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Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 4 Ways to Save Money on Online Courses

Today I have Katheryn Rivas as guest blogger. Please be sure to check out her unique guest post. Guest posts are always welcome, please contact me.

Many online learners choose to pursue distance education because of the significant cost savings. But even veteran distance learners can benefit from paying attention to whether or not they are throwing money away on online education expenses and learn about the top ways to avoid doing so.

1. Research Costs to Gain Perspective

Before you enroll in any online program, whether it be one course or an entire semester's worth, the least you should do is see how much you are paying compared to similar programs. Even if you don't mind paying more for a program you love, it is always good to have perspective on the market and know when there might be an opportunity to cut your costs. Check out things like tuition rates, student fees, course material costs, and financial aid packages, and try to research at least five programs that could work for you. No matter what program you go with, you will know that you made an informed financial decision.

2. Read the Fine Print on Financial Aid

Financial aid can be a complicated process. It's almost like working with an insurance company. Sometimes you feel like all the aid is there and secured, and then the semester ends and you're presented with a bill for the remaining costs. Make sure this doesn't happen to you and speak directly with financial aid officers at several different schools to know exactly what you may be potentially responsible for covering. Factor that in to the total cost of your education when comparing programs.

3. Don't Buy Course Materials from the School

This is true at traditional colleges, as well. You can almost always find a less expensive copy of a textbook online through a private vendor, rather than at your school book store. There are many sites that sell used copies of textbooks; probably the biggest is Amazon.com. You can also rent a book from sites like Bookrenter.com. If you're in a rush, do a simple Google search to see if you can automatically find the text at a lower price.

4. Watch Out for On-Campus Requirements

The thing about online classes that really saves you money is the fact that everything is online. You never have to pay for travel to and from class, or the meals and miscellaneous expenses associated with the commute. Some online courses are held in a blended format, and students meet regularly at a central location, just much less frequently. There is nothing wrong with a blended online course, just factor in the added cost before you enroll in the program.

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice.
She welcomes your comments at her email.

Many thanks to Katheryn.
Enjoy your reading!


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