College tuition costs go up every year, usually averaging a 5% increase. Some private online schools raise tuition twice a year. Then, there are the expensive books, averaging $100 each. An online student, starting at a private, accredited online college, can pay $35000 – $65000 for an undergraduate degree. There are several ways to cut these costs. Here are a few school options to consider:
o Using the Community College for some courses is the best way to save money off a degree plan. Why spend $1000/class for English, Algebra, Humanities or Psychology at the private, online school when community college classes run between $100 – $300/each. There are more fees at community college, but students still see big savings. Want an online class? Most community college offer online classes and some schools such as Foothill College Online and Rio Salado College offer entire Associate degrees.
o Military classes can gain college credit and cut costs. Send your SMART Report, AARTS report or DD 214 to your college advisor and push for the credits listed on the military report. The classes might come in as electives, but this still waives some classes and saves tuition dollars.
o Life/Work Experience Credits can be in 2 forms-direct credit and indirect credit. Some online schools have evaluated companies’ training classes and have listed the credits given for those courses. Or, credits can be earned by writing and documenting the experience from your life or your work (known as Assessment of Prior Learning or Portfolio).
o Certificates, Licenses and Training Programs may be given recommended college credits by the American Council on Education (ACE). From the main ACE website, click on “Programs and Services”. Search the National Guide to find your corporate classes, certificates, licenses or training program and see if ACE recommends college credit for these. Most online schools will allow ACE recommended credits. (Military courses can also be found on this website by clicking on Military Guide Online).
There are so many ways to cut tuition costs. Don’t look for tuition help at the online school, however. The college wants your “warm, tuition-paying body” in their degree plan, taking all classes at their school. The school may advertise “life and work experience credits” but after you are enrolled, the adviser may not tell you about these options and you may have to fight for them.