially if the courses relate to your current occupational field and if you plan on staying at your current place of employment. In fact, 40% of students that are attending corporate training programs are having their employers pay for all of their tuition.

The cost per credit can vary greatly from university to university, some costing as little as $150/credit to as much as $500/credit. With a difference as much as $350/credit, the costs of taking a course at one university can greatly exceed the costs of taking a similar course at another university. Of course, you need to be aware of whether that cost is justified based on the reputations of the universities and the quality of the instruction at each, then decide whether the higher cost is worth it or not.

Consider also that tuition at for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University is usually less expensive than that at not-for-profit institutions like Saint Leo University and Lehigh University, BUT you might be eligible for in-state grants by attending a not-for-profit institution, whereas you wouldn't be eligible if you attend a for-profit institution.

Something else to consider when deciding between attending for-profit and not-for-profit institutions: For-profit institutions are considered more flexible scheduling-wise and more focused on job-specific curriculums than not-for-profit institutions, but not-for-profit institutions are more likely to be regionally accredited, transfer credits more easily, and are usually considered to have more name recognition and be considered more prestigious, which could help to make the difference when interviewing for a position with a company.

The difference in the costs of private colleges versus public colleges can also be substantial, due to the fact that private universities don't receive financial support from state and local governments like public universities do. Private institutions have to rely on tuition, fees, gifts, corporate contributions, and endowments. Public universities receive a large proportion of their budgets from state or local governments because they are government-run.

Besides the cost of the online courses themselves, you also have to take into consideration what you will need to complete these online courses, including a powerful enough computer and a stable Internet connection. High-speed Internet connections, which usually cost more than dial-up, may be advantageous to quickly download the course materials and be able to play back the video and audio lectures more fluidly without as many interruptions.

By considering all these factors, you can determine which university will provide you with the programs you wish to take and the benefits you wish to receive at the lowest possible cost.
About the Author
Bryan Wong is the owner of www.OneStopEducationSearch.com, a website that provides you a unique one-stop-search-service and high quality articles. Visit www.OneStopEducationSearch.com for great tips. Visit our giftshop and get an ebook on Time Management just for stopping by.
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