Cut Online Degree Cost & Increase Online College Affordability
Your online education doesn't have to cost a fortune; affordable online degrees DO EXIST.
Online university costs range widely, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $100,000-plus. And, many cheap online degrees offer the same quality as a more expensive college degree. Some colleges even offer free classes online.
Cutting the cost of online degrees can be a daunting task and that is why we've done it for you here at GetEducated. Our tips and tricks will help increase online college affordability, get you ahead professionally, and ensure you earn a high quality online degree.
Thanks to online learning, you don’t need to leave your job or change work shifts to earn a degree. But even going to college online presents that age-old challenge: how to pay for it.
Employers want to pay for your classes—or at least career advice websites are constantly telling you this. But the realities of persuading your boss to pony up for a tuition assistance program for an online degree can be sticky.
Lots of mega-corporations offer tuition assistance programs for college among their smorgasbord of benefits. Yet, even big firms can have stingy track records when it comes to actually paying out.
Smaller companies may have modest tuition assistance plans, or none at all, but that doesn't mean it's out of the question to ask.
Below, we've compiled five tips to help you beg your boss for college cash if you have no formal tuition assistance program (TAP). These tips are perfect if you work for a small company or if your company has no formal reimbursement program.
Online universities, unlike traditional colleges, don't need to pay for buildings, so they should represent a fairly cheap online degree alternative, right?
Some online degree programs are, in fact, more expensive than traditional schools—but in this age of rising college costs some distance universities are deliberately misleading students into believing they offer the cheapest online degree.
Here are six online university cost tricks and scams you may encounter in comparing online degree programs. Don't be fooled by them!
Looking to save money on online college costs and cut the expense of online education? You may be able to deduct some—or all—of what you spend on distance learning from your income tax bill by using education tax deductions.
Tax deductions are a great form of financial aid. Tax deductions are subtracted from your total taxable income. They may reduce what you owe the IRS by putting you in a lower income category.
Uncle Sam is helping online students with a host of tax credits—including an education tax credit as part of the federal stimulus program.
These popular tax credits save you money on online education tuition and fees by cutting the amount of income tax you owe.
As you work through your 1040 or 1040EZ form and calculate your adjusted gross income, you will see what your tax is based on the chart the IRS provides. You can subtract your tax credit directly from your tax bill, reducing the amount you must pay the government.
For example, if you look up your adjusted gross income in the tax chart and find that you owe $4,000, and you qualify for $2,500 in education tax credits, you can subtract $2,500 from $4,000—meaning you will only owe the government the difference ($1,500).
Need tuition money to attend an online school? Check with your employer.
Many companies have tuition assistance benefits that cover at least part of the cost for online college education. Some even pay for your children and spouse to get educated.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 63 percent of companies offered undergraduate educational assistance and almost as many—59 percent—also covered graduate education.
The number of employers offering these benefits has dropped slightly over the past few years and some companies plan to discontinue or reduce such benefits next year.
Still, it's worth your while to check to see if your company provides educational assistance.
You can literally cut thousands off your college costs by using online education instead of going back to a traditional campus.
Here's how you can cut costby letting an online university come to you:
1) No dorm fees or high apartment rents
By studying from home, you’ll avoid all college room and board fees. Cost savings can be substantial, especially if you live in an area where apartment rents are lower than the rents typically charged in residential college towns. If you live with your parents or with a significant other you’ll save even more.
By not living on a traditional campus, but instead living in an apartment or with family, you can save an average of $10,000 annually, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
I’m searching for an affordable online bachelors in business or management. But no two online colleges cost the same amount for this degree. One university can charge $50,000 more for what looks like the same distance degree to me. How do I compare online education cost? Is an expensive online degree better than a cheap online degree?
—Rayette, Boise, Idaho
There is no relationship between cost and quality in online education. Paying more for your online college program won’t get you “more” of an education, nor will it necessarily buy you the best online degree in terms of educational quality. The cost—and therefore affordability—of any online degree is a function of four factors.
It may surprise you to learn that none of these factors is correlated with quality. In fact, cheap online degrees usually come from public universities that have residential campuses which are heavily underwritten by your tax dollars. While distance degrees from public and state universities are cheaper in cost they are at the same time seen as trustworthy educators in the eyes of many local employers.
I attended college 12 years ago. I completed three years of my four-year bachelor's degree in business. Then I dropped out. Can I transfer these old courses toward online degree completion now? What should I look for in an online school to make sure I choose the most affordable and fastest route to degree completion online? —Tom in Maryland
Yes, you can complete that degree online. Online programs will accept your old college credits in transfer toward a new online degree.
In fact, the vast majority of online bachelor's degree programs are degree completion programs. Degree completion programs assume students have already completed at least two years of college, an associate's degree or its equivalent. Since this is true in your case, many online degree programs are tailor-made for your situation.
However, not all online degree completion options will grant you the same amount of transfer credits.
Follow our tips to find the fastest route to online degree completion.
