College costs are on the rise, outpacing the rate of inflation nearly five times over. The percentage of household income needed to pay for college today is as high as 29.3% in some states, a rate that hovered around 7% in 1980. Yet a college education remains a key requirement for career advancement and higher earning potential. Full-time workers with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of 84% more over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma.
Affordable Colleges Online (ACO) began in 2012 with two primary goals.
First: to make college more affordable. Although we can’t pay for tuition bills or offer financial aid directly, we can help students and parents identify colleges, degree programs, scholarship opportunities and more that fit their respective academic and financial wants and needs. Finding higher educational opportunities that hit the cost and quality sweet spot shouldn’t be harder than getting Bigfoot on film.
Second: to spread the importance of accreditation. Whether learning on campus or online, accreditation is a vital component of making sure a student receives a quality education that employers (and other colleges) will accept. With so many non-accredited institutions and degree programs out there, removing them from college search parameters is key.
ACO creates in-depth resources that address topics, questions and concerns related to higher education with an eye on affordability and accreditation. Resources include comprehensive guidebooks, student interviews, user-friendly search tools, federal datasets and other materials created and vetted by experts in their fields. Speaking of experts, our extended team includes six PhDs and more than twenty journalists, editors and subject-matter specialists with master’s degrees or related educational credentials.