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7 Ways You Can Save Thousands by Getting an Online College Degree

Cut Cost with an Online University Degree


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 cost by letting an online university come to you:

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.


By taking online classes or courses, you won’t spend money commuting to a campus. You don’t have to buy gas or pay public transportation fares. You’ll avoid parking fees and road tolls. You won’t put as many miles on your vehicle, saving maintenance costs (such as new brakes or more frequent oil changes).

As an example, let’s say you have a car that gets 25 miles per gallon, and you commute to a school that’s 50 miles away. If you have classes four days per week, you will travel 400 miles (100 miles round-trip each day of class). This means you will burn 16 gallons of gas. If gas costs $2.50 per gallon, you spend $32.80 per week of class—on gas alone. That’s about $130 per month.

If you drive to school for nine months each year, after four years that’s a savings of $4,700 in gas costs alone.

Many online degree programs are accelerated. This means they offer shorter semesters or study terms. Most accelerated degree programs offer 8-week terms rather than 12- or 16-week terms.

Accelerated programs let you earn your online degree more quickly. The faster you graduate, the sooner you’ll be able to use your degree to qualify for better jobs and pay raises.

Chop a year off a four-year bachelor’s degree, and you can save an average of $7,000 in tuition and fees (the national average for one year of tuition at a four-year public institution in 2009, according to the College Board).

If you are the parent of a young child, you will need to arrange childcare in order to attend classes. This might mean hiring a babysitter or placing your child in a daycare facility. Similarly, if you’re an adult learner, and the caregiver for an elderly parent, you may need to hire others to cover your care-giving duties while you’re at class.

Distance learning eliminates these student costs.

By going to school online, you vastly increase your choices and are more able to find bargains. You can consider any school in the country that offers your particular degree program online. You can comparison shop and find more schools at lower cost levels by considering online education.’s online college affordability rankings compare the cost of the same degree at many colleges across the nation. If you compare costs nationwide you may find your cheapest online degree at a state college or university right down the road from you or in a lower cost region of the country, such as the South or the Midwest.

Say you live in Texas and want to earn a distance MBA (masters in business administration). The University of Texas at Dallas offers a high quality, top MBA for $31,000 for residents. However, you can get an even less expensive masters in business (MBA) online at Western Kentucky University—even though you are a non-resident—for only $12,360, a cost savings of nearly $19,000. Both degrees are AACSB-accredited, the highest form of accreditation for business programs.

Some colleges charge less for the very same courses if they are taught online rather than on campus.

For example, starting with the January 2010 semester, Saint Leo University in Florida is giving a 10 percent tuition cut to online undergraduate students.

CONSUMER TIP: Some colleges charge MORE for online courses by adding distance education and technology fees. Always verify fees before signing up for online courses.


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