- Researching an Online University
- Online vs Campus Based
- Schools and Programs
- Distance Learning Articles
- Why Me?
No one ever said that a college degree was cheap or easy to get. Online universities are trying to change that, however, and with both for-profit and non-profit online colleges available, the advantage still skews only slightly more favorably towards the student. In December, the National Bureau of Educational Research published a paper on “The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students” where they indicate that two-year for-profit schools spend 87 percent less per student than the most selective colleges, but for low-income students, they cost almost 200 percent more.
While the data used for the study is available in the appendix, the following graph indicates the relative cost per student versus the resources spent on each student is often inversely proportional, particularly in the for-profit sector. You are getting less bang for your buck, so to speak. Particularly for prospective students, to whom the value of a college degree is important, this changes the dynamics of not just how one acquires a degree, but the quality of the degree and the knowledge base one can add to one’s skill set.
One would presume that schools that charge higher tuition would cost more for all students and therefore spend the most per students while the data indicated that schools with more capital and that cost more tend to charge higher tuition. Instead, the costs it turns out, are paid in full by some students, while have more money to reduce the sticker price for low-income applicants, yet they do not. The result is that high tuition prices create a mental block for low-income students, since it’s advertising a price that has nothing to do with end cost.
This has therefore led to the rise in distance learning, where people of every background are able to acquire a degree with more flexibility and often at a lower cost. While online universities have their own benefits and downsides, the increasing cost of a campus based education is a large factor in pushing more and more students to seek online degrees. This is yet another reason why it is so very important to understand what one is getting into while vetting prospective online universities.