Will an online university save you money?

These days the costs of colleges are rising due to our bad economic times and schools running out of money. Soon parents will be completely fed up with their kids’ education and want to send them wherever they can save the most money. They’ll think long and hard about how they can do this. There’s always community college or just not going to graduate school but what about those accredited online colleges you always see on TV? Can they help your kid save money and still get a quality education?

First, let’s start by comparing the accredited online degree programs with more traditional state and private schools. For state schools it probably depends on which state you’re in. There are states like Florida and California where it is really cheap to send your child but others like New Jersey where tuition keeps rising at an astronomical rate. And then there are the private schools that can cost up to $50,000, more than three times what most public universities cost. So if you’re all about the cost private school just doesn’t seem to add up.

But what about comparing public school to online universities? First we can use somewhere like Cal-Berkeley as an example. This school is in a bankrupt state and its tuition will probably be skyrocketing in the future. It’s one of the most prestigious public schools in the country and probably worth every penny. For in state tuition, not counting room and board, it’s about $8,000 per year. This is fairly high for a state school, but one of this caliber is worth it.

Now let’s compare that to the most popular accredited online degree program, the University of Phoenix. Looking just at the tuition of this online university, it is over $11,000 per year. This price seems especially high when they don’t have to pay as many faculty members or have any large kind of facilities and classrooms to manage. On the surface, it seems like Cal is the much better deal.

But the factor that swings many people in the direction of accredited online degree programs is  just the fact that they’re online. You don’t have to pay to live anywhere; you just live at home and can work a job the rest of the time, something that many typical college students simply don’t have the time for. Add in Cal’s room and board and the price jumps to nearly $20,000. This is simply way to high for many parents, much less the out of state ones. Simply put, accredited online degrees generally don’t cost as much, so they may be the right path for some families, but probably not all.