Is it Cheaper to Get a Degree Online than On Campus?

is it cheaper to get a degree onlineEarning a college degree can be expensive, so many people wonder if it is cheaper to get a degree online than at a traditional campus. At a brick and mortar school, not only must you cover the rising cost of tuition, you must also purchase textbooks, school supplies, and pay for your living expenses on a limited salary when you have a rigid class schedule. If you are serious about applying to attend college, it is important to consider the costs of earning your degree so that you can select the program where you will get in the least amount of debt.

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While earning a degree is very important because of today’s competitive job market, studies show that the average college graduate in 2013 racked up $35,200 in college-related debt. If you want your debt to be much lower than the reported average, it is in your best interest to choose an affordable route that will give you a quality education. While there are both affordable and expensive traditional programs, many prospective students are wondering if earning a degree online is cheaper. Read on and learn what you need to know about the cost of an online degree compared the cost of a traditional degree.

Know the Benchmarks in Tuition Fees

There is a common assumption that, like online shopping, the prices set for tuition to an online college are lower than traditional tuition rates. While this is true in some cases, it is not always the case. You must take time to compare different benchmarks in national pricing of tuition fees before you can really determine which type of school setting is cheaper for you.

Tuition fees vary from school to school, but the College Board conducts annual surveys to accumulate data and average the fees. In 2013, the survey revealed that the average cost of tuition at a public 4-year college is $8,893 per year. The average for a private 4-year college is $30,094. While this study does not include the tuition charges for online colleges, you can use these averages as you are retrieving online tuition quotes to see where you are likely to pay less to attend.

Looking Past the Cost of Tuition

The published tuition and fees of both public and private institutions are on the rise. Within the past 5 years, fees have gone up by an average of 14%. With this being said, online tuition fees often tend to go up throughout the years as overhead costs rise. You must look past the cost of tuition to consider the actual cost of obtaining your degree. When you attend school on-campus, you must find a schedule that meets your rigid work schedule.

Often, students must work part-time rather than full-time while going to a traditional college. An online student may be more capable of balancing a school schedule and a full-time work schedule so that they can finance less of their tuition and college expenses. In this aspect, online degrees can be cheaper in the long run. If the online college offers lectures and electronic lesson plans, you may be able to eliminate text book expenses which can tally up over a 4 year span.

When you ask whether an online degree is cheaper than a traditional degree the answer is not always clear cut. You can find affordable traditional degrees and affordable online degrees, but tuition fees can range. And, don’t forget about scholarships and other types of financial aid. You have to consider all of the costs of attending school and the opportunity costs as well to make the final decision about whether or not it is cheaper to get a degree online.