One thing that people often fail to realize is that personal finance advice in not cookie cutter information. Everybody’s situation is different and what may be appropriate for 99% of the people may not necessarily be the best for you. You need to take into account all the factors that are specific to you when you analyze the information given.
At the same time, you need to be careful not to make assumptions. Here’s a question. If you are applying for a job, do you think that it would make a significant difference in the prospect of getting job interviews if you have listed on your resume a graduate degree from a regular college or one from an online college? One guy did an analysis as best he could (what you have to do many times when it comes to finances) and came away with a surprising answer:
At the time I was considering where to go to get my masters, there were 17 jobs for which I would be willing to apply. So, I did what every reasonable person should do…
1. Broke down the money situation, how much it would actually cost me
2. Sent out 51 fake resumes to cross-analyze the interviews offered to individuals with degrees from different institutions.
Money Matrix: How much is it really going to cost me.
Where Tuition Length Deferred Income Total Cost State School 40K 2/yr 80K 120K Private School 59K 2/yr 80K 139K Online School 29K 2/yr 0 29K
The obvious winner here is the online school. Not only does it have the lowest costs, I can still keep my day job because classes can be taken at any time. It is pretty obvious at this point why people like online degrees. But, how many job opportunities will I sacrifice by doing an online program?
His test showed that he would get one less interview (15 vs 14) with the online degree versus attending a regular graduate program. He also noted that the online degree would allow him to continue to work giving him 2 extra years of work experience that may have contributed to the online degree resume getting job interviews. In the end, he would save approximately $100,000 by getting the degree online for the sacrifice of one less interview.
I believe most people that are faced with a similar situation would never do the research on their own. Many would probably assume that the brick-and-mortar degree was worth more (and could very well be in other professions) and worth the extra money.
By taking the information you have and using it to the best of your ability to figure out the results, you can save yourself significant amounts of money over making assumptions. You should make the effort to analyze all your financial decision in a similar manner. If you can approach all financial questions as he did with his education, your finances will be quite healthy during your life.