While some costs of going to an online college will most likely be the same as going to a traditional school you are potentially going to save when it comes to travel and housing. Keep in mind that most universities charge on a per credit basis and typically drop prices after a certain credit enrollment is met. There is usually an ideal zone for getting the most out of your money. However, there is also a little matter of time to consider when piling on the credits for greater bargains.

The New York Times reported back in 2008 that “college tuition and fees increased 439% from 1982 to 2007, while the median family income rose 147%” (prices not changed to account for inflation). It’s not gotten any better in the US. In fact, prices for tuition in my state have gone up at a sickening pace over the last decade.

Here are some 2009 numbers drawn from Online Education for Dummies for a 3 credit course in accounting:

  • One private online college charged $460 per credit hour or $1380 in all
  • That same class at a public college was near $283 for in-staters and about $848 for out of state students.
  • In the Midwest one two-year community college offered this course online for only $85 per credit hour for in-state & in-district students and about $290 for out-of-state, out-of-district students.

Examine your local options in addition to good name online colleges because they are sometimes cheaper for the same course. Of course examining the quality of the instruction may be valuable too, especially when it comes to an accounting class. Some teachers have the ability to bring a subject to likfe while others seem to complicate it to no end. Don’t sacrifice quality for money. Whatever’s going to help you learn best is what you’re going to need.

Tuition can vary depending on your location (and remember that in-state often has a specific definition, not that you just reside there, but some schools require that you’ve lived in state for a time, some as much as 3 years before being considered for in state tuition), but you’ll want to calculate all the money you’ll be saving by taking an online course. Remember to include travel expenses, cost of living (such as housing, groceries & entertainment), books (which can be the same, unless your entire curriculum is presented online, but you’ll still typically have to pay for books), fees (you may save here for going online because your institution may drop fees for services that you won’t needing. Make sure to ask for a breakdown of fees).

So, all in all, school is not cheap. There are many expenses incurred in providing a quality education for you. Don’t take it for granted and start saving your pennies now, so when the time comes you’ll be able to afford school without going into debt or getting a hand me out from Uncle Sam. Best of luck meeting your online college costs!

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