Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:14 am
The Independent Florida Alligator
Students looking to save money on a college education can consider swapping conventional classrooms and on-campus housing for an online program or a commute to campus.
Fifty percent of parents said they would consider having their child commute while living at home, according to a new study from Fidelity Investments. An even higher 54 percent said their children should take courses online.
UF might make a parent’s money-saving strategy a reality. UF Online will offer a full bachelor’s degree program completely online.
UF spokesman Chris Moran said that with UF Online, in-state students will have a 25 percent discount on tuition. But he said the admissions standards are still the same.
“This isn’t a consolation prize,” he said. “This is the same UF education, the same degree, the same rigorous standards. It’s just a different way of delivering it.”
Another alternative way students try to save money is by living at home and commuting.
Yasmeen Shanata, a UF public relations junior, commutes about 10 minutes to campus from her home in Gainesville to save money.
Although Shanata, 20, might be earning back some cash, she said her college experience is different than a student who lives closer to campus.
“I don’t feel like I’m very connected with the campus,” she said. “You’re more independent when you live in an apartment.”
Jordan O’Connor, a UF health science junior, said she feels more independent now that she is no longer a commuter. The 20-year-old commuted to UF as a freshman from her home in Ocala as a personal preference rather than for financial reasons.
However, after deciding to live closer to campus, she said buying fuel for her gas-guzzling Jeep turned out to be the same cost as living in Gainesville.
Both O’Connor and Shanata said socializing was one of the main differences between commuting and living close to campus.
“I pretty much had no social life,” O’Connor said. “I had friends while I was in classes, but outside of that I didn’t really hang out with anybody.”
A version of this story ran on page 4 on 9/10/2013 under the headline “Commuting, online classes save students money — at a cost”
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:14 am.