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As the world of higher education reopens, you or a family member may be contemplating, “Should I go back in person, should I try distance learning, or how can I make getting a degree less expensive?” There are options. Whether you no longer want to travel across the country to attend your dream school or whether you want to save some money and get part of your degree at a local school, here are some tips on how to make that happen.


In Ohio, the price difference between a four-year college and a two-year college averages close to $2600.00 a semester. If you can attend a community college for the first two years of your education you can save, on average, $10,400.00. But will those credits transfer or have you achieved a two-year Associate degree and now have to start over at the four-year college or university of your choice?

Look Into Transfer Credits

Back in 1989 Ohio started what is called a transfer model so that students would know what credits transferred between schools in the state. A lot of the private colleges and universities in Ohio also accept transfer credits. There are two websites that are most helpful to the student in determining which credits will transfer to which school. Those are and On the state-run site, navigate to pages “transfer college credit” or “transfer guarantee reporting system” and choose the “course equivalency comparison” option. On the website, you can look up the course requirements at your school and then the similar courses at the transfer school that are eligible for transfer. You will want to discuss your plans and transfer of school credits with your academic advisor before making any final decisions.

While attending a college or university in person can give the student ‘the college experience,’ it may not be feasible or practical in this current era. So, are you stuck attending a local college or can you still attend the distant school you dreamed of? You can take courses online from several colleges and universities until you are ready to attend in person or maybe get your degree remotely. If you are already attending a college, whether in-state or not, you could take classes in person or remotely at a local community college and have them transfer to your current 4-year college or university. You will have to do your research and work with your academic advisor to ensure that the classes you are taking will transfer to your current school. 

If you are a recent high school graduate and are uncertain about going away to your 4-year college or university one of the safest ways to continue your education and save some money is taking classes online at a local community college. You will want to make sure that the credits you are taking will transfer to the school you will attend later. Several of the state colleges and universities have partner programs with local community colleges to blend the work at the community college seamlessly into the degree program you choose at them. Look into these options with your high school advisor. 

Virtual Education

What if you really want to be part of a ‘classroom’ experience but with the recent changes are unsure that you can attend in person? Online learning is changing as the schools adapt to the situation. Some are offering virtual classrooms instead of solely independent online learning. 

You can get a quality education and save money. When deciding how to pursue higher education you have more options than ever before. Be sure to do your research and develop the learning system that works best for you. 

Adapted from the Plain Dealer July 5, 2020 article on page B5

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