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In-Person vs Online College Classes – And How to Pay for Tuition

Sara Cantu
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Online education has taken the world by storm over recent years. Even before the coronavirus pandemic uprooted life for millions of Americans, many students grappled with the prospect of attending college online. Now, it seems that a growing number of recent high school graduates are faced with whether in person vs online classes is right for them. Whether or not online education is a feasible option for you depends on several factors.

Given the health risks associated with large gatherings during a time of a global pandemic, there are understandably a large number of students wondering whether it is even safe to attend in-class instruction. The answer is still unclear. What we can be certain of, though, is that millions will soon be faced to choose between in person vs online classes and how to afford college altogether.

There, of course, are pros and cons to both in-person classes and online degrees. Knowing these can help you make an educated decision about how to choose the right college and which path of instruction to pursue. Here are a few benefits of attending in person vs online classes.

Flexibility

A big perk of attending class online is the flexibility it allows. Many online degrees are available at your leisure, meaning you decide when to attend class and work on assignments. This flexibility is particularly valuable for students who are working full-time or part-time jobs or those with family responsibilities such as caring for children or a family member. The flexibility provided by online classes helps millions of students juggle it all each year while working toward a degree.

Accountability and Responsibility

Taking online classes requires a great deal of responsibility and effort. While flexibility is a significant perk for many students, so is the emphasis on accountability. Given that students aren’t required to get up and attend class each day, it can take a large amount of willpower to perform tasks successfully when there is no one to hold you accountable except you. Learning the value of these during the college years can pave the way for a stronger work ethic after graduation and later in life.

Minimal Disturbances

One of the drawbacks of in-class instruction is the prevalence of distractions. It’s easy to let one’s mind or eyes wander in a room full of students, which can lead to a lack of focus and concentration. One benefit of online instruction is that you can work in the privacy and quiet of your own home, free from the actions of others that may hinder your productivity, such as noise level.

Affordability

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of online learning is the cost savings. Although many private universities may still charge high tuition fees for online learning, many public and state universities keep a different pricing structure that sees tuition based on credits, which can prove more affordable. It’s important to note, however, that online learning can carry unforeseen costs like books and supplies. Be sure to factor this into the total cost of your degree when planning how to afford college.

Cons of Online Learning

Despite the many benefits of online learning, there are still some negative aspects associated with virtual learning. Some of these include:

Lack of social interaction

While many students prefer the peace and quiet an online degree affords them, some find the lack of human interaction a drawback. With an online education, students may miss out on the true “college experience”, which is often filled with social engagements and group interaction.

Another drawback many students find in dealing with online education is the lack of face-to-face time with professors. Many students find in-class lectures beneficial for learning, as they are able to freely ask questions and receive timely responses. Online learning, however, may require back and forth communication, which can be difficult when time is of the essence. In-class learning also lets professors get to know students on a deeper level, which can lead to more meaningful understanding and engagement. This is something lacking with online learning.

How to pay for college tuition

Deciding how to afford your college tuition can be a struggle no matter which instructional path you choose. However, there exist a variety of options to help soften the load for students, one of which is through borrowing student loans. Student loans make it possible for millions of students to get their degree each year, but not all student loans are created equal. Determining whether to take out federal vs private student loans is something many students are faced with. It’s a sad fact that still, many may find their loan terms aren’t feasible for their lives post-graduation. In this event, there is student loan refinancing. Student loan refinancing is an increasingly common tactic borrowers are using to simplify their financial lives after graduation. Refinancing student loans through a private lender can make paying off student loans easier, relieving many students of the financial stress that comes with life post-grad.

At the end of the day, whether online learning or in-class instruction is better is a matter of personal preference. While millions of students thrive through online learning, there are others that find the system to be inferior to in-person instruction. Whether you decide to attend college through in-person instruction or an online program, private student loans are a great way to supplement your tuition. And once you graduate, student loan refinancing can help you save money to start investing in your future.

Finding the best deal for student loans

Figuring out how to attend college and pay tuition during a worldwide pandemic can be stressful, even in the best of times. Comparing your student loan rates is just one way to ensure you’re making wise decisions when it comes to financing your education.

You can start by using our Compare Rates Tool, which can help you determine which lenders have the best offers for you. You can also look to our Purefy blog to learn more about private student loans and how they can impact your financial future.

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