By definition, “affordable” means something doesn’t cost a lot of money. Many master’s students might believe that tuition defines what’s affordable for college. But there’s more to finding an affordable online MSW degree that looking for the lowest tuition. Other factors that play a large role in the total cost of an education include:
Academic fees and expenses.
Many schools are under pressure to keep tuition low. But the cost of attendance has steadily increased. How is that possible? Schools do this by adding or increasing the costs of expenses besides tuition. For example, schools may charge technology fees, activity fees, academic advising fees and so on. Then there is the cost of books, supplies and housing. This is where online programs can really save money, as distance learning master’s students don’t have to worry about living in a dorm, and they often don’t have to pay full price for hardcover textbooks – they get all their materials online for a nominal fee.
At most schools, students are expected to prepay for their education each term. Schools can make their programs much more affordable without lowering the cost by simply allowing master’s students to pay for their courses over time. Whether it’s breaking up a semester’s worth of tuition over multiple payments or allowing students to pay for each class, one at a time, the ability to spread out the cost of an education over time can make it more obtainable.
Availability of financial aid.
Most students, regardless of where they attend school, will have access to certain sources of financial aid, such as from the federal government, state government and private organizations. But many forms of financial aid are exclusive to a specific school. This is especially true with scholarships and grants, where many schools and programs have awards specifically allocated for only their students. These are typically awarded based on need or academic merit. Many have no formal application process; admitted students are automatically placed into consideration when they accept the school’s offer of admission.