Distant learning (online education) has long been available to students at private colleges, but more conventional universities are increasingly giving the option. Public universities, where tuition is already cheaper than private institutions, may save a significant amount of money by eliminating the need for students to pay for housing.
A list of bachelor’s degree-granting institutions where at least 1% of the student population is engaged in distant learning was developed by Student Loan Hero experts to understand better how students might gain financially from distance learning. Researchers then rated the most affordable online-only institutions. As of this writing, students may choose from 81 online-only programs that will cost less than $5,000 per year. As for other student options, GAD credit cards also provides funding for tuition fees.
The most important discoveries
At 81 degree-granting institutions, students may expect to pay less than $5,000 per year for online-only education. Although most of these institutions are public, students from out of state often have to pay extra to attend these schools.
Distance learning alternatives in California are some of the most affordable. At least one-fifth of the students at California’s nine most inexpensive degree-granting universities are enrolled in distant learning programs. It isn’t only universities in the United States among the top 25.
Tuition and expenses for bachelor’s-only online schools are typically half as much as those at traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Online-only schools charge an average of $9,295 in tuition and fees, whereas all degree-granting institutions charge $21,233.
Around 37.2% of students in conventional public schools with distance learning options enrolled in online-only courses for the 2020-21 school year. 42.1 percent of students took at least one online course.
Public schools have a bachelor’s degree completion rate of 49.1%, but that percentage reduces to 33 percent for institutions that solely offer online courses. 53.7 percent of students at private nonprofits finish after six years; however, just 32 percent of students at institutions that solely provide distance learning do.
Colleges with the best value for online-only students
Eighty-one colleges and universities charge less than $5,000 a year for online-only students. A community college or other comparable institution may join the list if it offers at least one bachelor’s degree option and has at least one percent of its student population registered only for distant learning.
Distance learning choices in California are the most affordable and diverse. Only 1% of students enrolled in California’s nine most inexpensive degree-granting colleges (all public) are only engaged in remote education. Let’s have a look at the three most affordable institutions for students who choose to study online:
A bachelor’s degree in aircraft manufacturing technology is available at Antelope Valley Institution, a community college in Lancaster, California. Civilian and military aircraft structural components are taught in this curriculum.
A bachelor’s degree in health information management is available at San Diego Mesa Institution, a community college in San Diego. Code management and data analysis to compliance coordination are just a few examples of future job paths.
A bachelor’s degree in biomanufacturing is offered by MiraCosta College, which has campuses in Oceanside and Cardiff. Students with an associate’s degree in biomanufacturing from the college, or an equivalent degree from another institution, may apply to the program.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors approved a bachelor’s degree pilot program, which is why these three community colleges appear on the list of institutions that issue bachelor’s degrees. 14 of the 15 schools participating in the pilot program are included, with all of them ranking within the top 25 in their respective states.
The lowest universities for online-only students in North Dakota, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Colorado cost less than $5,000 a year.
Online-only solutions are far less expensive than those that are available in stores.
There is a significant difference in tuition and fees between online-only colleges and those that provide online and in-person training.
While the average tuition and fees for online-only colleges are $9,295, the average for degree-granting universities is $21,233, which might need substantial public and private student loans. However, the average price difference between an online-only school and all public institutions is not significant if you opt to attend a public school — $7,050 (online-only) against $8,305 (all public institutions) (public schools overall).
Although private charities without in-person choices charge 3.5 times less than all private nonprofits—$8,289 (exclusively distance learning) against $29,777 (all private nonprofits) (private nonprofits overall), only online universities charge an average of $10,000 per year compared to the $17,126 for all private for-profit institutions.
Andrew Pentis, a senior writer at Student Loan Hero, explains that these pricing discrepancies are based on a few critical criteria.
Both public and private institutions of higher education have overhead costs. As a result of the more excellent technology infrastructure needed to support an online learning environment, online-only programs have a lower overhead than brick-and-mortar schools. For example, since these online-only institutions do not have a physical campus, they save costs.
Competition is another aspect to keep in mind. To distinguish themselves from the crowd, online-only institutions, web coding bootcamps, and the like are still engaged in fierce competition.
In the face of a pandemic, traditional schools are expanding their online programs.
Since the commencement of the crisis, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted conventional schools.
Some 37.2 percent of students at conventional public schools with distance programs and courses were required or elected to attend online-only classes during the 2020-21 academic year, with an additional 42.1 percent taking at least some subjects online.
For private NGOs providing online programs or courses, 25 percent took all of their classes online. In comparison, 35 percent took part in some. 42.9 percent of students at for-profit institutions attended all of their courses online, while 31.7 percent did so in detail.
Because of the pandemic’s uncertain impact on universities, it’s difficult to predict if the institutions that began offering online-only courses will continue to do so in the future. As a result of the health problem, more conventional schools started to provide online-only choices for students, which they may continue to do.
Students have indeed expressed dissatisfaction with their educational outcomes after being forced to take online programs due to COVID-19. Most of their work was done online, while some students chose to reside on campus throughout the school year.
Student dissatisfaction is understandable, according to Pentis.
Because students had agreed to pay a fee per credit for in-person education and all of its perks — such as closer one-on-one contact with professors and group projects — they were now being asked to pay the same price for less of those advantages.
Students may expect to pay less for online courses in the future, according to Pentis, who believes this is a reasonable expectation. I think that not all systems should be priced the same.
Because Pentis does not believe tuition will be reduced any time soon, the amount of debt owed by U.S. students will continue to rise.
It is not unusual for schools to face a decrease in revenue as a result of the epidemic, according to Pentis. If schools are interested in online education or charging less for it, I believe they’re interested in what mutually helps their school operations and their student’s learning experience.”
At online-only colleges, graduation rates are much lower than those at brick-and-mortar institutions.
It’s clear from the statistics on graduation rates that the types of institutions aren’t only divided by their prices.
49.1 percent of public school students acquire a bachelor’s degree within six years, while just 33 percent of students at public schools with solely online choices do so. Private NGOs have a graduation rate of 53.7% within six years, while distance learning colleges have a far lower rate of 32%.
More than two-thirds of students who enroll in private for-profit colleges and universities aren’t graduating after six years (14.1 percent ).
Online-only universities are less likely to graduate students in four or six years. Still, at least some of that may be due to those who cannot attend or complete college because of a lack of financial resources or other hurdles.
Online learning may be the only option for someone who has to maintain a family while still working full-time to fit courses into their schedule. Still, these time constraints may prohibit them from completing their education. Reduced requirements for admission may also lead to an increase in the number of students unable to finish a degree, even in a less demanding setting.
Pentis hypothesizes that the absence of a personal bond may be at work here.
Pentis believes that pupils are less invested in online education than in face-to-face classes. Studying online makes it far more challenging to form meaningful relationships with other students and faculty members to help you progress toward your degree and keep you motivated.
This, he says, is an essential point that schools must address: How can they teach their pupils in an online format while keeping up with the rapidly changing nature of the education industry? The answer to this question may impact higher education in the future.