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5 Ways Online Degrees Save You Money On Gas

May 30, 2007 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

In every community in the U.S., gas prices are rising.  If you’re contemplating higher education at a traditional school, gas is just one more cost to factor in.  Most traditional students drive to classes, drive home for breaks, and generally spend a lot of time in their cars.  It isn’t unusual to spend $100 a month or more on gas.

But not if you get an online degree.  Studying online means no commute and no gas expenses.  Heck, you don’t even need a car.

Expenses at traditional schools go far beyond tuition.  Expect to spend thousands of dollars on books, room and board, food, parking expenses, school supplies, furniture for your dorm room…the list goes on and on.  Most traditional grads emerge from the college cocoon with around $20,000 in debt, much of which has been accumulating interest during all four years of school.

With all the costs associated with higher education, you’ll need to save every penny you can.  Here’s a list of all the ways an online education will help you cut costs.

1. Cheaper Moving Costs  

If you plan on going to a traditional college in another location, you’ll have to move to the area.  And moving is not cheap.  It can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to rent a moving van or hire movers to cart your things to your new abode.  Stuff all your belongings in your own car, and chances are you’ll have to buy a lot of extras when you arrive. 

While attending an online university, the most you’ll have to move is from your couch to your computer desk—not even that, if you have wireless Internet.  No moving costs means more money in the bank for you.

2. Buy Less Textbooks. Save Trees and the Environment

New students are often shocked to find that the prices at their university bookstore look nothing like those at Borders.  $70, $80, or $100 for a single hardcover book? Who are these people kidding?

The university bookstore is a frequent target of rage from students of all grade levels.  But the sad truth is that it’s got a captive audience.  You need books, and this bookstore is the easiest place to get most of them.  It isn’t unusual for students to spend $1,000 or more per semester on books alone.

You’re much less likely to have that problem with an online degree.  Online students are geographically scattered, and can’t be forced to buy their books at a single brick-and-mortar location.   Most of the time, all course materials are made available online after you enroll in a course.  You may not ever have to buy books when you study online.

3. No More Unused School Supplies

When you attend a traditional college, you’ll need plenty of school supplies to bring to classes. With an online degree, you don’t need any extras.  All you need is your computer and an online connection.  You can take notes online, do your research online, download podcasts of your classes online, and more.  No trips to Staples required.

4. More Money for Fun

There are plenty of expensive temptations at a college campus.  When all your friends are heading out to the bar, it can be tough to say no—even if you need to save the money.  Many students run through money more quickly at college than they do at home, simply because they’re spending more on weekend entertainment.

With an online degree, the constant temptation isn’t such a big factor.  We’re not saying you can’t have fun as an online student—that’s definitely not the case.  But you won’t be surrounded by opportunities to spend money.  You can stay home, cook your own dinner, and rent a movie most weekends with no peer pressure to do otherwise.

5. Save Money On Expensive Rent

Not every traditional college has enough dorm space for everyone, and the rent in college towns can be pricey.  Like the bookstores, landlords in college towns have a captive audience: you have to pay their high rents, or you can’t go to school.  Many college students live in over-crowded apartments to save money. 

In cities like New York, where rents are unreasonably high to begin with, students can live itinerant lives, sleeping on couches and in libraries because they just can’t afford a place to live.

Of course, if you study online, your school can be located in the most expensive corner of Manhattan and it won’t make a difference to you.  You can live hundreds of miles away, in a community with cheap rents and a low cost of living.  You can even live with your parents for free, or for a reduced cost.  Save that money now, or use it to pay off your student loans early.

There are plenty of ways an online degree can save you money.  In many cases, online tuition itself is less than that at traditional schools—but that isn’t always the case.  No matter the tuition cost, however, there’s no doubt you’ll save money on the peripheral costs when you enroll in an online program.




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