The ongoing recession has many laid-off and underemployed workers considering getting another degree or new training in another field. But the continually increasing cost of tuition, combined with financial responsibilities in an already strained economic climate, has many wondering if they can afford to make the investment. Even first-time college students may be reconsidering whether it really is worth it to take out such a high debt load when faced with such bleak job prospects upon graduation.

Online education has become an option for many of these students, offering the flexibility to continue working. But many online programs cost as much, if not more, than many private colleges and universities. At least one college promises the best of both worlds: the convenience of online education without the hefty price tag of a four-year degree. Now we’ll get into the StraighterLine Review.

$99 a Month

StraighterLine offers online courses for college credit for an enrollment fee of $99 per month. Each course that you sign up for then costs $39. Over a typical six-month semester term, tuition is lower than at most other colleges or universities. However, students who in enroll in courses with Straighter Line have the option to accelerate their learning by taking the courses on their own time line. Students can, therefore, take as many classes as they like and complete them as quickly as they.

If you have fewer classes to take, there are other payment options, including longer-term college courses for $399, or an entire freshman-year curriculum for $999.

College Credit

College Credits for $99 per MonthCourses taken through StraighterLine do not automatically result in college credit or lead to a degree or certificate. The program itself is not an online accredited college, but it works with partner colleges to offer credit, and the courses are eligible for credit from colleges that accept courses evaluated by the American Council on Education’s Credit Recommendation Service. You can apply for enrollment through a partner college right away, or you can apply to any college you like after you are done taking the courses, and then apply for credit.

StraighterLine has relationships with 25 partner colleges, many of them online programs.

Is it For You?

While courses taken at StraighterLine are eligible for college credit, you must remember that not all colleges will award credit. Some colleges will only grant partial credit, and some may grant none. Even if all of your StraighterLine courses are awarded credit, you cannot apply to a college and transfer all the credits required to receive a degree at that institution. In other words, to earn a degree from any college, you are going to have to take classes at that college and pay some tuition there. If you transfer to an online program, this may not be an issue in terms of time, but it could still end up costing you quite a bit of money.

However, if you are trying to earn your degree in as little time as possible, or if you have little patience for the traditional academic track, then taking these courses might be right for you. Even though you have to transfer the courses to get credit, the fact that you are able to take them more quickly and pay less in tuition for them means that you’ll be getting your degree more efficiently.

Before committing to any program, carefully consider how it will impact your career plans for that degree. Make sure you are receiving a degree from an accredited institution, and be sure that your degree will be something that gives you an edge over your competitors.

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