Count the Cost


No doubt many would agree with the following statement made by the late South African president, Nelson Mandela: “ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can change the world.” As with any weapon or tool, caution should be used not only for its procurement, but the cost as well.

Education is not getting any cheaper, as we are all painfully aware. According to Bloomberg, in the last 30 years, a college education (degree program) has increased by 12 fold or 1120 percent since the year 1978. These facts are reflected as the national student loan debt is pushing in on the $1 trillion dollar mark. 

 Most forms of media, including the internet, television, radio, phone, and newspapers, shower us with advertisements for advancing our education. Many of these adds are from the private online college or university sector, which has dramatically increased over the past few years.Texas Famous A&M University   Texas A&M University 

Typically, one may choose from the following to receive additional credits or classes with the aim to achieving a certificate or degree. There are: junior colleges, state universities, and online private (for profit) colleges, which in many cases offer brick and mortar locations. Each style of school has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Cost should be one of the largest factors to consider.  

The best bang for the buck for many of us are the junior state colleges. Some offer pre $100 level per credit hour pricing, not including books, and other fees. Universities, such as ASU (Arizona State University), will cost you well over $300 per credit hour while the University of Nebraska (UNL) offers residents as low as $216 per credit. Similar pricing per unit of education for their online divisions are available. These prices do not include school supplies such as books or living expenses. 

By far the private online college sector, often with their physical classrooms have gained a large percentage of students in the past 25 years. They offer many advantages. One of the largest attractions is the ability to pursue your classes and homework on your own schedule. With this unique advantage, many  have even received even associates or bachelors degrees.  Some of these facilities offer doctorate programs as well. However, this comes at a price.One of many campuses of the Kaplan University.   Kaplan University. Well known for their           online programs.

 Most all of thesecolleges and universities offer similar pricing for their online courses and degree programs. Listed below are two of the better known online universities and their tuitions. Please keep in mind, there are variables in determining the price of an education. Prices are affected by the program you may choose.  These prices reflect only the per credit hour tuition. Most colleges do have other fees:

  • Capella University: Per Credit Hour        $505   -   $768
  • Devry Universithy      Per Credit Hour + $500   -   $609

An individual who is considering this form of education may want to count the cost first. Devry and Capella do state their tuition amounts in fairly bold print. This cannot be said of many of the online colleges. The majority of these education centers will not even hint at their cost until you fill out a questionnaire form with your name, email address, and yes, your phone number. So expect some calls from their admissions department.  

Finding the true cost of an education is not only important, but smart. Examining an institution’s tuition may be a good start. Remember, someone has to pay for it, and that someone is you. 

Mr. Mandela was correct, education and the furthering of it is a powerful tool. With a little homework, you may save a great deal of money. Always use caution and count the entire cost, and do not let anyone rush you into making a decision that could financially haunt you. A good tool or education should benefit you and your loved ones for many, many years to come.