What You Should Know About This Degree
The cost of tuition is a major consideration when selecting an online college, but it should not be the only factor in your decision. Review the program’s curriculum to ensure it will teach you the skills you need for your intended career path, and that it meets the educational requirements for any professional licenses or certifications you may need. Read up on faculty to make sure there are qualified instructors teaching your courses. Find out what support services and networking opportunities there are for online students.
Attending college online can save money because you do not have to pay room, board, or travel expenses. It also allows flexibility so you can keep a full- or part-time job, but be aware that you need to prioritize your studies even if you are balancing them with work or other commitments. If you fall behind and have to repeat classes, you can end up spending more money than you intended.
If you are looking at a program offered by a school in another state, confirm that the school is authorized to grant degrees to students living in your home state before enrolling. You also want to make sure that the school is regionally accredited, so if you have to transfer to another institution, your credits are more likely to be accepted. .
Professional certifications and/or licenses, like the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), are typically required to work in accounting. To become certified or licensed, you must complete a certain number of accounting coursework credit hours, have professional experience, and pass an exam. Factor the additional time and cost of certification/licensure when deciding if accounting is the right career for you.
When researching the most affordable online colleges, you should ask the following questions:
- Are there any additional fees? Make sure you understand the full cost of the program before enrolling. The published tuition rate may not include additional fees for technology, support services, or programmatic fees. Talk to a financial aid counselor or a program representative to get a clear picture of what your bill will include.
- What financial resources are available to online students? There are a number of ways to subsidize your tuition, including scholarships, assistantships, and student loans. Talk to a financial aid rep or admissions counselor to find out what types of aid you are eligible for as an online student, and if you are automatically considered for aid, or if you need to support separate applications.
Researching the application requirements and deadlines for online programs is important as well. Some online programs enroll students throughout the year, while others only enroll new students during specific terms. Knowing deadlines and having application materials ready to send can help your admissions process go smoothly.