Ways to Save on Online Education

 

In the United States, fewer than 10% of adults have earned a graduate degree. Many more people are interested in attending or completing graduate school, but they figure that money is too tight. The truth is that there are a number of ways to save money with online learning.

First, here are some ways that people automatically save money when they decide to learn online:

1. Cheaper credit hours – Some schools charge less per credit hour for their online programs than for their traditional programs. That’s because online students are not taking up physical space; they’re not requiring heat, air conditioning, a janitorial staff, etc.

2. No commute – Online students avoid spending money on transportation to class.

3. No childcare costs – By studying online when children are asleep or at school, parents can attend class without needing to pay a babysitter.

Second, here are some ways that online learners can be proactive and save even more:

1. Make the most of previous credits. Online students can transfer credits for college courses they’ve already completed, classes they’ve taken at work, and military training. Some online graduate programs accept more transfer credits than others do.

2. Test out of as many courses as possible. Some universities provide tests (“challenge exams”) for students to demonstrate their mastery of certain subjects. Others accept the College Level Examination Program (CLEP exam) and/or the DANTES (DSST exams). These subject tests let students show their knowledge in business, literature, foreign languages, and other areas.

3. Buy books online. Some online degree programs publish all reading materials online, but others require students to use old-fashioned textbooks. Students can save hundreds of dollars every semester by buying used textbooks. Amazon even sells thousands of titles for just 1 cent.

4. Learn locally. By attending an in-state school online, a student can benefit from state residency discounts. Additionally, online students can take advantage of tuition reciprocity agreements between states. For example, college students in Minnesota are treated as in-state students by Wisconsin and North Dakota.

5. Apply for grants and scholarships. Millions of dollars are offered to students every year, and the offers aren’t just extended to A+ scholars. For example, grants and scholarships are awarded to people who intend to study certain obscure subjects, and to people from specific cities and towns.

Scholarship applications require a significant time investment, but the payoff could be excellent. Most public libraries keep scholarship books in their reference sections, and many scholarship contests can be found online.

Education isn’t always free, but by taking some of the above steps, you could get your online degree at a substantial savings.

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