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Is Online College Worth It?

By DeVry University

March 16, 2022

5 min read

While the idea of whether online college can be worth it varies from person to person. Online education can be a viable option for those looking to change careers, pursue higher education or learn new skills or abilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a degree of any kind typically have higher weekly earnings and experience lower unemployment rates than people who only have a high school diploma.

While many people tend to think of online college as a relatively recent part of the education system, there is actually a rich history of schools providing online opportunities. At DeVry, we've offered online learning opportunities since 1998.

If you've wondered about enrolling in online college, you're not alone. It’s normal to have a few questions about the potential benefits of an online college experience. Because online education has been around for well over 20 years, many employers recognize that online degrees can be just as valid as a degree earned during an in-person program.

In this article, we'll take you through some of the advantages that an online college education offers, explore whether degrees earned online are different from in-person degrees and more in the following sections:

Advantages of Online College

Here is a quick breakdown of some of the advantages online education has over an in-person college experience:

    • Greater flexibility:
    • Online college gives you the opportunity to learn in a way that best suits you and your commitments. You can watch recorded lectures and work on homework whenever it fits into your schedule, rather than having to attend a class at a specific time. This makes online college a great choice for people who have jobs or who spend much of their day taking care of their family.
    • Fewer school-related expenses:
    • In-person college comes with some expenses, such as room and board if you’re staying on campus, transportation costs and meal plans to name a few. With online college, you're only paying for your classes and student resources, instead of those costs plus any supplemental expenses that are typical with an in-person learning experience.
    • Control over your timeline:

    Taking courses online gives you the chance to control the pace of your education. You can choose to enroll in a full-time course load or on a part-time schedule depending on what fits your needs.

Potential Disadvantages of Online College

On the whole, online college has very few downsides. While they are not exactly disadvantages, there are some factors that you may want to consider when thinking about pursuing an online education over an in-person one, including:

    • Less face time: 
    • While not everyone agrees on this point, some people prefer face-to-face interactions that are easier to get with in-person education versus an online one. On the flip side, advancement in video communication has helped improve our ability to meet with our peers and professors face-to-face in a virtual setting.
    • Time management skills:

     Some people may find that the more regimented structure of in-person education allows them to focus more easily. Online college relies on students keeping track of their classes and assignments themselves and may be more of a challenge if you struggle with time management. However, tips for online learning from students like you, or how to simplify your to-do list can be great resources to help keep yourself on track, along with school-provided support like tutoring and office hours with your professors.

Is Online College Cheaper than In-Person College?

As we previously mentioned, one of the reasons online college can be less expensive than in-person school is because it does not require costs beyond what you pay for your classes and student resources. Online college also requires no commute, parking passes or other travel expenses that can come with in-person schooling.

Aside from these, the cost of what you pay for either in-person or online school can vary due to a variety of factors, including any transfer credits that you bring with you, scholarships or grants.

The time it takes to earn your degree can also play a role. If you attend school, either in-person or online, a full-time schedule may allow you to earn your degree faster than attending on a part-time basis, since a part-time schedule can extend your time at school and potentially incur more cost.

Resources provided by the school that are built into tuition regardless of how you choose to enroll may also have an impact. At DeVry, some of the resources included at no additional cost are:

    • Tutoring
    • E-library tools
    • Counseling service
    • Online student communities
    • Networking opportunities
    • Resume and job search support

To learn more about the costs of studying at DeVry, visit our Tuition page.

Is an Online College Degree Different from an In-Person Degree?

Whether or not an online program is different from an in-person one depends on the school. At DeVry, an online college degree is no different from one earned through an in-person program. All of the information covered in our online college programs is the same as what’s taught in our in-person programs, and with the same level of detail and insight.

Start your Online Education at DeVry

At DeVry, we started offering online education in 1998, and since then we’ve expanded it to include a variety of online programs including business, accounting and healthcare. Classes start every 8 weeks, so you can attend school on a flexible schedule that fits you and your commitments. The next time you find yourself asking "is online college worth it?" we hope you’ll say yes. Contact us today to learn more about how online education works at DeVry.

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