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Tuition Payment Plans at Online Schools

written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 12/27/2010

If you’re paying for your own education, you may especially need to find online schools with tuition payment plans. Fortunately, a growing number of colleges offer this financial benefit to distance learners.

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    An increasing number of online schools with tuition payment plans make it a lot easier for adults to realize their dreams of higher education. Paying off the cost of one or more courses over one or two semesters can make it much more attractive to return to college, especially if you're not eligible for financial aid. With few exception, starting a payment plan at a participating school is usually an easy process.

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    If you pursue education through schools with tuition payment plans and don’t pay your bills, you will usually be prevented from registering in the future until the matter is rectified. In some cases, you may be withdrawn from your classes. If you don’t fulfill your financial obligations to a college or university, the educational institution will not forward your transcripts of grades to you or any other party.

    You may also be reported to the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion; this could damage your credit for seven years. So, before embarking on an installment plan, ensure your personal spending plan really can handle the payments as well as any books or supplies needed for your course(s).

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    East Carolina University

    The Division of Continuing Studies at East Carolina University located in Greenville, North Carolina enables students to pay their tuition and fees through an installment payment plan. Fall semester tuition must be paid in five installments; the same general rule applies to spring tuition payment.

    ECU offers a range of online courses and programs including undergraduate degree completion programs in fields such as business or communication and graduate certificate programs in literature and library science.

    As of 2010, North Carolina residents pay $100 per undergraduate credit hour or $162 to $262 per graduate credit hour depending upon the course. Non-residents will pay anywhere from $466 to $788 per credit hour.

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    Montana State University

    Montana State University located in Bozeman, Montana offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate online courses as well as programs. A graduate student might pursue master's degrees in areas such as nursing, science, and education or a certificate in Native American Studies. Undergraduate programs include an addiction counseling certificate. MSU offers many courses that can be transferred to other colleges or to programs on its brick-and-mortar campus. As of 2010, course prices ranged from about $335 to $1,335.

    Students seeking a payment plan must pay an initial application fee of $30 and immediately make the first installment payment. The payment schedule, which applies for the fall and spring semesters, required three more installments to completely pay the outstanding bill.

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    Western New Mexico University

    Western New Mexico University located in Silver City, New Mexico is one of the available schools with tuition payment plans for its courses and programs. The university offers master’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies; admitted students must concentrate in two or three fields from areas such as education, political science, English, writing, psychology, and history. WNMU also offers online undergraduate degrees in rehabilitation services, criminal justice, and nursing.

    All payment plans require a 10 percent initial down payment and a $25 application fee each semester. Fall and spring classes must be paid in four equal payments. Summer classes can be paid through the installment plan but require two equal payments.

    During the summer session, residents and non-residents pay the same tuition fees, which are respectively about $200 per credit hour. However, in the fall and spring semester, online-only students who are not New Mexico residents can only take up to six credits without paying out-of-state tuition fees. A non-resident student who takes more than six credits in the fall or spring semester could pay about $560 per credit hour.

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    As distance education grows in popularity, the number of online schools with tuition payment plans will likely increase. Remember to save all receipts associated with your education; you may be able to use them for personal or business tax deductions. Always seek the advice of a tax professional before assuming your college costs can be deducted from your taxes. Above all, be sure to enjoy the flexibility of the online learning process.

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    • "East Carolina University."
    • "Montana State University."
    • "Western New Mexico University."