The tuition fees charged by universities for distance learning programmes vary from institution to institution, programme to programme and also depend on the length of the online degree courses as well. The general practice is for distance learning degrees to have lower tuition fees compared to those charged for courses that are held on-campus. However, you may not find this feature available at prestigious universities.
As always though, a high tuition fee does not automatically guarantee high-quality of the educational offer. So before you enrol in a particular programme, you should acquire information on the quality of the programme by reading reviews, looking at rankings, and alumni reports as well as the employment rate of graduates.
Huge difference in tuition fees in distance learning
Just like traditional education, the cost of distance learning can vary from a few hundred EUR to hundreds of thousands. You need to do thorough research if you want to find the balance between costs and the quality of the study programme that satisfies your particular expectations and needs.
The costs of a two or three years full degree can range from around 1,000 EUR to over 10,000 EUR. Take into consideration these factors before choosing a distance learning course:
1. Prestige or reputation of the university
As mentioned above, famous universities may sometimes charge lower fees for online courses, but this is not available all the time. In addition, lower fees may not be significantly more affordable.
2. The country where the university is located
American and British universities are some of the most hunted by international students due to their academic excellence. Thus, regardless of the study programme, distance learning degrees provided by universities from the U.S. and the UK will inevitably have higher tuition fees compared to distance courses offered by universities from the Netherlands, for instance.
3. The chosen field of study
Like in traditional education, in distance learning certain fields of study are either more popular among students or guarantee great and high paid career opportunities after graduation. Such is the case if you choose to study an online degree in engineering, information and technology, or business to name a few. All these fields will always have higher tuition fees compared to fields like sociology, creative writing or archaeology.
4. The duration of the course
The overall price of your distance learning programme will highly depend on the duration of the course. You will have to pay more for a study course that will last one or two years than if you choose a short course that can last for a few months.
How distance education saves you plenty of costs
Distance education saves the student the expenses related to accommodation, transportation and even some pocket money. Imagine the situation where you would have normally gone to study abroad and had to pay for renting a room, travelling around, buying food and many others. If you would have chosen an expensive city, the overall costs might actually double.
By choosing a distance learning education, you can maintain current living expenses. The only thing you would have to pay for is the tuition fee and probably a few learning materials or books.
Learning and earning at the same time
Distance learning is a great solution for people that already have a job, but still want or need further education. You can study while keeping the workplace, and thus, can maintain your current income level.
The ideal situation is to study a course or a degree that is closely related to your job duties. This way, your coursework and learning will be a lot easier and you can also relate and understand better the topics of your chosen course.
However, choosing an online course that has nothing to do with your current job is just as good. The only important aspect is that you are passionate about the subject.
Distance higher education is a good investment in your future
If the tuition fee of a distance learning programme is a very complex and controversial topic, there are certain attributes about distance learning that are quite straight-forward: nowadays, distance learning requires the student to possess at least a good-performing computer and good internet connection.
Taking into consideration that on a general level tuition fees for distance education programmes are lower compared to the respective on-campus variant, and considering the value and quality ones receives, distance education is definitively a good investment of your money. The same thing is true for investing in education in general. An online degree is better than no degree at all, as it will increase your chances for better employment and you will also develop on a personal level.