What to Know About the Cost of Online vs. In-Person Degrees


When you pursue a bachelor's or master's degree, you invest time, effort, and money into your future. Weighing the cost of earning your degree online vs. in-person classes is a crucial part of achieving your educational goals. Many students find online learning affordable and flexible. You don't have to pay for many on-campus expenses and can attend online classes from anywhere.

DBU offers Christ-centered education to undergraduate and graduate students in three different modalities: online, in-person, and hybrid. To help you better understand the total cost of earning a college degree, let's compare the cost of online college with the cost of traditional in-person learning for obtaining DBU bachelor's and master's degrees.

Comparing Online vs. Traditional In-Person College Degree Expenses

More students are finishing college, with increases in completion rates for all starting institution sectors, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Online learning is popular. Over 4.4. million (or 28%) of all undergraduate students took distance education courses exclusively in 2021, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This percentage is nearly double the 15% of undergraduate online students in 2019.

One distinct advantage of getting an online degree compared to taking in-person classes is that online students can attend course sessions anywhere in the world with access to reliable Internet. But what about your financial bottom line? Is the cost of online college vs. traditional in-person instruction less?

Typical expenses for online and in-person bachelor's and master's degree programs include:

  • Tuition.
  • Books and course materials.
  • Equipment and supplies such as a laptop, pencils, pens, and notebooks.

Additional in-person undergraduate and graduate program expenses include:

  • Housing.
  • Meal plans.
  • Gas and transportation-related expenses to and from campus.

Online college students save on room and board, on-campus meal plans, and travel-related expenses because they don't have to physically go to campus to attend classes.

Cost of DBU Online Bachelor's Degrees vs. In-Person Bachelor's Degrees

The Center for Online Education named DBU one of the 10 best online Christian colleges. The same faculty members who teach face-to-face classes teach the DBU online classes. Therefore, online students receive the same Christ-centered, high-quality education that on-campus students receive.

How does the cost of getting an online bachelor's degree from DBU compare to that of a traditional in-person DBU bachelor's one?

Tuition and yearly fees for incoming first-year in-person DBU students for Fall 2023 who take 12-18 credits for fall and winter/spring semesters is $38,240 (this figure also accounts for housing and meal plans and does not include financial aid). Exclusively online bachelor's degree students pay less.

DBU’s exclusively online bachelor's degree students can save money on the following:

  • On-campus housing and meal plans.
  • Certain fees don't apply to online students.
  • Commuting expenses like gas or the stop for a morning coffee on the way to class.
  • Reduced tuition, DBU’s new Online Only Bachelor's Degrees are offered exclusively online for only $495 per credit hour.

DBU's exclusively online students can choose from many of the same undergraduate majors as in-person students. Online students pay the same tuition rates as in-person students for bachelor's degree programs that are not part of the Online Only exclusive bachelor's programs.

Undergraduate Cost of Attendance

The Cashier's Office posts the most current DBU cost of attendance information. Undergraduate tuition rates for Fall 2023/Spring 2024 are as follows:

  • Full-time: fixed-rate (block tuition) of $18,255.00 per semester for 12-18 credit hours. Credit hours taken in excess of 18 will be charged $1,217.00 per credit hour on top of the flat rate.
  • Part-time (less than 12 credit hours): $1,217.00 per credit hour

The overall cost for each student's bachelor's degree will vary according to an individual's program length, transfer credits, fees, and financial aid. You can use DBU's Net Price Calculator to estimate first-year undergraduate student costs.

Cost of DBU Online Master's Degrees vs. In-Person Master's Degrees

Earning your master's degree opens opportunities for professional advancement and personal growth. DBU's online graduate programs integrate faith into every part of your educational journey and experience. Many students complete a master's degree program in two or three years.

Online graduate students can save on the same in-person expenses, such as on-campus housing and meal plans. DBU also offers new Online Only Master's Degrees at a discounted rate of $550 per credit hour.

The total cost of earning an online or in-person master's degree will vary for each individual student, as it does for bachelor's degree students. Financial aid can also reduce master's degree costs.

The DBU Fall 2023/Spring 2024 graduate program tuition rate is $1,271 per credit hour. See the Cashier's Office website for housing, meal plan, and other cost of attendance rates for graduate students.

The Bottom Line

Whatever educational path and learning format you choose, you are investing in your future.

DBU bachelor's degree and master's degree students will receive the same exceptional instruction for online and in-person classes. The total cost of a bachelor's degree or master's degree will vary for each student. Financial aid may reduce total out-of-pocket expenses for either type of degree.

Overall, online programs offer savings opportunities on many in-person traditional campus learning expenses. DBU is here to answer your questions, help you achieve your academic goals, and fulfill your spiritual calling. Feel free to request more information about pursuing your college degree at DBU.

Explore More

Student working on a tablet at the DBU coffeehouse Pros and Cons of Getting a Bachelor's Degree Online

If you’re considering an online bachelor’s degree, you may be wondering if it’s the right decision for you. This list of pros and cons can help you decide.

college student with laptop studying DBU's Online Degrees: Pros and Cons for Christian Students

Weigh the pros and cons of online learning and see how DBU's online degree programs can help you achieve your goals.

Young business student diligently studying on a laptop outdoors 7 Reasons to Take DBU’s 8-Week Classes to Get a Degree

Working adults in Dallas need flexibility to pursue a bachelor’s degree. DBU’s 8-week classes in Professional Studies can help you reach your goals. Here’s how.