Is it Cheaper to Get a Finance Degree Online?

Attending a private university or a public college out of state can cost $25,000 to $35,00 or even more each year, which is why those interested in finance often look at the cost of an online finance degree. Many students hear the word online and instantly assume that those classes cost less than what they would pay when taking classes on a traditional campus. The truth is that online finance degrees can cost just as much as studying in a traditional classroom. Students should look at the average cost and other fees when deciding whether to study finance online or off.

Tuition Costs

One of the first things to consider is the cost of tuition itself. Online colleges charge for tuition in one of two ways. Some schools charge a set fee for each course that a student takes. Other programs charge per credit hour. Schools that charge per credit hour are usually those that offer classes on campus too. Some schools charge a flat rate for all the courses that students take, but these are usually for-profit schools with a poor reputation. The average price per credit hour ranges from around $250 to more than $600, and online classes may range from one credit hour classes to five credit hour classes.

Hidden Fees

U.S. News and World Report writer Kelsey Sheehy recommends that students consider any hidden fees charged by the school. Sheehy points out that some schools charge a technology fee, a registration fee or even a graduation fee. The technology fee usually covers the cost of using an online system or any software that students need for their online courses. Some schools require that all students pay a registration fee each semester, and some schools also require payment to send students their diplomas after graduation.

Additional Costs

Before entering an online finance degree program, students must think about the additional fees and costs that the school does not cover. Some advanced programs ask that students spend a short weekend or a few weeks on campus before graduating, and the schools require that students pay for their own transportation to campus and for housing on or off campus. Students in finance programs may also need accounting and financial software for those courses, though many schools allow students to purchase those programs at a reduced cost.

Other Things to Consider

Taking finance classes online can cost just as much as taking those courses offline, but there are other costs and things students should consider. The cost of living on campus is quite high, and schools may charge more than $2,000 for room and board. Those who take finance classes online can save money living at home with their parents or renting an apartment. Online students can also save significantly on the cost of food and other living expenses. Students also have the option of working in a business or finance field and continuing to work full time as they finish their finance degrees.

The cost of a finance program at a traditional college can easily reach $20,000 or more each year, but students who complete online programs can graduate with less debt. Though the cost of online courses is usually on par with the cost of offline courses, students in online finance degree programs can save on living expenses and other costs.