How Much Should I Expect to Pay for my Online Education?

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For many students, the cost of education is one of the most important if not THE most important of considerations. But in almost every case, you’ll be studying so that you can eventually qualify a better paying job. It can seem like a vicious circle. Part of the dilemma is in knowing just how much can you afford to pay for your online education and how much you should pay.

The cost of any online program is going to be affected by a number of factors and those are what we hope to outline here.

The first and arguably the most important factor is the prestige, whether perceived or real, of the university itself. High prestige universities always cost more. In some cases they command more respect, and their name may actually leap right off of your resume. Some state affiliated universities can offer more affordable tuitions rates and still command considerable respect, but it’s usually not anywhere near the respect that a private school will offer. State residents usually get an even less expensive rate for tuition so you’ll want to look closely at the institutions in your state and the programs that they offer. Public schools or public affiliated schools are almost always less expensive but private institutions can often offer many attractive features that the state schools just can’t always match.

Another important factor that affects the cost of your education is the areas of specialization offered within a given college or online university. Technology and highly specialized or advanced courses do tend to be more expensive, and maybe obviously, the longer you continue studying, the more expensive it gets.

If you need a degree from a top rated school you should expect to pay a premium. Undergraduate tuition ranges from about $150 to $450 per credit hour, and most required classes will be between 2 and 3 credit hours. That could put a full semester of course work at more than $8,000. Advanced degrees can be still more expensive. Credits or units start at about $300 and range up to almost $700. Really exclusive schools can cost even more.

In every case though, once you are accepted, every school will be able to show you a really wide range of alternatives to help to cover the costs and to bring your ultimate, out of pocket cost way down. These can include grants and scholarships and low interest loans.

It’s important to realize that in most cases, the cost of online study is not always cheaper. As online learning continues to grow in popularity, as it does each year, it is actually becoming more expensive. Still, one of the reasons it is popular is that online students very often continue working full time. Online study doesn’t require any of the expenses involved with commuting or changing living the way that traditional university does. Students do end up saving a great deal of the cost of studying online, and for the great education you’re still receiving, that can be a tremendous help. In many cases, education just wouldn’t be affordable otherwise, but in your case, it comes down to closely examining what you are willing to pay, what you can afford, and your own dedication to seeing it through.

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