Online education provides many busy people with a flexible way to earn a degree while still working a full-time job. Even though this makes life easier in many aspects, it is still somewhat difficult for many people to pay for their online education. Before you take out a loan or fork over your life savings, consider these options to make your degree as cheap as possible:
Compare tuition – Online schools do not have a standard method for charging their students. Some offer a lump sum amount for a particular program, while others charge based on credit hours or courses. If the cost is per credit or course, check to see if you can transfer any credits you already have or if you can test out of some classes to save on your total cost. When you are considering a college, ask an advisor to provide you with a degree plan that maps out your coursework and timeframe.
- Check fees – Many schools charge a variety of fees in addition to tuition, many of which are for services you may not need. When you are comparing programs, make sure to get the details regarding all costs, including fees and book costs so you can get an accurate picture of which school provides the best value.
- Reimbursement – Many working professionals choose online schools to get an advanced degree that will help in their current career. If this is your plan, check with your employer for tuition reimbursement programs that can help you cut the costs of getting your degree.
- Scholarships and grants – While there are not as many grants and scholarships for online students as for traditional students, there are some available. Fill out your FAFSA to see if you are eligible for Pell Grants and other help before paying for your tuition. It is also a good idea to check into school-based and private scholarship and grant opportunities to see what type of aid is available to you.
- Loans – After you have exhausted every other avenue for school financial aid, check into student loans. Stafford loans are the best, so make sure you have exhausted all government loans available before looking for private college loans.
Costs can definitely add up when earning an online degree from an accredited school. The price is more than worth it, however, because your higher education will lead you to better job opportunities and higher earnings without sacrificing the income you already have.