If your tuition bill seems as if it is getting bigger every year, it’s probably because it is. College Board reported in its 2009 study "Trends in College Pricing" that the tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by an average rate of 4.9 percent per year beyond general inflation from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010. This resulted in a tuition bill that averaged $7,020 in the 2009-2010 academic year, and after factoring in costs like room and board, students ended up spending an average of $15,213. With prices like these, four years of college will end up costing the average student over $60,000, a price tag that significantly increases if student loans are involved.
It’s no wonder more and more students are looking for ways to cut college costs, but luckily they may not have to look much further than their own computer. Online courses can often be a cheaper way to go when it comes to earning college credit as they may not involve the same fees associated with those taken on campus. Students enrolled in online schools usually don’t have to pay the extra fees that are associated with traditional universities such as those for services concerning student health, athletics, and recreation. Although of the time students taking online courses do end up paying a library or technology fee just like any other student would. But these fees are actually worth your while as an online student, because you will most certainly use the electronic resources associated with them. A technology fee will cover the cost of the additional technical and administrative support online courses require as well as the cost of maintaining technological resources. You also might be wondering why you would have to pay a library fee if your school has no campus. A library fee is generally applicable because most library resources are available online and students can access research databases through the school’s Web site.
If you find that courses from online universities aren’t any cheaper than those from traditional universities, your community may offer a cheaper route to a secondary education. Online courses through community colleges could end up costing significantly less than earning credit through a university. According to the College Board study, the average cost of tuition and fees for students enrolled full-time at public two-year colleges was $2,544 in the 2009-2010 academic year. A significant savings of $4,476 when compared to what those at a four-year university paid. Given the difference in overall tuition, it makes sense that individual courses taken through two-year colleges will cost you much less than those at four-year colleges. Most community colleges these days offer a wide variety of flexible course options, including online options, to meet the dynamic educational needs of the communities they serve.