Just like their campus-based counterparts, online universities are not created equal. Telling the best online colleges apart from glorified degree-printers is tough when the web is awash with online education offerings. Seriously, try Googling “online college” or seeking out Miami college information and see if you can find some objective insight out there. Yet an accredited online degree program has its advantages. Mainly, it’ll cut some costs and save you time. It’s the balance of these savings that can help you determine the true value of your online education.
Let’s start by focusing on what colleges stand to save by offering courses online. The costs of powering a classroom are stripped away, such as utilities and custodial necessities, but that’s about it. Everything else that goes into the cost of a course still applies. You still have the professor, who undoubtedly gets paid the same. You still have the academic infrastructure behind the online course to pay for: admissions, the registrar, server management, et cetera. The savings for the school are seemingly minimal. Therefore, it can’t be expected of an online program to be drastically cheaper than traditional courses and campus classes.
Not would a significantly cheaper education be a good thing. It would mean that somewhere down the line the college is cutting costs in a major way. That’s great, but you have to ask yourself: why aren’t traditional colleges cutting these costs too? While perhaps they are and are refusing to pass the savings down to the students, the likelihood is that an online college, if not legitimate, could be paying staff significantly less or providing students with a less-than-standard quality of education.
So it can be said that the costs of a college class whether online or otherwise should roughly come out to about the same, relative to the particular program. Discrepancies should be treated as red flags instead of bargains. Double check discount online programs before the enrollment process begins.
The true savings netted from an online degree program comes in the form of time. Yet with that said, it’s not exactly what you think. Many people believe an online degree program can get done in two years what takes typical college goers to double that time to achieve. The truth is: probably not. More likely than not, you’ll shave a few months off your academic career.
But to say that’s not worth it is to improperly price your time. Those extra few months are a valuable moment in your life where you can be getting a head start in the job market. They’re certainly worth the “you’re on your own” style of most online colleges.
That’s not to mention that you stand to save an extraordinary amount of time every day by avoiding the campus commute and the lulls of the classroom. With a worthy online education, you skip all of that and go straight into the material. For working professionals, that’s an essential factor of why many choose to take college courses online.
It “might” only save you a few hundred bucks in the long run, but that’s not the point of an online education. It’s a streamlined version of traditional accredited learning, so the value of the education itself remains almost entirely intact. Instead, the savings are all in the time. I don’t have to tell you that saving time IS saving money. If that’s going to be the fundamental lesson you take away from your college experience, I’d say it was more than worth it.