What is the Average Cost to Earn an Associate’s Degree Online?

When you decide to enroll in an online associate’s degree program, you might want to look at the average cost for the degree. Vocational schools, community colleges and even traditional colleges offer online associate’s programs that let you earn your degree in just two years, when attending on a full-time basis. While you will want to look at the overall cost of the program, you’ll also want to look at the costs of attending a traditional university and some of the other costs you might face.

Average Cost of an Online Program

Finding out the average cost of an online program often requires visiting the college’s official website and looking at the amount it charges per credit hour. Full-time students typically take at least 12 credit hours of classes during a semester. The average cost for an associate’s degree online also depends on which college you attend. Many schools offer lower rates for those who take more courses and for those who live in the same state. The cost can range from around $300 to $500 per credit hour, which comes out to $3,600 to $6,000 a semester, but some colleges charge tuition rates that are much lower.

Related Resource:
Cheapest Online Colleges for Associate’s Degrees

How Does Online Compare to Offline?

Vocational schools and community colleges do not typically have campus housing available, but if you attend a different type of school, you might spend as much as $5,000 a semester or even more on housing. Traditional colleges will also charge fees for using the facilities and services on that campus, including a library fee and a student activity fee. You’re also responsible for paying your own transportation costs for getting to and from the campus. Most students can save a significant amount of money earning an associate’s degree online instead.

Miscellaneous Fees

Before you sign up for classes and put down your deposit, make sure that you look closely at any of the fees that the university might charge. An online college might charge you a fee for a summer class that teaches you how to use the online system and how to interact with your peers and professors prior to starting your regular course load. Online schools can also charge miscellaneous fees for accessing professional search programs, downloading programs needed for your classes and even using online resources like books and articles.

Adding to Your Costs

You also need to consider other factors that might add to your total costs like a residency requirement. According to Kelsey Sheehy of U.S. News & World Report, a college may require that you spend a weekend or more studying on campus and there may be an additional charge for this requirement. Sheehy also points out that some schools charge a recurring technology fee for taking classes online. This may be a set fee or a fee based on the number of classes you take, and the college may charge you this same fee every semester.

The number of students enrolling in online programs keeps rising, and some of the appeal is that students can fit their classes around their schedules and save money. After looking at the average cost for an associate’s degree online, make sure you look at how much local colleges charge and whether the online program charges any hidden fees.