October 17, 2021

Low cost/tuition online schools…they have been growing, what are your thoughts of long term prospects?

There have been a number of entrants into the online degree space whose tuition are at significantly lower price points than the majors.  Some of these have seen tremendous enrollment growth over the last year to two. In addition, they have remained (in many cases) extremely profitable.  What are your thoughts on these low price providers?  How do you think they will fare long term?  Will they be able to continue to grow with the high marketing/lead costs? 


  1. Hi Tom,
    As you know GetEducated.com does national surveys on the cost and affordability of online college programs. We then publish these as Best Buy rankings for consumers. The market has become extremely competitive. Consumers see cost as an essential brand differentiater and this is not an area where most for-profits are competitive. Consumers are using a cost-credibility index to judge how much any one online college is worth. Schools that are low in credibility but high in cost are in for some rough times in this next decade. Consuemrs will pay more for certain factors but if they have a choice between 2 or more schools and both are equally credible cost is now a tipping factor. –Vicky Phillips, GetEducated.com

  2. When I was first met with a group that had acquired a for-profit college in 2001 I was aghast that lead aggregators were charging $15 per lead. Today these leads are $40-$60 and higher, and the sellers boast that the conversion rate may be as high as 3%! I’ve concluded that only idiots – or schools with exorbitant tuition rates – are buying leads these days. But at Andrew Jackson University we stopped buying leads in May 2006 and have since more than doubles our enrollment. How did we do it? We have established relationships the “old fashioned” way: we went to them and met their employees or group members. We also lowered (yes, lowered) our tuition and then, eliminated it entirely through our unique sponsored tuition program. While a Merrill Lynch report said that schools spend between $1400 and $2700 per start, we are at around $200. And with the new American Opportunity Tax Credit even our semester fees and books can be almost 100% covered so a student’s net cost for three semesters is almost covered. We are, on the other hand, being attacked by some schools who either can’t figure out how to do something similar or are just a bit envious of our marketing approach. So what are the long term prospects for schools that provide quality education at low cost? Lokk what happened to a couple Japanese car companies that tried that approach starting back in the late ’60s…

  3. You would think that with all the expenses that are saved with online education enrollment costs should go down or the schools should be making more money. I think that is a step in the right direction to educating our population better in the US. Lower costs and more flexible schedules.

  4. Apart from nursing programs, cost is significantly lower in online education. Approximately, online university of phoenix bachelor’s degree costs $14820 annually where as online degree from private non-profit costs around $21235. Similarly in a four year degree at public college, cost hovers around 5000$ and in a two year public college degree cost is estimated to be 2000$. These are the approximate figures and may vary depending upon the online courses we take. Compared to traditional schools’ annual tuition fees, these figures are meager and give students opportunity to get quality education at a lower cost. However, reports suggest that cost for online schools is expected to rise sharply in future as more and more research is being conducted to develop highly sophisticated soft wares for this purpose.

  5. so far all ive found is colleges that are very accredited with very high prices and they really dont want to discuss the bottom line price of the education that i want. Once i do get the bottom line it turned out that even though some of them claim to have little to no out of pocket cost to the students it is in fact a lie. Let me explain if the student has to apply for a loan to get an education that is an out of pocket expense. if the student can not have their education covered by grants because the amount of the class is higher than the grants they get that leads to out of pocket expense. I believe they look at it like this if you get a loan its not out of pocket,however it is. For example the student has a spouse 6 children and 1 minimum wage job. their pale grant covers $5550 they then have to make up the rest thru loans which they will spend their income trying to pay off for numerous years. where do these colleges think that repayment comes from for there loans? how do you suppose a family that is already struggling is suppose to make ends meet to be able to take care of the debt for trying to provide a better future for their family? in short if they by some miracle pull off taking care of said loans their children are already grown and out of the house getting into debt theirself. its actually higher to do it online which is wrong simply because your not staying on their campus.

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