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Low-Cost Degrees Making Headway

While the cost of tuition continues to soar at higher education institutions across the country, universities and colleges are experimenting with creating lower cost degrees by going online.

Western International University recently announced that various undergraduate and graduate level degrees can now be earned online for about half the cost of regular tuition.

“Institutions that provide flexible, cost-effective, online learning options are becoming increasingly vital to the working adult population and to our nation’s workforce development goals,” Tracy Lorenz, president of Western International University stated in a press release.

Additionally, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) recently introduced a low-cost online graduate degree through a partnership with MOOC provider Udacity.

At a stunning 80 percent reduction in price from regular tuition, Georgia Tech’s online Master’s of Computer Science program is expected to start in the fall of 2014.

“At the moment, we’re just doing this in computer science,” Rafael Bras, provost at Georgia Tech, told Inside Higher Ed. “We’ll wait and see. I believe this is quite appropriate for professional master’s degrees but I also believe it is less appropriate for non-master’s degrees and certainly for other fields.”

In addition to greater affordability of degrees, it is expected that these online low-cost credentials will provide more flexibility and access for students, especially working adults.

“I think it’s important for higher education to open access to people who can’t get access,” Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Udacity, told Inside Higher Ed.