Is an Online Program Less Expensive than a Traditional Program?

Online Program CostsIf you’re wondering if an online program less expensive than a traditional program, you’re probably wisely planning how to limit the amount of debt you take on as a student. Online universities offer students the flexibility to learn at their own pace and take classes around a work schedule while still having time left over for a personal life. This format usually appeals to non-traditional students who have already entered their careers and want to continue their education to create better opportunities for themselves.

Online Education Options

Many colleges offer online classes, and depending on the degree you want to get, you may be able to find a very reasonably priced school offering your degree. Not all degrees are offered online, however, and the types of schools that most people associate with online learning are usually for-profit universities that charge quite a bit more than public universities. Not all online colleges are for-profit schools, though, and before enrolling, it’s a good idea to find out if the school you’re applying to is a public school or for-profit university.

It’s usually easy for students to be approved for financial aid through the federal Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs, and these loans are available for any student who has financial need and is attending an accredited university, according to the US Department of Education. These student aid programs offer more than enough funding to complete a bachelor’s degree at an expensive, for-profit school, but it would be better to pay half as much or less for a degree from a public university.

Most colleges have a large selection of online classes available, and it’s usually possible to complete your first two years at a brick-and-mortar college entirely online. Two-year degrees are very popular among adult learners, and getting an associate’s degree from a public college can cost about one quarter as much as getting one from a for-profit online school. Community colleges usually offer most of their classes online, but students usually have to visit the campus to take exams several times per semester. It might be worth the effort of adjusting your schedule to take as many online classes from a public college as possible to pay the lower tuition.

Student Debt Burden

Most students who go to for-profit online universities end up withdrawing from their programs without getting a degree. This statistic could simply have to do with the hectic schedules of most of the people enrolling in these schools, but it might also have to do with the high costs of these programs. More than one fifth of students who enroll in for-profit colleges default on their student debt, which is a serious financial setback that can have repercussions for decades.

It would be better not to go to school at all than to drop out without a degree and have $30,000 in debt. When a student loan goes into default, the full balance is due immediately, and the borrower’s wages can be garnished. However, there are loan repayment plans based on financial need that allow borrowers to make payments according to how much money they make.

Related Resource: Program Accreditation

As the economy changes and certain types of jobs become obsolete, getting a college degree becomes more and more important. When asking, “Is an online program less expensive than a traditional program,” it helps to include online classes offered by brick-and-mortar colleges in your search.