Going to college and receiving a degree continues to be necessary in order to achieve success in many career paths. While having a degree continues to be more and more important, the cost of attending a traditional college has increased rapidly over the past few decades.
The increased costs are now precluding some from attending college or will require a student to take out a significant amount of debt, which creates a substantial burden in the future.
One option to consider is to get your education through an online college. These schools can help to save someone money in a variety of ways.
Lower Tuition Costs
One of the main reasons that going to an online college can save money is because you will have lower tuition costs.
Online colleges tend to be more affordable than traditional school options, particularly if you go out of state or to a private school.
There are many reasons why this is the case. One of the main reasons is that online colleges do not have nearly the same overhead expenses, which are tied to the construction and maintenance of campus buildings.
Online schools will typically have far fewer physical spaces and will be able to pass the savings on to students.
Save Money on Room and Board
Another major cost saving for those who are attending an online school is that you can save money on room and board.
Next to tuition, room and board is a major expense that traditional college students will have. The cost of living in a dorm, paying for a meal plan, or even living in off-campus housing will cost thousands of dollars per semester.
If you go to an online college, you can continue to live at home or will be able to live anywhere in the world that you want. This could drastically reduce the expense that you have when it comes to housing and food.
Commuting and Travel Costs
Those who go to a traditional school will also incur a variety of travel-related costs.
Many people underestimate how much money will be spent traveling to and from school throughout the year.
Even making a few trips home each year will add up quickly.
This part of your education can be particularly expensive if you need to fly to get home. Those who continue to stay home and go to an online college will be able to avoid most of this cost.
Saved Time Opens Up Opportunity to Work
Those who go to a traditional four-year college will find that the process of getting to and from school and class each day can take a lot of time. Further, you tend to have a rigid schedule that you will need to follow. This can make it hard to handle other responsibilities, such as working a job.
When you are not able to work, you will end up spending much more throughout your college experience than someone who did work.
When you go to an online college, you will have more flexibility when it comes to doing a lot of coursework.
Additionally, you will not have to spend the same amount of time going to and from school. This flexibility and saved time will free up time and allow you to take on a full or part-time job.
Reduced Book and Supply Costs
One expense that ends up surprising many traditional school students is the amount of money that they spend on supplies and books simply to go to school.
The cost of books can easily cost over $1,000 per semester in some education paths.
On top of this, you will incur office supply costs and will inevitably spend a lot of money at the campus bookstore. Those who go to an online college will have less of a need to pay for these expensive books. Most courses online offer digital copies of books, which cost far less.
Less Accrued Interest
While the cost of higher education is quite expensive, many people do not think about the interest that they will accrue along the way.
If you have to take out a student loan each semester to pay for part of the cost, you will likely not have to pay any payments until you are done with school. However, your loan will accrue interest each year.
When this happens, your interest will continue to build, and your loan balance will end up being much higher than the amount of the loans that you took out. If you go to an online college and spend less, you will have to borrow less money and will not incur this additional interest.
Receiving a degree and getting a higher education continues to be very important. Anyone who would like to advance their career earnings potential will find having a degree opens up a lot of opportunities.
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.