Why attend online college close to where you live? We take a deep dive into the reasons why online students may want to consider staying close to home.
More students than ever before are attending online college. Not only that, but more online students are choosing online colleges and universities close to home. There are a lot of good reasons to attend an online college in your state, from the opportunity for savings, to the convenience of being able to actually visit the physical campus, to the eventuality of securing a job in your region after graduation.
And with more public and state-affiliated colleges and universities offering remote learning opportunities and fully online degrees than ever before, there are countless distance learning options with locations not too far from your home.
To get started, take a a look at The Best Online Colleges by State.
Otherwise, read on and find out why so many current students are actually choosing this path...
If you plan to attend a reputable, regionally-accredited four-year college or university, the public system affiliated with your state of residence will almost always be among the most affordable options. Note the importance of regional accreditation, especially when it comes to receiving financial aid for your online education.
In most cases, current students will only be eligible for student aid when applying to online colleges and universities with accreditation that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Start by filling out your FAFSA to determine your eligibility. Then maximize your savings by targeting an online college or university in your state.
In most cases, taking advantage of in-state rates will provide students with one of the best pathways to an affordable university education and a reputable degree. But did you know that those very same in-state rates apply even if you’re planning to pursue a degree at an online college or university?
If you’re considering pursuing an online college degree, or you’re just interested in balancing some of your classroom time with a few online courses, the most affordable option could be in your very own state. In-state tuition rates are designed to benefit state residents. Whether you’re attending classes on campus or online, that means you!
U.S. News & World Report notes that the average in-state tuition rate for a public university in 2021-2022 is $10,388. Out-of-state applicants will pay more than twice that rate, enrolling at a cost of $22,698 for the very same educational experience. As for private school students, you’ll be paying an average cost of $38,185 no matter where you go.
If you are considering an online college or university experience, finding a public school in your state could be the very best way to balance affordability and quality. To learn more, check out our Focus on In-State Tuition Rates.
Combining in-state residency with a search for the most affordable online college or university degree will likely result in your greatest savings on both tuition and related educational expenses.
When you attend a college or university that provides students with online classes, you’ll have a chance to save on an array of traditional student expenses like housing, meal plans, and physical textbooks. It also helps that you won’t have to get into your car, pay for gas, or purchase a parking pass just to get to your classes.
These savings all add up to an educational experience that gives you the most bang for your buck. As an online student, you’ll likely enjoy an even more affordable experience than in-state students attending traditional classes.
You can also take a look at The Most Affordable Colleges and Universities in the U.S., including a breakdown of the most affordable colleges and universities in every state.
Tuition rates aren’t the only advantage to staying in state.
While online classes provide flexibility and convenience, many students choose to balance this access with traditional on-campus learning experiences. This may mean taking some classes from home and taking other classes in a traditional university classroom. Or it may even mean a formally structured hybrid education, blending parallel online learning and traditional learning experiences.
Attending an online university close to home can also give you a chance to attend classes online while still participating in various elements of campus life, including cultural events and group study sessions with your classmates. There are even some fully online university programs that require a set number of school visits during the course of a semester. Living closer to your campus would obviously make this requirement a lot more manageable.
These learning options and opportunities provide several good reasons to start your college search in your own state. Indeed, by living close to the campus where your online education is headquartered, you may have various opportunities to be a part of your school’s physical community. In many ways, this is the best of both worlds—a convenient, flexible education and immersion into campus life only at your discretion.
Another reason that so many students choose online college close to home is because local community colleges provide a popular, accessible, and affordable first step into higher education. Many community colleges offer courses both online and in-person, but are largely designed to serve the members of their local communities.
This means that in-state tuition discounts will apply for online, in-state community college students. It also means that community colleges are structured to meet the learning and training needs of local students, from maintaining transfer agreements with public, state colleges to connecting students with internships, apprenticeships and career opportunities in the local community.
Once again, accreditation is essential when it comes to finding a reputable online college. This is especially true when it comes to earning an online associate degree. Both employers and four-year accredited universities prioritize job and transfer candidates with degrees from regionally accredited two-year programs.
To get started by earning an online associate degree from a community college nearby, check out the Best Community Colleges By State
For a leg up on the competition in your area, you may also consider looking for college admissions consultants who specialize in students, schools, and career options in your region. Start by checking out the best College Admissions Consultants and Counselors By State.