Financial Counseling Services at Affordable Online Universities

college counselor helping student

Key Takeaways

  • Financial counseling services are important in navigating online educational expenses, including allocating funds and avoiding large sums of debt.
  • Online universities with financial counseling services provide personalized approaches to addressing financial challenges, debt management, and financial planning.
  • You gain financial literacy through consistent counseling services, a skill necessary to control your finances for a successful future. 


Overview of the increasing popularity of online education

The popularity of online learning started in 2012. However, the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst, propelling online education into the mainstream and highlighting its importance in ensuring continuity of learning during times of crisis.

Yet, years after the surge of the pandemic, when everything went back to normal, enrollment in online courses did not decrease. It continued to grow as more students recognized the inherent benefits and flexibility offered by online learning.

Although online degree programs have a reputation for being more affordable, prospective applicants should still consider comprehensive financial counseling services. Hence, there is an increasing demand for online universities with financial counseling services.

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Importance of financial counseling services for online students

A university must provide financial aid guidance for online students, a service that can significantly enhance their educational journey. This is particularly vital as tuition costs rise and college dropout rates are alarming.


Many students aspire to pursue higher education, but the burden of high educational costs often deters them. They are questioning whether the debt they’ll accumulate will be worth the investment. Consequently, the US is witnessing a substantial decline in college enrollment.

Online universities that promote financial planning resources for e-learners are important because they help students:

  • Navigate the complexities of funding their education and maximizing financial resources in online education.
  • Gain valuable budgeting skills and strategies for managing expenses effectively while pursuing online education.
  • Obtain student loans while avoiding excessive debt accumulation.
  • Embrace good financial habits early on, setting them up for financial success beyond college.
  • Reduce the stress and anxiety caused by financial uncertainty, decreasing the number of university dropout rates.

Online Universities Offering Financial Counseling Services

University of the People

The University of the People truly stands to its name. UoP is known for its ‘tuition-free model,’ which doesn’t charge online students a dime for instruction, books, or campus fees. UoPeople can maintain its tuition-free policy due to several factors:

  1. It is 100% online with zero on-campus requirements.
  2. It uses technology to cut administrative costs.
  3. Professors of the programs use Open Education Resources, which results in completely free course materials.

However, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely free.

UoP does require students to pay certain fees to cover administrative expenses and examination processing, such as application fees and an assessment fee for every course students complete. Nevertheless, UoP could still save students up to 95% compared to the total cost of attending a traditional brick-and-mortar university.

Here’s a breakdown of the total fees to earn a degree or certificate at UoP:

  • Associate Degree: $2,860
  • Bachelor’s Degree: $5,660
  • Master of Education: $4,610
  • Master of Business Administration: $4,860
  • Master of Science in Information Technology: $4,860

You may doubt UoP’s credibility. But fear not: It is currently accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. It is also a candidate for a Western Association of Schools and Colleges regional accreditation. Moreover, UoP’s academic leadership includes top academics from world-class institutions like New York University.

UoP still offers opportunities to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. You can transfer credits with a minimal fee per accepted course and apply for grants and scholarships from the university’s organizational partners.

Additionally, UoP offers various financial counseling services. This includes financial aid guidance and budgeting assistance for online learners, which includes resources and tools for budget planning and tips and strategies for saving money and minimizing expenses.

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

Southern New Hampshire University has one of the strongest online presences, offering over 200 degree programs leading to diplomas, certificates, and degrees. It also offers one of the cheapest tuition fees, with per-credit-hour costs for undergraduate and graduate degrees of $330 and $637, respectively.

Additionally, SNHU strongly promotes financial literacy for online students by providing them with various financial counseling services. SNHU is committed to helping students reduce debt and achieve financial stability by equipping them with the information and resources they need to navigate the loan application process wisely.

SNHU is renowned for its personalized student loan advising at online universities. Their advisors provide one-on-one counseling and support, guiding students to understand their loan options, make informed borrowing decisions, and create plans for managing loan repayment after graduation.

Another important service at SNHU is its debt management services for online students. This service helps students manage existing debt and develop repayment strategies, whether they’re dealing with student loans, credit card debt, and other financial obligations.

Western Governors University (WGU)

If you’re looking for an online university that provides a tailored approach to skill development, consider Western Governors University. The university has become increasingly popular due to its competency-based education approach. According to a study, competency-based education improves student learning, perception, growth mindset, and retention and allows easy credential stacking for employer alignment.

