There are online degrees available for as little as $200 offered by such entities as Rochville University or Belford University under the rubric life experience degrees. These are not recognized nor are their accreditations recognized. Such degrees are not worth the paper they are written on.
As a general rule online degrees offered by public colleges or universities are cheaper than those offered by private schools. But among the for-profit online universities or colleges, the cost of a degree is more or less the same because of the intense competition for enrolments.
The problem with most for-profit schools offering online degrees is that they do not make public any information on their official rate charts. Their rates vary from year to year and from program to program. If criminal justice is more in demand in a particular year, the rates for criminal justice degrees will be higher that year than for years when the demand was less.
Rates also vary across programs. For example, in a particular year some school may charge higher tuition fees for criminal justice than even for technology programs if in that particular year the demand for criminal justice programs is more than that for technology programs. This rarely happens but this is a possibility.
Due to the lack of transparency, absence of public information on rates and the fact that schools rarely stick to a single rate chart year after year, it is very difficult to say which is the cheapest online criminal justice degree available. Once you have short listed a few schools from other more important considerations such as course content, faculty, number of enrolments, whether they include internships or other forms of practical training, whether the programs are fully online or are hybrids etc, you should look into the cost factor and find out from each of the short listed schools what they are going to charge you for the particular program for which you want enroll in.
This is the only reliable way to find out what the costs are really going to be. Also be careful to find out all the hidden costs other than tuition costs – such as cost of text books and study materials, cost of examinations, cost of getting the degree and transcripts etc. There may also be costs with regard to any specific software that you may be required to use and so on.
It is always good to remember however, that there is nothing called a free lunch. Always be careful about schools offering online criminal justice degrees at rates that are way below what most other schools are charging. You can be pretty sure there is some scam involved. It is generally safer to base one’s choice of school to such factors as reputation, number of enrolments, accreditation, course content, faculty etc than on costs. The cost factor should be considered last after you are satisfied about all the other more important factors.
A general guiding principle is that for associate level degrees the cost will be around $10,000, for bachelor level degrees the cost will be around $ 20,000 and for master’s level degrees the cost will be around $ 15,000.
Jim Greenberg recommends you visit the Online Criminal Justice Degree Guide for more information on cheap online criminal justice programs. See http://www.ocjdg.com/2006/02/which_online_un.html for more information.