An online education may not necessarily be cheaper for students. According to a study from Hanover Research, the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree is $43,477, while the College Board reported that a student going to an in-state public university would spend around $35,000 for the same degree.
Hanover Research examined data from 699 colleges and universities in the Peterson’s Distance Learning Database. It found that nearly 9,000 online certificate and degree programs were being offered by the institutions. Business, health fields, and computer sciences were the most popular undergraduate programs.
An online graduate degree costs $21,959, according to the Hanover analysis. The College Board data showed that similar grad programs cost $15,000-$20,000 when taken on campus, depending on the length of the program.
The total cost represents tuition paid over the entire program and doesn’t include any financial aid. It also doesn’t represent all online universities. For instance, students only have to pay exam fees to earn degrees in business administration and computer science at the University of the People, while Thomas Edison State College allows students to earn credit for free online courses through a credit-by-exam program.