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Is online learning cheaper for students?

Going to college can be costly, but can online learning really help students save money? Tuition, books or perhaps being unable to work as many hours while attending classes are all things that students must consider.

A recent study by the WICHE Cooperate for Educational Technologies (WCET) suggests that online learning, while thought to save money, can actually be more expensive. However, Robert Ubell, Vice Dean Emeritus of Online Learning at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, begs to differ. As someone who has copious knowledge of the online learning industry, perhaps he has a point.

Ubell indicates that the WCET study is based on very limited terms. It does not take into account that on-site students spend money on travel to class every day and when they get there, they may buy breakfast or coffee on campus. Students might take advantage of a campus gym membership that is covered in their traditional brick and mortar college tuition. They may use a meal plan, also usually included in tuition (read: students have no choice but to pay for it).

Additionally, Ubell explained to Inside Higher Ed that the costs in the study do not take into account “parking, dormitory, grounds maintenance, [and] security,” which remote learners do not have to worry about. Further reinforcing the point, Ben Nelson, program director of Minerva Schools at KGI, tells US News: “Students pay less because the school doesn’t have to maintain facilities like libraries or cafeterias, subsidize sports teams or pay for amenities like climbing walls.”

Online learning may not be for everyone and the courses may have higher tuition, but tuition is certainly not the only thing to consider. Online courses can offer convenience to anyone with a busy life. Whether a student does online, hybrid, or on-site courses, ProctorU can help with any online test proctoring needs. ProctorU has monitored over three million exams since 2008. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit  

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