I have attended college in both the traditional classroom and in the online platform environment. In 2010, I completed my MBA through Ashford University’s online campus program. In 2012, I started attending Northcentral University online for my PhD until I nearly ran out of funds available from financial aid. Now I am stuck with only a handful of courses completed towards my PhD and I do not have the money to complete them. Sadly, I failed to realize until now just how much money I have been wasting while earning my college degrees. My advice to you is not to make the same $138,500 mistake that I am dealing with now!
Online schools are great for those that simply have no possible opportunity to attend a typical brick and mortar school to earn their college degree. As a student and investor of your future, you need to do a little homework to realize how much this convenience truly costs before venturing onward with the program of your dreams. Despite being much easier to qualify for, most online schools are either regionally or nationally accredited. Having a regional accreditation is important. In my research, nearly every classroom based college was regionally accredited. One small detail many schools fail to point out to eager enrollees is just different the tuition rates are for their online programs are from the traditional format.
I earned my Associate’s degree from Central Florida Community College in 2004. As of 2013, their current tuition rate for their Bachelor’s program is $100.50 per credit hour. When I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Ashford University, I was paying in excess of $500.00 per credit hour for the same degree! That is five times the cost for the same education had I decided to get out of the house and sit in a classroom. When I was enrolled at Northcentral University in 2013 I was paying over $2,500 per class for my PhD program online. Last week I learned that I could be sitting in a classroom at West Virginia University earning my PhD and being paid by the school to earn my degree while gaining invaluable experience working less than 20 hours a week for my professors as an assistant! Even if I had to pay out of pocket (or financial aid), it would only cost me around $925 per class to attend. That is one third what I was wasting in attending online for a degree I cannot afford to complete.
The reality is that this pricing concept is very similar in almost every online college program offered today. These schools are easier to get into that the classroom schools, yet they are not as impressive on your resume as the brick and mortar schools in most cases. In the meanwhile you can expect to pay anywhere from three to ten times the cost of tuition to attend online versus in class and not get the support you would find sitting in the classroom a few hours a week. When you are done with your education (or when you stop attending after running out of money) you are expected to repay these loans, which you rather have to pay back in a few years…$25,000 for your AS through Masters attending in the classroom or over $120,000 for the same degree? Choose wisely, if there is any way you can attend college locally, I highly recommend it. Had I known ten years ago where I would be financially today, I would have been sitting in those classrooms every week happily. Good luck with your educational futures!