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“How Much Money Can You Save at an Online Seminary?” By Linda Graber

Students in ministry continue to graduate from undergraduate colleges and universities with increasing debt. As tuition and interest increase each year, students without scholarships are adding to their school debt. More students are beginning to investigate online seminaries versus traditional campus settings before beginning their master studies. There are several reasons a student can save money by attending an online seminary.

1. Online Seminaries do not require travel saving a student transportation expenses. A student will not have campus parking fees for an online seminary. There are a few programs requiring travel to campus for scheduled seminars throughout the year. Transportation costs for a fully online seminary are zero compared to commuting or living on a traditional campus.
2. The saying, “time is money” is another reason online seminaries can save a student money. Attending an online seminary gives flexibility to the student while choosing their own schedule for completing classroom assignments. The student has the opportunity to work on their daily time schedule and not on the school’s schedule. A student will have more hours to work outside of the classroom and be able to spend more time with family and friends.
3. Online seminaries generally cost less than a residential seminary. The majority of the teaching staff serves in adjunct positions, saving the school the additional costs of employee benefits and helping keep tuition lower for the students. Some online seminaries do not have the expense of maintaining campus facilities. There are no fees for lawn maintenance or snow removal in the winter months.
4. Online Seminaries save the students extra clothing expenses since a student can study at home, sometimes in their pajamas, with their flexible schedule. Students do not have to dress professionally to attend an online classroom.

5. Many online seminaries allow a student to take one course at a time with a “pay as you go” plan helping students avoid adding to their school debt. Many online seminaries allow students to purchase textbooks available on electronic readers such as the Kindle and Nook, saving money by avoiding purchasing costly printed textbooks. With an online seminary, there are no additional student fees, cost of living on campus, meal plans, concert, sports fees, or computer lab fees.
6. One word of caution when choosing an online seminary always read the fine print when making application for admission to the seminary. Sometimes online seminaries charge extra fees to use the online classroom. It is best to ask questions and do your research before choosing an online seminary.

If you want to save money, consider attending an online seminary. It may be the easiest way to avoid adding to your educational debt.

Linda Graber is the Director of Alumni Relations & Ministry Partners and Academic Coach for Rockbridge Seminary. She has a Master of Ministry Leadership from Rockbridge Seminary and is working on a Master of Divinity.