Are Online Degrees Cheaper than Traditional Colleges?

online degrees

More and more degree aspirants are inclined towards online learning for reasons such as convenience and hassles of traveling up and down from a campus based institution.

That said, the biggest hurdle in the way of a prospective student is the difference of cost between online and traditional education. In general, though exceptions in schools exist because of pricing  structure, online learning is more affordable than the traditional brick and mortar school for the following reasons:

Traditional college costs

Traditional colleges need a dedicated campus to operate from. This should essentially consist of academic buildings, sports fields, faculty offices and other amenities which enhance the college going experience.

Offering all the above programs require a significant amount of expenditure, which is ultimately passed on to the pupil in the tution fees. In addition, schools vie with each other to offer more and more amenities resulting in fierce competition which is reflected in excess operational costs.

Younger students normally thrive in support based environments as it helps them guide through the time spent while in an institution. Traditional schools even go to the extent of providing financial aid, which makes the course much cheaper than the advertised price. 

This may make traditional education affordable, provided you are conservant with overall cost after discussing the options with the financial aid officer.

Online college costs

Since low overheads are needed to run online programs, the quality of education can be significantly better than the traditional method of teaching. 

Moreover, not only tuition fees tend to be on the lower side, additional expenses such as transportation and purchasing of course materials are eliminated in an online program. Plus you can easily access all sorts of degrees and accredited masters programs online. 

People, however, should not assume that online education is inexpensive as a good institution may not offer financial aid as a campus-based college does. But despite this, the flexibility and accelerated courses can complete your online education degree program in less time and by paying much less.

Comparing the two

To assess the difference in costs, students should contact the financial aid offices of the schools they wish to enroll in to get an idea of the average cost per semester and do a final dollar comparison.

Hidden costs such as access to technology, online libraries, student activity fees must be factored as all these add up to the cost of education very quickly.

Ultimately, tuition fees, which represent the highest cost, will determine how much you pay for your degree. The factors to be considered are:

  • Where you study
  • Chosen course
  • Type of degree, whether graduate or post graduate
  • Duration of the course

Final say

Keeping the above findings in mind, the question is are online degrees cheaper! Well, the answer is you should expect to pay less for off-campus education as these universities use fewer staff and resources. Still, the win for an online degree is a narrow one. While these are cheaper, it ultimately boils down to where and what you want to pursue in the academic field.

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