Cheap Online College: The Factors to Consider
When trying to find the most cost-efficient online school, you'll need to consider more than just the per-credit hour tuition rate. There are many things that will affect the amount of money that you're going to pay out over the duration of your college education. This article explains the factors you'll need to consider when looking for a cheap online college:
Financial Aid Availability
If you think that your income level would qualify you for financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships, then you're going to want to find a school that has these awards available. Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid, so, if you receive one, it's going to significantly reduce the cost of your college education.
While some schools are going to offer federal loans that operate at a low interest rate and do not accrue interest while you are a student in college, other will offer loans from outside companies that will have higher interest rates and may accrue interest while you are studying, even if they do not require payments. The interest you're going to pay on your loans will greatly affect the amount of money you'll put out for your education -- in some cases the interest on loans could cost you thousands of dollars more for your education than if you just paid your tuition in full each semester.
This is more than just comparing the per-credit hour costs from school to school. Some schools will have a full-time student rate where students pay the same amount for the minimum number of classes required to maintain full-time status as any number of classes more than that amount. If you plan to take extra classes each semester, this could save you a lot of money. Furthermore, some schools will have a flat rate for the entire degree program rather than charging per-credit hour rates. This may save you money if you have to drop classes occasionally or if you fail a class.
This may include the costs of textbooks, lab fees, student activity fees, and so on. While these things will be a factor in any online school, you'll need to consider them with tuition costs and the other factors in order to find a cheap online school.