Want to save on college? Ditch dorms, campus

To lower the cost of college, more parents are suggesting that their kids skip dorm life, and perhaps even the campus altogether, Omaha.com reports.

According to a recent study from Fidelity, 54 percent of parents expect their children to take online courses for credit. Half of parents say they’re considering having their child live at home and commute.

The number of students taking online courses has spiked. Since 2010, online college course enrollment has jumped 29 percent, according to Columbia University’s Community College Research Center. Now, 6.7 million students (roughly a third of all college students) are enrolled in online courses.

Stanford University made headlines two years ago when it began offering a noncredit, open enrollment class on artificial intelligence. More recently, Georgia Tech created a stir by announcing that next January, it will offer a master’s degree in computer science that will cost just $6,600.

Online courses are the latest push to make college more cost-effective says Ben Kaplan, a college financing expert and publisher of the website CityofCollegeDreams.org. Students have long had methods of acquiring less-expensive credits and applying them to pricey universities — starting out at community college and transferring, for instance, or studying abroad for a year.

Now, with added online options for school, that strategy has become more accessible.

Students choose online courses for a variety of reasons, not limited to cost, says Susan Hanflik, an educational planner who advises families on their college choices.

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