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Do Tuition Guarantees Really Save Students Money?

In past years, many traditional college degree programs featured guaranteed tuition rates to freshmen entering four-year degree programs. Of course, costs often continued to rise in other ways, such as higher dormitory charges, meal plan rate increases, more expensive book costs, etc. As a result, many universities began dropping these guaranteed rates, leaving students at the mercy of the economy and the universities’ financial situations.

Unlike these colleges and universities, however, online degree programs charge students only for the classes they take. Students enrolled in distance learning degree programs pay only for the number of credit hours in which they are actually enrolled, plus any applicable fees.

At first glance, you might think that this doesn’t really benefit the student as much as guaranteed tuition programs do. After all, students enrolled in degree programs that offer this guarantee pay only a set rate for each credit hour, and this rate won’t increase over the next four years.

The rate at which tuition increases, however, is much higher for incoming freshmen from year to year among degree programs that with those that do offer guaranteed tuition rates. Add this to increased meal plan charges, room costs, and other not-so-obvious fees, and students at these college often end up paying more for their college degrees than students who enroll in distance learning degree programs.

Many online universities today are offering college degree programs that can be require less money for completion than traditional degree programs. In fact, the average cost of a Bachelor Degree program at a distance learning degree program in 2010 is around $50,000. This may seem expensive, until you start comparing the cost of a college education at private colleges, which can average between $20-$40,000 a year.

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