WGU is also an affordable online university with tuition rates of $8,010 for a bachelor’s and $8,444 for a master’s. Prospective students can also enjoy WGU’s various financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, tuition discounts, and payment plan options.

Due to the various financial aid offerings, students may get confused and overwhelmed when navigating the application process. Fortunately, WGU is committed to providing support and guidance to help students understand their options and make informed decisions about financing their education.

WGU’s financial counseling services help students strategically allocate funds and find the perfect scholarships for online education. As a WGU online student, you’ll speak with a financial counselor who will provide comprehensive information on various scholarships. You’ll receive full support and guidance in identifying which scholarship opportunity aligns with your qualifications.

Benefits of Utilizing Financial Counseling Services

Improved financial literacy among online students.

Financial literacy is very important, especially today’s skyrocketing inflation rates. Students with financial literacy are better equipped to handle their money and make informed financial decisions.

Both educational and living expenses are becoming costly, which calls for effective resource management. You should be able to understand the consequences of debt, including credit card and student loans, and manage it responsibly to achieve your academic and professional objectives.

Assistance in managing educational expenses effectively.

Financial counseling services will provide valuable assistance in managing educational expenses online. You can better navigate the expenses of tuition fees, technology requirements, and other related costs.

Financial counseling services will help you create a budget tailored to your circumstances. It will also help you better understand where your money is going and identify areas where you can potentially save or reallocate funds.

Support in making informed financial decisions for the future.

There are financial counseling services that offer services beyond managing current educational expenses. The best of the best will also provide services that support students in making informed financial decisions for the future. Working with a financial counselor can give you a deeper understanding of personal finance principles such as budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt.

Tips for Maximizing Financial Counseling Services

Regularly scheduled appointments with financial counselors.

If your chosen university offers unlimited consultation with financial counselors, take advantage of it. By scheduling regular appointments with your financial counselor, you ensure you have dedicated time to discuss your financial concerns, receive personalized advice, and track your progress toward your financial goals. These sessions allow you to address any changes in your financial situation and adjust your plan.

Utilize online resources and tools provided by universities.

Most academic institutions provide abundant digital materials and tools to enhance students’ financial literacy and successful money management. These materials frequently consist of interactive seminars, articles, tutorials, and budgeting calculators that address various financial matters. Using these tools, you can enhance the content of your financial counseling sessions, get a deeper comprehension of important ideas, and develop useful money management skills.

Take advantage of workshops and webinars on financial topics.

Attending workshops and webinars is a great way to increase your financial literacy, learn new money management techniques, and network with industry professionals. These events equip you with knowledge on investing, debt management, retirement planning, and budgeting.

Furthermore, workshops and webinars are a great addition to traditional financial counseling services. They frequently include useful pointers and practical recommendations that you can readily apply to your financial situation.


Importance of Financial Counseling Services at Affordable Online Universities: A Recap

Pursuing an online degree at universities offering financial counseling services is important for developing financial literacy, which is an important key to success. These services help make online students’ lives easier by helping them seek and strategically allocate funds for their education.

Prioritize Your Financial Well-being

As mentioned earlier, the cost of higher education—even online degrees—is increasing rapidly. If you don’t prioritize your financial well-being, you’ll have a higher chance of dropping out and having a hard time recovering from your debts.

Financial literacy is more than just about managing your expenses during your college years; it’s about equipping yourself with the ability to make informed financial decisions. You’re laying the groundwork for a stable and prosperous future by prioritizing your financial well-being now.

Additional Resources

Here are quick links to each university’s Financial Aid Office pages. To connect with the institution’s financial officers and inquire about counseling services, you can contact the email addresses on their websites.

Recommendations for further reading on financial management for online students

Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

Targeting millennials, this book provides a refreshing take on personal finance, tackling issues like budgeting, saving, and investing in a relatable and engaging manner.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

A classic in financial literature, this book contrasts the financial philosophies of two fathers – one rich and one poor. It offers valuable lessons on wealth-building, asset accumulation, and the mindset required for financial success.

Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need

Grant Sabatier provides students with strategies for wealth accumulation, including reducing expenses, bargaining for raises, launching side projects, and making wise investments for financial independence.

Your Money Life: Your 20s

Expert in personal finance, Peter Dunn provides readers in their twenties with doable advice and methods for eliminating pointless debt, paying off school loans, and developing efficient budgets.