Redlands Business & Society Blog

News and Views from the University of Redlands School of Business & Society

What makes a degree affordable?

Most colleges and universities claim that their degree programs are “affordable.” What does affordability mean? In the spirit of transparency, we explain the various costs and pricing models that universities implement to price their total cost of attendance. 

What to Look For

When researching your options, we recommend looking out for: 

1. Student fees 

Many universities implement fees that cover costs to run certain aspects of the institution. Common types of student fees include the application fee, enrollment or matriculation fee, student association fees, technology fees, and health insurance fees. These fees should be a transparent line-item list that tells you whether they are one-time costs or ongoing costs. When student fees are included, the total cost of attendance will increase, regardless of the tuition rate.  

This is an area of confusion for many students when looking at the cost of attendance—determining which fees are one-time fees or an ongoing rate. With the nuances and intricacies involved with determining fees, we recommend speaking with your financial aid counselor to help you determine your estimated total cost of fees.

2. Tuition rate 

When calculating your total cost of attendance, the unit rate matters significantly. The majority of graduate programs charge their tuition on a "per credit" basis. We suggest looking into the fine print to determine the rate in which tuition is charged. Some universities charge a “per course” rate, while others may only list a “per term” rate, usually by semester or quarter.  

Did you know?

At the University of Redlands, we have dedicated enrollment counselors who provide step-by-step direction and support. We provide a tuition estimator to help you determine your cost of attendance. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your specific needs.

Your Cost of Attendance 

Cost of attendance is calculated depending on your unique situation. For example, do you need to pay for student health insurance or technology fees? Are these required fees or optional fees?

1. Total cost of attendance 

Your total cost of attendance is the full sticker price of your degree. This can be a challenging amount to calculate, so we recommend working through this cost with your financial aid counselor.  

2. Net cost of attendance 

Your net cost of attendance is the true cost when accounting for any tuition discounts and scholarships that you have received.  

Once you have established the total cost and net cost of your attendance, you can determine whether a degree from a specific university is truly affordable. If an institution has a high net balance, student loans may be a factor in determining the affordability of your degree. Institutions that have a low net balance based on your calculations will likely be the most affordable option.   

Tuition and Fee Transparency

At the University of Redlands School of Business & Society, we are fully transparent about our tuition and fees. You can find more information about our affordable master’s and bachelor’s degree programs below. 

Give us a call at 888-999-9844 or schedule an appointment today to discuss your specific needs, potential tuition discounts, and scholarship opportunities that we offer.