Online college tuition costs are established by individual colleges and universities. To ensure that you don’t overpay for undergraduate or graduate degrees compare tuition costs at colleges that administer distance learning programs. National reports like U.S. News and World Report’s annual college ranking guide can reduce the amount of time you spend researching schools and gathering pricing information.
As with brick and mortar based postsecondary schools, the costs of attending online colleges varies. However, there are some trends and consistent price factors that can help you determine how much it might cost you to attend an accredited online college. For example, College Board reports that during the 2011-2012 academic year, approximately 44 percent of college students spent less than $9,000 a year to pay for tuition and fees. This $9,000 represents the cost to attend a four-year college on a full-time basis.
Students who attended two-year colleges paid less than $3,000 a year for tuition and school fees. The cost of attending private, nonprofit colleges and universities was higher. It cost about $36,000 a year to attend these schools.
A good thing about online college tuition costs is that you generally are not charged higher tuition for being an out-of-state student. Brick and mortar schools charge as much as $4,000 a year for out-of-state students to take their classes than they charge in-state college students.
When figuring the amount of your online college expenses remember to factor in the cost of books and any fees to access the school’s private online portals. You generally won’t have to pay to receive support from academic advisors, enrollment counselors and career counselors. If you don’t have a reliable desktop computer or laptop factor add the amounts to buy this equipment into the overall costs of attending an online college as well.
Generally, online college tuition costs are comparable to classroom tuition prices. Additionally, tuition to attend online college courses may cover the costs of virtual tools (e.g. webinars, online telephone connections, college file share databases). Many accredited colleges also let you access their private virtual libraries for free after you pay tuition.
However, some distance learning programs charge a fee for you to access their virtual tools. Keep in mind that one of the leading ways you can get the most out of online college tuition costs is to stay connected to your academic advisor and career counselors. Participate in available internships, co-op programs and online and offline college career fairs before you graduate to increase your chances of getting hired post graduation.