Like most prospective college students, you’re thinking about earning your degree online. Beyond the added flexibility, online programs nationwide can offer you better bang for your buck vs. traditional programs. But staying in-state can drive the cost of your education down even more and provide a range of other benefits. Don’t believe us? Read on for the top reasons to stick with an in-state school for your online degree and find a quality, accredited online college near you.
Explore Online Colleges in Your State
If you’re curious about the online programs your state offers, the map below makes it easy to explore what’s available. Learn about top accredited online colleges near where you live by clicking on your state below.
Why Go to an Online College Near You?
Although it may seem like the whole point of online college is that your school selection isn’t limited by geography, attending one in-state can often be the best choice. No matter where you live, odds are good that there are some excellent colleges with online programs. Opting for a college near you can be a smart move financially and open up opportunities that wouldn’t be available from a school in another state. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of earning an online degree near you.
Your tuition could be significantly less expensive.
For most students, cost is the number one consideration when selecting a school, and a higher bill doesn’t always mean better education. Many colleges extend in-state discounts to online students, which can save you thousands of dollars. Online tuition at Oklahoma State University, for example, is just $180.55 per credit hour for in-state residents but significantly more at $697.90 for non-residents. If an online program in your state offers in-state discounts, you’ll see a benefit right away for staying in your home state for your education.
You have access to in-person support when needed.
Attending a school halfway around the world sounds exciting until you need help from a live person. When you attend a program in your home state, though, getting advising help or answers to questions from professors is much easier and quicker. If your school is especially close to where you live, you can seek support face-to-face when needed, and being in the same time zone means that you can attend office hours or call the school without having to wake up in the middle of the night.
There may be an option to take some of your classes on campus.
If you’re looking for an online college in your state, you’re probably trying to avoid commuting to campus all the time. Don’t sleep on the opportunity to take some classes in person, though, since hands-on courses like chemistry labs can be more exciting and valuable if you can perform the experiments yourself and especially so if you’ll be doing lab work in the future. Likewise, challenging courses like advanced math might be easier to manage if you have a professor and classmates to meet with face to face.
It may be easier for you to find networking opportunities.
Your college can be a valuable resource when it comes to internships and job prospects. If your school is on the opposite side of the country, though, their networks might not have much to offer you locally. By choosing an in-state college, you’ll have more opportunities to connect with mentors and internship opportunities in your area. Not only will the connections be local, but you’ll be able to meet with them face-to-face and maybe even spend time with them at their workplaces, potentially moving into a job after you graduate.
You’ll likely feel a stronger connection to your college and classmates.
Although you’ll be attending class online, attending a school within your community helps you stay connected. You can participate in on-campus events, seek in-person advice and support, and build real-life connections with other students. By enrolling in a local program, you can combine the convenience of an online degree with the sense of connection and community that comes with an in-person college experience. Even if your school isn’t right in your backyard, attending a school in-state means you have a shared sense of place and culture with your classmates and professors.
You can be confident your program meets your state’s standards for licensing and certification.
If your dream job involves nursing, teaching, or any other career requiring a state license or other professional certification, studying in-state is the best way to ensure you’re eligible for positions in your state after graduation. Education requirements and approved institutions vary significantly from state to state for most certifications, but in-state schools have the right curriculum and instructors familiar with the licensing process. The online Accounting BS from SUNY Plattsburgh, for example, is guaranteed to meet the eligibility requirements for the New York State CPA exam. If you plan to become a CPA in Wyoming, on the other hand, you’ll be more prepared for licensing through an online Accounting Degree from the University of Wyoming.
You’ll be eligible to receive state and local financial aid.
Nearly all state governments offer state financial aid programs, including grants and scholarships, to their state’s residents. However, you must attend a college in-state to be eligible for many of these aid programs. There are scholarships and financial aid opportunities if you attend college out of state, but staying local offers more opportunities to finance your education.
You may be able to access on-campus amenities and facilities.
If you’re close to campus, you can often take advantage of on-site facilities and perks while studying online. For example, online students at West Virginia University can access the school’s mental health counseling, tutoring, and career services, and distance students at the University of Wisconsin Platteville can opt into a fee that covers discounted daycare, free sports tickets, and access to health services. The opportunity to partake in on-campus services and events can save money and help you feel like a part of the campus community.