How Much Does Tuition Cost at an Accredited Online University?

Determining the tuition cost at an accredited, online university involves considering all the involved factors. You can look at the variances in tuition costs that might affect you, consider the financial aid options and think about the money that could possibly be saved by going to an online school.

Accredited Online University Tuition: An Overview

According to a 2012 article by U.S. News & World Report, a Babson Survey Research Group study reported that tuition costs for online and traditional degree programs were comparable. However, online programs don't always charge for tuition in the same way. Schools may charge a lump sum for a program or may charge by credit hour. The College Board reported in 2016 that in-state students at 4-year public schools paid about $9,139 or less, including fees and tuition, while students at private 4-year schools paid over $31,231. The average cost of a 2-year college was $3,347 for in-state students.

Important Facts About Online Universities

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees available
Prerequisites Varies, depending upon intended program of enrollment; associate and bachelor degree programs typically require a high school diploma, or equivalent
Concentrations Environmental sciences, English, history, information technologies, sociology, public health, psychology, finance, accounting, fashion merchandising and management
Possible Careers Editor, cost estimator, budget analyst, interior designer, graphic designer, technical writer, teacher, engineer, health educator

Potential Costs for Online Students

Additionally, it's common for schools to charge more for students whose permanent address is out of state than for those who are in-state residents. Since you are attending online, you may not even consider noting the school's location when making your final decision on what college to attend, but this is something not to overlook.

Another cost that may be included in an online education is shipping on books. In a traditional setting, you can buy your books at the school bookstore, but in an online setting, you may not be able to physical go to the school's bookstore and therefore would need to have the books shipped to your home. You may also have to purchase a computer, pay for Internet access and pay fees for software programs you may need for some classes.

Financial Aid Factors

At an accredited online school, you'll be able to qualify for the same financial aid that is available to traditional students. However, if you attend a school outside your home state, some aid, such as state funding, may not be available to you. You also have the option of securing student loans or applying for grants and scholarships to help cover college costs. According to U.S. News & World Report, scholarships tend to be available less frequently to online learners than traditional learners.

Potential Savings

Going to college online may allow you to save money on some traditional college expenses. For example, due to the flexibility of online programs, you can attend classes whenever and wherever you want, so you can easily continue to work your regular schedule while you are in school. You also don't have to pay for on-campus housing or meal plans.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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