Is The Cost Of Online College Cheaper Than Traditional College?

Any individual who has attended college or has decided to go to college, must come to terms and fully understand that they will have to make very difficult decisions when it comes finances.

Colleges have drastically changed over the past couple of years. Colleges nowadays have changed the way they deliver their courses while, at the same time, significantly increasing their cost for attendance. These days, students entering college have more questions than answers about what college is really like and how it will impact their lives financially.

With more and more students deciding to take the classes that they need to further advance their career, one often wonders if leaving home to go live on a school campus would be worth the time and money.

With college degrees now being offered online, students have more options and of course, more questions: Is it actually worth it to study online? Do online college courses provide a better value for students? Would a student receive more of a value if they were studying in a classroom?

The Cost Of Attending College

To begin, let’s start with the basic expenses of attending a traditional college. When students are attending a more traditional college, they are required to physically attend classes in person on their campus. If they are commuting, then you are looking at transportation related expenses plus the cost of time.

As one would expect, living on campus generates more living expenses as well as additional fees. Rent as well as transportation fees back to one’s home (on breaks and or holidays) can be quite pricey. The cost will vary depending on how close or how far a student lives to the campus.

Transportation is also a fluctuating expense depending on the person and commuting distance. Transportation typically costs an average student about  $1,760 a year.

Transportation is also a fluctuating expense depending on the person and commuting distance. Transportation typically costs an average student about  $1,760 a year.

While taking online courses, one can live wherever and with whoever they wish while still being able to attend the necessary classes This is a great convenience for the student. They don’t have to leave the comfort of home, or even their bed.

As of the years 2018-2019, The National College Board (an organization dedicated to 6,000 worldwide colleges) estimates that the typical living expenses for a full time student attending any college during the academic year should range from $12,550 to $16,730 on a minimum budget.

The Value Of Convenience And Flexibility

Now what if a student gets a job or wishes to join the workforce? The task of scheduling would be easier if a student is taking an online class. Online classes typically are easier to “mold and bend” around whatever is most convenient for the student.

Traditional classroom schedules are created in favor of the colleges and their professors’ preferences take precedence over the students who may have to attend class. Colleges that operate solely on a campus must consider what times would be best for a professor to be available and teach an entire class.

Although commuting out to a job or work place is an unrelated expense, it saves quite an amount of money and time to be able to work around one’s work schedule. That can be a real game-changer when it comes to future expenses.

A recent study shows that in 2019, students are most likely to choose the schools that are least expensive compared to the schools that will meet their needs the best.

A recent study shows that in 2019, students are most likely to choose the schools that are least expensive compared to the schools that will meet their needs the best. Tuition in an online class also costs considerably less than a traditional college. Costs do vary from school to school so it is very important to do budget analysis.

Once the students are aware of all the known and unknown fees associated with online schooling, they can decide whether distance learning is the best path for their career.

Some online colleges such as At Walden University allow payment plans and offer benefits such as monthly, interest-free tuition payment. There are cases that if an employer sponsored program is being selected, certain schools will allow a delay of direct billing until the middle of the school year for convenience.

Software can be an additional expense in addition to credits per term. Some schools offer a tiered rate for technology fees.

There are online courses that also charge a fee for technology usages. Software can be an additional expense in addition to credits per term. Some schools offer a tiered rate for technology fees. At Penn State University, students who are taking more credits save money on tech fees over long term.

For example:

  • Less than 5 credits: $86
  • 5 to 8 credits: $189
  • 9 or more credits: $252

These fees typically cover technology improvement and available tech support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any student who needs it.

Traditional colleges typically charge tuition fees, book content, room and boarding, as well as registration and sign-up fees. The National College Board estimated that the average four-year, full time student at a public university spends about $1,100 a semester on books and other required course materials, which comes to about $8,800 for just a bachelor’s degree program.

Ultimately, an online college would save much more money and time compared to a traditional college. Just make sure to choose the college that is best suited to one’s career needs and goals, even if it’s not the traditional brick and mortar school.

Sources: CollegeBoard.org, Acct.org, and AffordableCollegesOnline.org

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