In the past, there was a great deal of scepticism around online learning. Today, however, open learning has emerged as a viable choice for many students. With online learning moving into the mainstream, students can enjoy convenience without sacrificing quality. Not only is online learning recognized as a valid path to higher education, it can also be a more affordable choice for students looking to earn a degree while meeting other obligations, especially when compared to brick-and-mortar education. Here are some ways that online learning might benefit you financially.
1. It can be cheaper than a full degree. The traditional path to the workforce for many includes earning an undergraduate degree. People used to look as traditional degrees as fail-safe investments that would lead to a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle, but economic realities have changed. The last five to ten years have seen a shift toward alternative credentials, such as online certificate programs, which provide training in real-world skills and technologies, at very affordable costs, which many students may find a better choice.
2. It can be much more relevant to your career than brick-and-mortar education. Much of the curriculum in traditional institutions is irrelevant to the real-world of work. Higher education still views academic training as intellectually more rigorous than solving the types of problems that professionals deal with on a daily basis. As a result, online training, whether taken as part of a degree program or not, often teaches concepts you can apply at work the next day.
3. It allows you to earn a living while enhancing your future prospects. For many students, especially younger students with few marketable skills, concentrating on their studies full-time in a traditional environment is the obvious choice. However, putting your career on hold to go to school is not always the right choice for mid-career professionals. Always remember to add in opportunity cost—the cost of the earnings you would lose out on due to not working. Avoiding that gap on your CV can save you a great deal of money in lost earnings in the long run.
4. You don’t have to fit commuting into your schedule. Making your class schedule fit into your work schedule can be hard work, especially where long commutes are involved. Open learning means you can avoid the hassle of commuting to school after work. You’ll get more out of your education and earn better grades because won’t have to waste hours getting to school every day.
5. Finish your degree faster. If your goal is complete an undergraduate or graduate degree, taking online courses will streamline the process. No commute means you’ll be able to take more classes and get more work done. Getting through faster means you’ll be able to reap the benefits of your achievement sooner. You may be able to get that pay bump or promotion after graduating.