Cheap Online Schools
Students searching for cheap online schools will discover that most online schools are actually cheaper to attend than “brick and mortar” colleges and universities. Online schools do not require the substantial overhead necessary to operate an educational institution consisting of several large buildings, student unions, dormitories and maintenance expenses. Also, because instructors working for online schools are afforded flexible schedules that allow them to teach less then 30 hours a week, they do not need paid as much as traditional university professors.
Textbooks and other course materials are also more affordable when attending online schools, especially since many distance learning courses allow students to access books, lectures and/or notes digitally for a much lower fee. With most textbooks costing over $100 each, students attending traditional colleges may spend $500 or more on books each semester. Although the opportunity to “sell” the books back to the college once the semester is over is available to students, the amount of money the school gives in return is often less than half of what the student originally paid for the book.
Tuition Costs and Degree Types
Depending on the field of study in which a student wishes to enroll, tuition costs may be higher or lower than average. For example, courses provided by online technical colleges are generally cheaper than courses offered by four-year cheap online schools. This is because vocational or associate’s degrees do not require a certain amount of liberal arts credits for the degree to be awarded. Instead, technical certifications or diplomas focus on the hands-on aspects of the job for which a student is preparing. As a result, the difference in tuition costs between a two year or less degree and a four year degree may be two to three thousand dollars. Visit www.tradeschool.com to learn more about vocational colleges.
Currently,College Board, a reputable educational organization reports that average tuition cost for attending a four-year, public college or university campus is around $7,500. For students attending an out of state college, the cost of tuition is less affordable, averaging $12,000 for non-residents. Community and/or technical colleges (two-year schools) charge about $2,700 per year. Taking classes at four-year, private universities will cost students an average of $30,000 per year.
Tuition costs charged by cheap online schools almost always average less than these figures. For students enrolled in a two-year accounting program, tuition may run between $3,000 and $5,000. If the student is eligible for a Pell Grant, he or she will be able to earn an associate’s degree without owing any money, since the amount of a Pell Grant provided by the Department of Education is currently at $5,200.
Students desiring a bachelor’s degree in fields such as psychology, social work or English will need to take certain liberal arts classes to fulfill credit requirements involved in B.A. or B.S. Degrees. Needing to take these classes increases the cost of tuition at both online and traditional colleges but tuition prices advertised at online schools remain more affordable.
Financial Benefits of Enrolling in an Online School
When taking courses online, students do not need to pay for gas or vehicle repairs due to driving back and forth to a college. All traditional colleges charge commuters for using their parking lots each semester, which can cost students nearly $100 a year. Additionally, taking classes at home means students do not need to spend money on purchasing lunch at the student union or local fast food places often located around universities. Being able to eat at home can potentially save students hundreds of dollars a year as well. Further, students choosing to live on campus in a dormitory or apartment will have to pay several thousand dollars more each year along with tuition and textbook costs.
Of course the biggest advantage of taking online courses is the fact that they are extremely flexible and allow students to enroll in a full-time program while also working. Because students do not need to be in classes at specific times, they can work any shift on any day of the week and complete assignments in their spare time. In addition, online schools understand that the majority of their students work either part-time or full-time and will try to accommodate a student’s schedule in any way possible.
Many cheap online schools offer scholarships to students who exhibit financial need. Scholarships are lump sums of money awarded to students based on a number of criteria, such as a student’s athletic or academic ability, involvement in extracurricular and/or community activities and field of study chosen by the student (career-specific scholarships). Applying for scholarships involves students filling out appropriate forms and writing a short essay describing the student’s goals and why he or she would benefit from receiving the scholarship.
Scholarships are vital to students who are not eligible to receive Pell Grants because they offer a way to defray tuition costs. Before enrolling in an online school, ask your adviser whether the school offers scholarships for which you may apply.
Finding Cheap Online Schools
Before conducting a search regarding online schools, students need to decide in what field of study they wish to earn a degree or certification. With hundreds of online schools offering hundreds of different degree programs, narrowing down your search to two or three specific programs will facilitate finding an affordable online school.
For example, students primarily interested in obtaining a business degree first and an accounting degree second should initially search for online schools offering business degrees and keep track of each school’s tuition rates. Following completion of that task, searching for online schools providing accounting degrees and noting their tuition rates is recommended as a way to compare which program is more affordable. Later, students can compare both degree tuition rates and decide what they wish to do as far as pursuing a program.
If an online school offers accounting degrees at a much lower cost than business degrees provided by other online schools, a student may opt for his second choice in order to save money but still earn a degree in something he is interested. Calling representatives of online schools and discussing degree options may also assist students in coming to a decision regarding their education as well as the stability of their future financial condition.