Calculating Your Cost to Degree

Total Cost Calculation Guide 

Students exploring different pathways to a degree should consider the total cost of the degree as an important factor in making a sound decision. Knowing the cost of your degree will help in making important financial plans, assessing estimates for student loan needs, and in finding a program that will be a valuable investment.

Questions for Gathering Total Cost Information

The questions below will help in gathering information about a degree’s total cost, regardless of the university you choose.

How many credits/courses are required in the program?

To determine the number of credits or courses in a program you should begin by researching the program’s website. Often this information can be gathered there or through contacting the program coordinator or program advisor directly (if contact information is provided on the website). Some things to consider:

  • What are the number of credits/courses in the major?
  • What are the number of elective or general education credits/courses required?
  • What pre-requisites are needed that I might have to take before beginning the program?
  • Generally, how many credits are each of the courses?
  • Are there different tracks or specialties within the program that influence the number of courses/credits required?

How many quarters/semesters will it take me to complete the degree?

To determine the number of quarters/semesters it will take to finish the degree you should consult with the program website to see if there are any curriculum plans posted to help in planning your approach. If not, consider your own schedule and whether you can take courses full time or part time. Some things to consider:

  • Is the program in a quarter or semester system? (hint: OSU is in a semester system)
  • How many courses/credits can I realistically take in a quarter/semester?
  • What events or responsibilities in my life may influence the number of credits/courses I can take each quarter/semester?

How much are the administrative costs of attending the university?

Most universities will charge various fees, such as; application fees, enrollment fees, technology fees, resident or non-resident fees, etc. Typically, the university’s registrar site will include descriptions of fees. Some things to consider:

  • What are the university’s one-time administrative costs (application fee, enrollment fee, etc.)?
  • What are the university’s administrative costs that are charged per quarter/semester (Tech fees, non-resident fees, general fees, etc.)?

How much are the costs of completing the program?

Most programs have their own set of tuition, fee, and material costs in addition to university costs. Often this information will be found on the registrar site or directly on the program’s web page. Be sure to consider how many quarters/semesters you anticipate it will take you to complete the degree. In some cases, you can drastically reduce total cost by completing your degree faster and in fewer quarter/semesters, particularly if there are many quarter/semester costs.

  • What is the tuition cost per course or quarter/semester (some programs may charge by credit while others apply a flat rate depending on the number of credits taken)?
  • Does the tuition cost vary if I am full time or part time?
  • Does the tuition cost vary if I am a resident or a non-resident of the state?
  • What other program fees are charged per course or quarter/semester?
  • What costs might I incur in preparation for internships, clinicals, labs, licensure, etc.?
  • What proctoring or identity verification fees exist within the program?
  • What are the estimated costs of course materials per course or for the program as a whole?

What is my estimated total cost to complete this program?

Knowing that costs may change during your time enrolled in the program, determining an estimate will give you a sense of what to expect. To compute your total cost consider the answers to the questions you researched above. Depending on your program, track, and number of semesters to completion, add together the administrative and program costs. Once you have an estimate of total cost, you can consider your options for paying for your education. The university’s Student Financial Aid website will be a great place to explore in more depth.

For more information on how much a degree from Ohio State Online will cost you, visit our Tuition and Fees page