Don Holcomb needed help. The 55-year-old Phoenix engineer couldn’t figure out how to finish testing his invention—a solar-powered cooling system—despite a PhD in industrial engineering.
So, Holcomb decided to look for an online course. He ended up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT is the pioneer of the Open Courseware movement, which places professors’ lectures (via video, audio, slides or text) into the public sphere for anyone to view. That's right: free online classes from MIT.
Holcomb took a free continuing education course online in chemical engineering processes, which helped him figure out how to proceed with testing his invention.
“Hearing it from the teacher and hearing his emphasis adds a lot to the learning experience,” says Holcomb. “You don’t get that out of just reading textbooks.”
Life experience degree programs are available at most accredited online colleges today. Using them can help you earn your distance degree more quickly—and at considerable cost savings.
Why have most online universities developed life experience college credit assessment programs? Today, the majority of "college kids" are 24 years old or older. In online bachelors degree programs, the average “college kid” is an adult student, about 36 years old. The average online masters degree student is 40 years old.
If you’re an adult “college kid," chances are excellent that you’ve acquired specialized college level knowledge on the job for your career—or through independent reading or hobbies. Your life experience and work experience—corporate training, professional licenses, etc.—can be converted into real college degree credits.
Valid credit for life experience degree programs can make an online degree much more affordable. Here are five ways to turn what you've learned in life and work experience into valid online college course credit.
“Help! I called an online school to ask about their degree program in healthcare and now they won’t stop calling me. They’ve called like five times this week. Now they have my cell number and want me to sign student loan papers. I feel like I’m being harassed by a bill collector.”
Potential Online Student
Students often complain to us that they’re getting a hard sell from admissions reps at for-profit online colleges and schools. We’re not surprised. Over the last few years, several class-action suits have found for-profit schools guilty of employing aggressive and misleading tactics to rush online students toward enrollment.
Under scrutiny, many for-profit online universities have cleaned up their acts. But a select few still use hard-sell tactics to lure students especially when it comes to getting students to sign loan paperwork.
Enroll for two online courses, each requiring one textbook, and you’re instantly out $300. Take 30 online courses to earn your associate degree and watch your bank account dwindle by $4,500. And if you're taking courses in specialty areas, such as accounting, count on spending even more.
Taking steps to slash your college textbook costs can literally cut thousands off the total cost of your online education. Unlike a decade ago, students today have multiple options for getting college textbooks online, including the option of downloading some free textbooks or frequenting cheap online shopping sites.
Get Educated's editors went shopping online to find the best free and cheap online textbook deals.
The Get Educated consumer reporting team has uncovered some shocking news about online master's degree cost statistics.
Many public and state universities have begun offering the same master's degrees online as they've offered for decades on-campus. But buyer beware—a few are charging up to two times more for the convenience of online course delivery.
Compare Online Graduate School Costs
Increasingly, if you are considering an online graduate degree, the very same program may be available as a traditional residential degree and in an online learning format.
Many public and state universities, suffering from declining tax support, have begun charging higher tuition and fees for the convenience of online education.
If your state university is offering online masters or doctorate degrees, compare tuition and fee schedules before you enroll. Doing so could save you thousands on your graduate school education.
I’m searching for an online bachelor’s in business or management. But no two online colleges charge the same cost for this degree. One school can charge $50,000 more for what looks like the very same distance degree to me. Is an expensive online college better than a cheap one?
—Rayette, Boise, Idaho
There is no relationship between cost and quality in online education. Paying more won’t get you “more” of an education, nor will it necessarily buy you an academically better degree. The cost—and therefore affordability—of any online degree is a function of four factors. It may surprise you to learn that none of these is correlated with educational quality.
I attended college twelve years ago and dropped out. I finished three years of college toward my four-year bachelor’s degree in business. Can I transfer all these old credits toward a new online degree?
Your old course credits will have to "fit" into any new college's degree structure. Because no two colleges have identical degree requirements, the transfer process rarely results in a perfect fit.
But you’re smart to ask about transfer credits. Losing credits in transfer is like losing your wallet. If you paid $150 per credit for your old courses—a modest price—and you lose fifteen credits when you transfer to a new college, you’ve lost $2,250.
Five issues can affect your transfer credit standing. Before you enroll in any online college scrutinize each school’s policies on these issues.
An online masters degree can cost as little as $5,500, or up to $33,000.
Research by Get Educated highlights the top things to look for in finding an affordable masters degree online. A quick view of this video buyer’s guide will help you Get Educated online without going broke.
The price you pay for your online masters degree will depend, first of all, on your chosen major.
Be a sleuth before spending money on your masters degree. Use this guide to suss out an online school that will give you a top education without leaving you drowning in debt.
You found it – the only comprehensive, genuine, data-driven list of the cheapest online colleges for bachelor degrees in the USA.
We applaud your research skills.
The online learning steals and deals team at Get Educated researched and compared the sticker prices of 683 regionally accredited online bachelor degrees. We then compiled this special list of the cheapest online bachelor degrees just for you, the cost-shy consumer.