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Can a Cheap Degree be a Good Degree?

When it comes to finding a college program that offers a great return on investment (ROI), it’s worth considering the value of a cheap degree. So-called “cheap” degrees are often met with suspicion by students and their parents, who assume that a higher cost equates to a higher overall program quality and better outcomes after students graduate with their degrees. This is not always the case, however. In fact, some of the best schools in the country offer “cheap degrees” to in-state students who take advantage of resident tuition, public education funding, and lucrative state grant programs. These and many other reasons provide the basis for a cheap degree that is also a very, very good degree in terms of long-term value and ROI.

Some of the Best Schools are “Cheap” Schools

America’s Ivy League steals much of the spotlight when it comes to prestigious college degrees and glowing reviews in major publications, but they’re not the only game in town for students who want a prestigious diploma to add to their list of achievements. In fact, many public schools have been called “public ivies” because their programs result in the same lucrative job offers and networking opportunities. For example, Penn State offers its in-state students a significant discount on tuition, generous state and university grant programs, and access to the largest paid alumni association on the planet. All of these great benefits come in at a significantly reduced cost when compared to private schools, where tuition is two or three times higher. The same is true of other state flagship institutions, ranging from the University of California system to the University of North Carolina.

Value is a Good Thing to Find in the Admissions Process

Many things need to be considered when deciding what constitutes a “good” degree, and value is certainly one of them. Today’s students can easily go into nearly six-figure student loan debt if they don’t choose a program with the right raw cost and long-term value. Many in-state programs offer students fully accredited degree program with a large alumni network, but also enhance that value with in-state job connections, networking groups, and a strong on-campus recruiting presence. Plus, lower tuition means that students will pay off their student loans faster and enjoy the freedom to follow unique job paths, pursue home ownership, and take on other challenges sooner than their peers in costlier programs with a less beneficial ROI calculation.

Unique Learning Environments Make Cheap Degrees Even Better

Many of the most affordable degrees are now offered in either hybrid or online formats, allowing students to get an even better value when it comes to pursuing an advanced degree. Online formats allow students to live at home while completing degree requirements, while hybrid programs reduce commuting time to campus and still boost the ROI of the finished program. Furthermore, students who choose a hybrid or online degree will have more time to work a part-time job or pursue numerous internships, enhancing their ability to land a job after receiving their diploma. This low-cost option bodes well for many students who are looking to avoid the pitfalls of student borrowing.

A Cheap Degree is Good for Many Reasons

Price does not dictate quality, and that’s something to keep in mind when looking for the best combination of price and long-term value of a college or university. Prospective students can find both price and employment value of a cheap degree that would be harder to find in more expensive programs throughout the country.

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