KIRKLAND, Wash., April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The average student loan borrower graduates with over $30,000 in student debt, which can often take decades to pay off. Yet, it doesn't have to be that way. Especially considering the remote education surge, many affordable online options do exist, but the overwhelming number of colleges and resource sites can make it difficult to identify, narrow down the field, and compare options.
Unfortunately, it is also difficult to obtain accurate tuition information for these online options. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) only provides reliable tuition costs for campus-based degree programs, yet many college ranking sites rely on this data to rank online degrees. As online tuition rates can actually be half the cost of on-campus rates, prospective students are met with misleading information on what they can expect to pay.
Optimal's OnlineU is clearing up this misinformation by manually researching tuition rates for online degree programs, today announcing the launch of their 2021 Most Affordable Colleges rankings using this data. The company researched 40,576 tuition rates to compile the rankings for the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, providing a more accurate resource for online students to easily compare schools based on cost and degree level.
"In studying the data from over 40,000 tuition rates, there were some surprising and valuable findings. While campus tuition for private institutions is generally around double the price of public schools, OnlineU's data showed that online programs from private institutions are only about $1,000-$2,000 higher than from a public school, at the bachelor's and master's level," said Sung Rhee, CEO of Optimal. "Additionally, IPEDS out-of-state tuition rates can be more than double what an online student would actually expect to pay."
OnlineU is also releasing its first-ever Best Affordable College rankings, highlighting affordable options that also have notably high post-graduate salaries across programs. Incorporating the metric Salary Score, first introduced earlier this year on OnlineU's sister website GradReports, the rankings allow students to quickly and easily compare colleges based on alumni salaries in the year after graduating, colleges whose program offerings outperform the same programs at other schools.
"OnlineU hopes to help students evade overwhelming debt by providing accurate, updated tuition rates and Salary Scores for online programs," said Rhee. "We want to show students that there are many affordable options out there with strong returns."
In the upcoming months, OnlineU will be extending its rankings to include the most affordable online degrees by state, as well as updated rankings by major. For more information, please visit: https://www.onlineu.org/.
Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers. The company provides over 85,000 in-depth student reviews, as well as college and bootcamp rankings for every major through its three major products, OnlineU, GradReports, and SwitchUp. Optimal's tools and services provide accessible and transparent financial data regarding cost and earning potential that give students educational paths that lead them to success, without burdening them with insurmountable debt. https://www.optimal.com
Nicole Hopler, Optimal, (425) 605-8898, [email protected]