Columbia Southern University (CSU), who celebrates 30 years in online education this year, is inviting degree-seekers to try its do-it-yourself online college cost comparison calculator. The university developed the calculator to provide transparency to those seeking an affordable online degree and to empower degree-seekers to compare the tuition and fees of various institutions’ online degree programs to CSU’s. The college cost comparison calculator is the first of its kind in the higher education space.
“Information is power,” said CSU Chief Marketing Officer Dale Leatherwood, who led the calculator development team. “By equipping Americans with the information they need to compare the true course costs of two colleges, we are empowering them to pursue their higher education goals on their terms.”
In the wake of today’s economy, the true cost of earning a degree has become increasingly relevant. EducationDynamics’ 2023 Online College Students Report found the most important factor in enrollment decisions by far was the cost of tuition and fees. Additionally, respondents stated the most sought-after information (58.8%) on a college’s website is the tuition cost. The second most sought-after information (54.8%) is available programs and the third most sought-after information (53%) is the cost of fees.
“Fees can add anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars to the cost of a course, and these costs are usually not easy to find when researching a degree,” said Leatherwood. “In just a few seconds, CSU’s calculator provides accurate, up-to-date information on both tuition and fees for online degree courses. By including required course fees and tuition in every result, the true cost is available to anyone.”
Boasting more than 60 colleges and more than 1,100 online degree programs in its database to date, the cost calculator allows the user to input their degree level of interest, online program of interest, college/university and the number of courses for comparison. The data can be verified through direct links noted within the findings. Leatherwood pointed out that the database used for the calculator was created by visiting each college’s website individually.
“CSU’s calculator was developed using standard part-time, per-credit pricing to ensure all of the comparisons are apples to apples. We included colleges with large online student populations, as well as those with online programs that are in high demand or match programs similar to CSU’s. We will continue adding schools and programs to the calculator on a regular basis.”