These days, nearly everything is available online, including the opportunity to earn a college degree. When it comes to education, the more ways we can get a good one, the better, so bringing higher learning to a high-tech world only makes sense.
Some people cannot attend classes in person and others just don't want to, so for those who still desire a college education, opting for online is the way to go. It may not be traditional, but in this fast-paced, ever-changing world we live in, before long, online may become the new norm.
If you are not sure if an online education is right for you or you would like to learn some of its benefits, here are some stellar reasons to log on and learn.
It's Less Expensive Than a Traditional College/University Experience
Boy is college expensive! Even community and state schools cost a fortune. Without financial aid, loans, or scholarships, many people just cannot afford to go. Rather than ditch the idea of getting a degree altogether, folks with financial limitations can seek out more affordable options online.
According to Straighterline, "You can save hundreds of dollars to get your degree when you're learning online. The traditional costs associated with using classroom space and equipment don't apply. As long as you have the right hardware and software to log on and complete course assignments, as well as study the material, there are big savings you realize right away."
There are other practical savings perks too, as Montgomery College notes. "Consider what it would cost you in gas and parking each month if you were driving to campus. Consider the costs of eating out versus eating at home. Consider the costs for child-care, pet care or any other kind of care that you need to provide while you are away from home. Consider the costs of missing work to make classes or not being eligible for a promotion because you can't attend classes to advance your educational level."
There's a Wide Range of Courses to Select From
When you attend a college in person, there are a variety courses to choose from, but there are limitations depending on the size of the school as well as its focus. This puts restraints on what you can study, and in turn, what sort of career you will one day be prepared for.
As per Open Education Database, "No matter what students wish to study, from nursing to neuroscience, they can find online the courses or degree programs they need. They can also earn every academic degree online, all the way from a career certificate to a doctorate."
"Whether it's algebra, English composition or even biology lab work, there's a course you can take online. You can even study humanities, sociology and business administration," Straighterline adds.
You'll Have More Flexibility
With online education, you can learn at your own pace, at any time of day or night, weekdays or weeknights, after work, or when the baby is napping. You can take as much time as you need to earn your degree or speed things up and move on to the next stage in life. Take one course or take a bunch. Online, flexibility is a major perk.
For instance, as per Straighterline, "If you work non-traditional hours, you don't have to lose sleep, arrange for childcare or waste time commuting to physical classrooms."
Open Education Database adds, "Students can study and work when they are at their peak energy, whether that's early morning or late at night. Course material is always accessible online, so there's no need to schedule special trips to a library either. All of this makes online learning a good option for students who need to balance their work and family commitments."
It's a Lesson in Prioritizing and Self-Discipline
Not only does online learning teach you coursework, but it provides an important lifelong lesson in discipline and prioritization. You are fully accountable to show up, do the work, and retain the information. There's no physical classroom where the professor will mark you absent, so it's up to you to show up for yourself.
Learning to manage your schedule and keep on top of things responsibly is not only valuable for college, but in all areas of life. As per Montgomery College, "The motivation to study in an online course comes from you. It's something we call student-centered or active learning. The online student takes responsibility for their course of studies and matures into an individual for whom learning and accomplishment are highly valued. In short, your success depends on you!"
Are you interested in learning online but don't quite know where to start? Consider OnlineSchoolScout, "a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison features." They have released their top five featured schools with online degree programs for 2018. #1 is Ashford University with 70+ online bachelor's degree programs. And if you opt to attend college in person after learning online, you can transfer up to 90 approved credits. Check out OnlineSchoolScout's other top picks and see if one is the right fit for you.
Learning is power, and education can be powered up right at home.
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.