Over the last couple of years, there’s been a large increase in the number of organizations that provide students with access to free and affordable online courses. Some of these organizations give students a chance to obtain degrees, and others provide courses to help students become more knowledgeable and better prepared to thrive in the difficult job market. It’s becoming easier for students of all backgrounds to obtain a quality education online without saddling themselves with mountains of debt.
Despite this, free and affordable online education hasn’t quite completely caught on yet. The number of students enrolled in online programs that cost thousands of dollars a semester dramatically exceeds the number of students who take classes for a few hundred dollars a semester. As more free and affordable programs pop up, however, it seems as though the average cost of a high quality online education should go down. Here are a few reasons why reasonably priced online education programs have a good chance of dominating online education as a whole in the near future:
1. Organizations like UniversityNow will bring down the costs of degrees
Sites like EdX and Coursera are making it possible for internet users to take free classes from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. However, they’re not offering degrees yet. So, you could hypothetically take all the classes business majors take at Stanford, but you wouldn’t be able to boast about your business degree from Stanford on your résumé.
You could, however, get an actual degree from UniversityNow, an online organization that offers college and graduate coursework for $199 per month (or $796) per semester. UniversityNow is one of the few accredited entities offering this kind of deal now. As it attracts more students, however, it’s safe to assume that competitors will pop up, and affordable degrees will become considerably more mainstream.
2. The affordable online education industry is profitable
Udemy, an online education startup based in San Francisco, has proven that providing affordable online education can be very profitable. Udemy provides a platform for professionals to create and take classes. The classes offered on Udemy generally cost between $10 and $100. Despite the low-cost of Udemy’s courses, many of the instructors who regularly teach classes on the site are making six figure incomes. If Udemy’s instructors make that much money, it’s pretty obvious that Udemy itself is raking in a whole lot of dough. Other organizations will figure out that they can make a lot of money providing inexpensive courses.
3. People will stop paying so much for their education
Once people realize that affordable options exist, they won’t pay $30,000 for an online degree anymore. They’ll opt to enroll in a degree-granting program that costs them a few thousand dollars. When the masses figure out that they can learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator for a hundred bucks on Udemy, they won’t pay more to take basic graphic design classes. College debt is a real problem for millennials right now, and it just seems unlikely that younger generations will take on as much debt as their predecessors when there are other high-quality options available.
No one can predict the future, but it seems like affordable online education will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years. Online education enthusiasts just have to sit back, relax, and watch the innovation happen.
Author info: Aniya Wells is one of the most passionate writers you’ll ever meet. Though her writing interests run the gamut—from personal finance to health to current events and more—her primary interest is modern higher education. She serves as a reliable online degree guide for students considering taking advantage of the conveniences inherent in distance learning. Don’t hesitate to contact Aniya for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.