Is an online degree cheaper than one procured by attending physical classes? This is the first question that is certain to come to your mind while contemplating taking up a degree course. Well, an online degree course, such as an online MBA program, is certainly cheaper than its classroom counterpart, but it also doesn’t come cheap.
A survey conducted by the Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research in 2018, found 86% of students who have taken up online degree considered the value of this program equaled or exceeded the cost incurred on the program.
Despite this, if you can save money, you must. We tell you how…
Ways to reduce cost
#1 Tuition reimbursement by employer
If you are a full-time employee and are aspiring to move up the career by enrolling in online programs, you can always approach your employer for help. Gone are the days when employers treated online learning with caution. Today, they are more than willing to finance your education in the hope that their investment will pay dividends.
#2 Scholarships support
If you thought that scholarships are awarded only to students on campus, think again. Many online schools offer scholarships directly to students. Scholarships, in such cases, can be both need-based and merit-based depending upon the school. However, it is better to check with the online school whether these scholarships are available to both full-time and part-time students or only to full-time ones.
#3 Opt for an accredited school
If you opt for an accredited school, you have a chance to avail federal financial aid. This is because an accrediting agency federally recognizes an accredited school. For this, you will need to check out Federal School Code Search and Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, both of the Department of Education. Although even non-accredited schools also offer loans for degree programs, these are sourced from private lenders who charge higher interest rates with less favorable terms and reduced protections.
#4 Federal versus private student loans
Although federal student loans come with lower interest rates and friendly terms, as compared to private student loans, not all private loans are bad. There are ones that not only come with lower interest rates and allow you to change your repayment plan but also allows you to apply for loan forgiveness. It is essential to use your discretion in choosing the amount of loan. Take only the bare minimum loan after considering financial assistance from grants, scholarships and other monetary aid.
#5 Take exams to cut down on the cost
If you are proficient in your subject areas, there are national tests to earn credits. One such exam is the College-level Examination Program. If you pass it and pay a fee of $87, you will receive college credit from those institutions that accept this exam. Another is the DSST, a standardized exam that tests what you have acquired outside the classroom. However, such exams are no cakewalk and require rigorous preparation, so they should not be taken lightly.
#6 Opt for massive open online courses (MOOC)
MOOC is now being adopted by an increasing number of schools to offer online degree courses at significantly lower costs. This has been made possible by companies, such as Coursera and edX, offering MOOC, in collaboration with universities. Although MOOCs can be audited for free, with a fee, you can receive a certificate of completion. Some even offer college credit. This can also be turned into full degree programs at a lower overall cost. However, the costs may vary widely.
#7 Take advantage of past credits
For some online education programs, the institution charges a lump sum, but in some instances, they charge by the course or credit hour. If you have previous college credits or work experience or even life experience, you may reduce your tuition cost by applying these to your program.
Getting an online degree, especially an MBA degree opens many job avenues. However, the prohibitive cost of such degrees deters many from enrolling in it. The key is to seek ways to cut corners to make the degree course fit your pocket.