Why Tuition for Online College is lower
Online courses are generally much cheaper to run than campus courses. Once the course is created and it is put online, there is usually a minimal amount of expenses involved. There may be a few changes due to advances in technology, but these will likely only be needed ever couple of years, affecting single sections of the coursework. Professor's salaries are much less of a factor and there are no building costs, maintenance, etc.
There are more reasons why online learning is cheaper to run than campus courses.
One other advantage to online courses is that they can be taken by people all over the world. The University of Phoenix is part of the Apollo Group of online universities that enrolls over 200,000 students (with an annual growth rate over 20%). This is far more than any campus could ever accommodate. At the depth of the 2002 recession, DeVry still had 50,000 students enrolled, the kind of numbers that would make it a significant campus college.
Consequently, even though most online colleges and universities are listed as "for profit," the tuition they charge is usually lower than that charged by "for profit" campuses. The reason for this is simple: their profit margin is much greater when they do not have to pay for full time professors, campus construction, heating and air conditioning, etc.
Many prospective students balk when they see the cost of getting an education at a "for profit" compared to that of a public university. However, the simple fact is that many "for profits" are offering relevant, up-to-date coursework compared to that offered by many public colleges and universities. Certainly, if you get into MIT or Harvard, you will be studying with some of the best in the field. However, compared to many smaller colleges and universities, online schools are offering better education with less student enrollment restrictions.
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