Most recent headlines suggest higher education is becoming less and less affordable. Even tuition for some online colleges is becoming out-of-reach. A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics confirms that the average tuition of colleges and universities has more than doubled in the last 20 years.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In the UW Flexible Option, we’re writing a new headline: It’s possible to earn an accredited, affordable online college degree or certificate that fits your budget.
UW Flexible Option programs are competency-based. Competency-Based Education, or CBE, is a self-paced format of learning where your progress through your coursework is based on your mastery of the content, rather than how much time you spend in class. These 100% online programs allow you to leverage your existing knowledge and skills to move faster.
So, what makes the UW Flexible Option such an affordable path to earn a college degree? Three things: we set your tuition low, we lock in your tuition once you start so it won’t increase, and we provide a variety of student-friendly options to pay as you go.
Step 1: We set your tuition rates low, with no extra segregated fees.
UW Flexible Option programs feature flat rate tuition. You take as many online classes as you are able in a 12-week subscription period for a single cost. We call this the “All-You-Can-Learn” option. Since it is a flat rate, the more courses you take in a subscription period, the lower your cost-per-class becomes and, better yet, the quicker you graduate.
Some UW Flexible Option programs offer a one-course-at-a-time tuition as well, for those students who want to go slower or who want to focus on one specific class in a subscription period. This format costs 50% less than the all-you-can-learn tuition rate.
Best of all, there are no segregated fees with UW Flexible Option programs. These are fees universities typically charge on top of your tuition. Common examples are a technology fee, student union membership, and fees for other campus-based services. UW Flexible Option has no segregated fees beyond tuition, which saves you hundreds of dollars per course.
Compared to the national average tuition and fees of four-year institutions, UW Flexible Option programs are 45% less expensive. That means more of your hard-earned dollars stay in your pocket, and you have to take on less debt to finance school. And since you control your pace, your total cost-to-degree could be even less.
|National Average||UW Flexible Option|
|Tuition & Fees for One Year*||$16,318||$9,000|
*Rates are reported as full-time equivalent annual enrollment, national data from 2018-2019 school year.
Get a UW Flexible Option Degree Guide
Download an introductory guide (PDF) to the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option programs, including details about costs, admission requirements, and more.
Step 2: We won’t raise your online tuition
Not only do we set your tuition low, we also won’t raise it once you start the program. That’s the Flex Tuition Guarantee. Our innovative tuition promise means your tuition rate is locked in until you graduate. Even if our institutional tuition rate increases, yours will stay the same as long as you are regularly enrolled.
What’s more, after you are admitted to your program of choice, you’ll work with your Academic Success Coach on an Academic Plan of Study. This document is your roadmap for how you’ll earn your degree, showing you the exact classes you need to take based on your goals and transfer credit. Knowing your tuition will never increase, you can determine your total degree cost right away based on your unique path-to-degree. If earning your degree will take six subscription periods—the timeframe in which coursework is completed and tuition is paid—you’ll be able to calculate and budget for your entire degree’s cost.
Step 3: You can leverage financial tools to help fit earning a degree into your budget
UW Flexible Option provides various options that keep you in control when paying tuition:
- Payment Plans. These are available for programs at UW-Milwaukee. You can break your tuition into two payments. Many students use this to pay for tuition out of pocket without having to save up the full tuition amount in a single month’s budget. UW-Parkside and UW-Madison programs do not currently offer a payment plan.
- Financial Aid. Most UW Flexible Option degree granting programs are eligible for federal and/or state-based financial aid (certificate programs are ineligible). Financial aid is an umbrella term that includes both loans and grants. While financial aid works differently in the UW Flexible Option—since we don’t use traditional semesters—you can still access this funding based on your eligibility. Visit our financial aid page to learn more.
- Workplace Reimbursement. If you’re thinking about returning to school, reach out to your HR department to learn what tuition reimbursement options they offer. Tuition reimbursement from employers is more common than you think—most UW Flexible Option students reported using some amount of it in a recent survey. If you don’t know if you have this option, be sure to ask! Our bursar’s office will work with you and your employer based on your needs.
- Veteran’s Benefits/GI Funding. Veterans of U.S Armed Forces and active duty service members may use their educational benefits with UW Flexible Option programs. To learn more, visit our website.
Ready to finish your degree? Call one of our enrollment advisers at 608-262-2011, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more about these innovative programs and how you too can fit them into your budget.