Distance learning has become a popular option in higher education, with colleges and universities spending big money to advertise their online degree programs across the Internet. Most ads for online colleges are aimed at adults and tout the stay-at-home feature of online college, but there are financial advantages to online colleges as well, which could make them a good option for students of traditional age.
Stay at Home and Save Dollars
Tuition at online colleges is generally not less than at brick and mortar schools; however, certain money saving features are built in with distance learning. No commuting means no money spent on gas or car maintenance. In addition, optional things that traditional college students are likely to purchase, such as clothing specifically for school, meals at restaurants or coffee shop purchases, are often eliminated.
Less Loans Needed
Federal financial aid is available to students of online colleges and universities just as it is to students of traditional brick and mortar colleges. As long as an online college has the proper regional accreditation, the federal government makes no distinction between online college students and traditional college students as far as financial aid is concerned. This means that online students still get an allowance for personal purchases included in their student loans. This includes things like clothing and meals, which are generally significantly less expensive for at-home college students. All student loans, of course, must be paid back eventually. An online student can use their personal loan allowance to more easily afford college-related purchases such as books, computers or general school supplies, or they can reduce the amount of their student loans by eliminating the personal allowance altogether, and then have less to pay back later.
Comparison Shop for Savings
One advantages to online colleges for potential students is that most colleges today have websites on which they clearly state their tuitions and fees. This makes it easier than ever before to comparison shop college costs. You can look for special savings, such as books covered in the cost of tuition. This is rare, but some colleges do offer this, so it pays to research several colleges and compare the total costs of a distance learning degree versus a campus-based degree program. If you can find a college that will cover your books, this will save you a tremendous amount of money as a student.
Graduate at Home, Too
Be careful to check out all the fees associated with enrolment and graduation. This is where college prices can differ greatly from school to school. For most online college graduates, graduation involves receiving their degree in the mail and not attending a graduation ceremony. Most colleges do allow online students to attend the graduation ceremony at their own expense, but without having physically shared classrooms with your classmates and instructors, most online graduates feel comfortable skipping the graduation ceremony, which is another expense avoided.