According to online learning surveys conducted by the Online Learning Consortium, more than 6 million people enrolled in at least one online course in 2010 and that number has been growing exponentially over the years.
For the average American student, money is one of the most common priorities in this decision. Nearly 70 percent of graduates in the class of 2011 actually left school with debt averaging $26,000. This debt puts pressure on grads to find work quickly and pay back loans, sometimes leading them to compete for jobs for which they are overqualified.
Smart budgeting and careful financial planning can significantly offset the cost of going to school; this directory of affordable colleges is designed to help you in that planning.
Tips for Saving Money on Tuition
Less Expensive Online Colleges vs. Diploma Mills
Things to Consider When Choosing a School
- Accreditation: Read through the Accreditation Guide and then be sure that the program you choose is accredited. In addition, check the accreditation status of the institution. This is a critical step in planning your education. If you have concerns or questions, such as a recent accreditation or loss of one, contact the accrediting bodies for help.
- Faculty: Look into the professors – Do they hold graduate degrees? Have they done research or significant work in the area you want to study? You should be able to research faculty members’ credentials online. If you are unable to find much information, contact the program or institution and ask to see a curriculum vita which should include a faculty member’s degree information and additional aspects of their professional credentials.
Best Price at the Best Match
If you take the time to do your homework carefully, you can significantly reduce the cost of college. You may need to choose to take a little longer to complete your degree, take courses at more than one institution, take combination of online and in-person courses, or scour local, national and international resources for scholarships, but you can find ways to make pursuing a degree very affordable. Choosing to not develop a large amount of student loan debt is very wise and will allow you, once you graduate, to choose jobs based on what you want to do vs. paying off a high debt.
Be sure to carefully research faculty credentials, institutional and programmatic accreditation. Spending one to seven years in a program, only to discover that your chosen profession will not accept your credentials, could mean a devasting blow to your future. The Accreditation Guide explains the difference between types of accreditation and where you should check that information.