The world has evolved, and students now have more than one option when it comes to college classes. Traditional classes have been around from time immemorial. But, the digital era then brought about online courses, and now you can choose between these two. Cost is one of the main factors people consider when selecting learning institutions. Most students who go for online classes do so because they believe that they are cheaper than the traditional ones. Let’s look at whether or not that’s true.
A. Expenses of online classes compared to brick and mortar
Let’s face it; online learning institutions incur fewer costs than a traditional college or university classes. For example, an institution operating online does not have to construct, pay for, and maintain a physical campus ground. If they do, then it’s a small office where they operate from and not a large campus area with numerous buildings. Also, institutions operating online get spared the enormous expenses of paying many administrative employees, yet brick and mortar institutions cannot escape this cost.
Students who attend physical classes spend a lot of time at the institutions. That means they need books, security, and amenities such as health centers, research libraries, recreational areas, and other services like legal, counseling, and various students’ associations. All of these services require money. Traditional learning institutions thus have to share their operating costs with students in the form of tuition. Therefore, regular classes become more expensive than online courses.
One of the reasons students love online classes is because their physical presence is not required, and this has its benefits. For example, if I have a lot going on in my life or I have a class that takes too much time, yet it’s not directly relevant to my major, I can get someone to take my class for me. Those studying in brick and mortar institutions do not have this luxury.
B. Housing and food costs
If you are taking online classes, then you don’t have to change your accommodation. You can continue living with your parents or staying where you are and go on with your life. However, when you go to a traditional campus, you have to incur housing costs. Paying for a house or a hostel increases your costs. The Urban Institute released a report indicating that college living costs are twice as high as they were in 1980 to the extent that they have outpaced inflation. The report also showed that the high price of room and board has made college unaffordable to many people. When you study online, you don’t have to worry about student housing and the expenses that come with it.
With traditional campuses, you may also have to buy food from cafeterias, and this is more costly compared to someone taking online classes since they prepare their meals at home. If you are commuting daily to your school, you may not need to pay for housing, but you will incur transportation, fuel, and parking costs. Either way, you will spend more than someone taking online classes.
Both traditional and online learning institutions have their benefits and drawbacks. However, if you are comparing the costs, then online learning is cheaper, as discussed in this article. The fact that online learning institutions do not have to maintain numerous amenities means that they can keep their costs low. That’s why you also pay lower fees.