Paying for higher education online
Earning degrees online is a great opportunity for those who don’t have the time for traditional four-year colleges and universities. Working professionals, busy parents, and anyone else who seeks to further their knowledge and skills can take advantage of online schools and programs that can offer the same type of quality education. However, procuring finances to pay for it can be challenging and difficult, even though it’s online.
According to the Babson Survey Research Group, it was reported in 2008 that online students must pay the same amount in tuition and fees as students who are on campus, but many scholarships that are available for the latter are harder to obtain for the former. That’s why, according to US News, there are several factors to keep in mind when considering online education:
Many online education schools and programs differ from each other in the way that they charge their students. Some may post a single lump sum, while others may choose to charge per credit hour or per course. If programs offer credit for life experience or previous college coursework, students may be able to transfer these and decrease their tuition.
As with anything related to your finances, it’s important to plan ahead, taking into consideration whether you can transfer any existing credits and how much it will cost for the entire program. Advisers are available to help students sort out issues of finance and education tracks. It may turn out to be an extremely costly mistake if students don’t have the clearest understanding about how much and what they’re paying for.
Fees are usually in addition to what must be paid in tuition. Some online schools and programs may charge unknowing students fees for services that they may never even use. The various fees can stack up without the students’ notice until it’s time for them to pay. That’s why it’s important to look for costs outside of just tuition that add to the total cost of attendance. This also includes the cost of required books and learning materials.
Some employers support their employee’s education financially, but it’s important for students to figure out when their employers will actually give them a check to use. Some may wait until the students receive their grades to do so, while the college requires payment to be made before classes even commence. If a workplace offers reimbursement programs for education, students should make sure to check whether there’s a payment plan that can be worked out with their school or program.
Some students may wish to utilize on-campus resources, such as financial aid and career centers. Some online schools or programs might not make these available for students who are not on-campus, so it’s important to check whether they do if they’re important to the student.
There are loan options available to online learners just as they are to traditional learners. If students need the extra financial help, they may find that they are available for federal and private loans.
Scholarships and Grants
Some online colleges and programs may not offer scholarships or grants, but there are some that do. Depending on which college the student is interested in, they may be eligible to apply for scholarships, grants, fellowships, or assistantships. Like any other student, online learners must apply with FAFSA in order to be taken into consideration for any federal aid.