What is the Average Cost of an Online Bachelor’s Degree?

When you apply to colleges, you might hear that online schools are more affordable but wonder about the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree. The cost of getting your degree depends on the tuition, the amount of classes you must take and the fees charged by the online school. You can save money on living expenses because you won’t drive to campus every day and because you won’t need to buy expensive meal plans. Finding out the cost of getting your degree can help you budget and learn how much financial aid you need.

Application Fee

The first thing you need to think about is the application fee. Most colleges charge an application fee of $20 to more than $100. If you meet certain income restrictions, you can contact the university and apply for a fee waiver. To do this, you may need to fill out paperwork or have your guidance counselor file for a waiver on your behalf. Some online colleges do not charge any type of application fee. If you do need to pay a fee, you can usually pay it online with a credit or debit card. The college may let you pay with a check or money order, too.

Tuition Per Credit

Your semester tuition cost depends on the number of credits you take. When compiling a list of the most affordable online schools, U.S. News & World Report found that some schools charge as little as $40 per credit and that others charge more than $750 per credit. The cost also depends on whether the college offers in-state and nonresident tuition rates. To qualify for in-state rates, you usually need to show proof that you lived in that state for at least 12 months before classes start.

Miscellaneous Fees

The miscellaneous fees charged by a university can significantly add to your total costs. You might pay a general college fee that is around $100 a semester. Colleges can also charge online students a technology fee for using online resources. A registration fee applies each time that you register for classes and can add an extra $100 or more to your costs per semester. If you take more than 18 credit hours, the college may also charge you for each credit you take above that limit.

Other Costs to Consider

While online college is more affordable than taking classes from a local campus, you need to consider the cost of supplies and other things you will need in your classes. You may need to upgrade to a better computer to use the online system. The average cost of an online bachelor’s degree can also vary based on where you live and if you live with your parents.

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Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Online colleges do not need to set aside classrooms and other resources, which helps those schools keep costs down. You’ll also save money because you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars for a dorm room and meal plan. When you factor in the application fee, miscellaneous fees, other costs and the tuition itself, the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree can range from around $5,000 to $10,00 as a resident to more than $20,000 as a nonresident.