Whether your career is in communications or another field, an online Master of Arts in Professional Communication from Southern Utah University can help you pursue master’s-level job opportunities and earn the higher pay associated with such roles. According to the U.S. Department of Education, as advanced degrees have become more crucial for job seekers to have, they’ve also become more expensive to obtain.
Completing a degree program online not only provides scheduling flexibility, but it can also save students money in expenses, materials and transportation. Those savings are likely one of the reasons nearly 34% of students take at least a portion of their higher degree coursework online.
Cut Commuting Expenses
Brick-and-mortar universities may not be easy for most students to commute to and from, and there is likely a cost involved in the commute. Online degree programs don’t require a vehicle, gas or public transportation expenses, and can be completed almost anywhere. With AAA estimating the average annual cost of owning a vehicle at $9,282 — not counting the expense of a campus parking pass or parking and traffic fines — keeping transportation costs down can add up to big savings over the course of a year.
Reduce Materials Costs
Students studying online may be able to soften the sticker shock that comes at the university bookstore. Many online programs provide course materials electronically, eliminating the need to purchase physical textbooks or course packets. According to U.S. News & World Report, renting or buying an electronic textbook is generally less expensive than buying a hard copy, and that book can be accessed from any device. Many electronic textbook apps allow students to take notes and make highlights in course materials just as they would in a physical book, but without spending money on materials like notebooks, flash cards and highlighters.
Avoid Childcare Costs
Parents especially may find it expensive to attend a campus-based program. Young children require childcare while their parent attends class, and fewer colleges offer childcare today than in years past. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports the average annual cost of center-based daycare for an infant tops $10,000. Online classes may enable a parent to stay in the home with children while studying. Flexible online schedules may also help families share childcare responsibilities without having to pay for daycare.
Keep Your Full-Time Job
Commuting to a traditional campus can pose a challenge for students who want to keep their full-time jobs while studying for a master’s degree. An online degree program doesn’t require travel, making it manageable to fit into a student’s work schedule. Many students find online coursework allows them to stay employed as they earn their degrees.
More than ever, students’ time is valuable. Completing a degree online saves them the time they would have spent commuting to class and finding their way around a campus. That time becomes available for studying, independent projects, working a full-time job or attending to family obligations. Avoiding a long commute means more productive time in a student’s day.
Before choosing an online or traditional master’s degree program, prospective students should consider the costs associated with each. Those will vary based on an individual’s circumstances and needs, as well as the location and specific cost of each program.
Learn more about Southern Utah University’s online Master of Arts in Professional Communication program.
U.S. Department of Education: College Affordability and Completion – Ensuring a Pathway to Opportunity
National Center for Education Statistics: Distance Learning
Institute for Women’s Policy Research: Time Demands of Single Mother College Students and the Role of Childcare in Their Postsecondary Success