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The Super-Cheap Masters Degree That Could Revolutionize Higher Education

Georgia institute of Technology is about to rock the realm of higher education. The college will open up an online masters degree program in computer science for just $6,600 – that's $38,400 less than typical out-of-state tuition for the same degree on-campus.

(Photo Credit: Will Folsom / Flickr)

Roshan Khan, a product manager for Google and 2006 Georgia Tech grad, believes the move could revolutionize post-graduate education.

"I think higher education overall is fairly broken and exceedingly expensive, so I appreciate that they’re changing the business model," says Khan, who's now enrolled in the University of Washington's Professional Masters Program. "But also, this is only a masters degree. People still have to earn their undergrad degrees. What this will probably do is become a very competitive offering for people looking to obtain a masters from a respectable school."

He's probably right. Until now, the nation's top schools have taken a careful, if not detached, approach to the massive open online courses (MOOCs) movement. MIT, Harvard, Yale and Stanford put a bunch of classes online for free, but don't offer a legitimate degree for those who finish. 

Education author Tony Bates recently noted that until elite colleges start rewarding MOOC students with a bona fide diploma, “we have to believe that they think that this is a second class form of education suitable only for the unwashed masses.”

Slate's Gabriel Khan says universities typically charge the same rate for online classes as those held on brick-and-mortar campuses in fear of devaluing their education offering.

"Drop the price of the online degree, the logic goes, and you could have a Napster-like moment sweeping college campuses," he writes. "Revenues spiral down as degree programs are forced to compete on tuition. That’s a terrifying prospect for universities, which have depended on steadily rising tuition — growing at more than twice the rate of inflation — to cover costs."

Roshan Khan says that's why it was smart of Georgia Tech to come out with a cheap, all-online masters degree as opposed to an undergrad offering.

"That means you still have to earn your bachelors, you still have to pay for school the traditional way," he says. "But who knows how much even that will change. I think in 10 years, higher education will look completely different than it looks today."

Tell Us What You Think

What do you think of Georgia Tech's decision to offer a masters degree for a rock-bottom price? Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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3 Comments

  1. 3 David 10 Aug
    Both Bob (point using this one degree as marketing to bring in more to the GIT) and Judy made the same point. Yet how is GIT making it low cost to reach that level?  If 2+2 =4,(for non college algebra)  why should it cost more at one school versus another to learn the concepts. The US should fast track two year programs with a standard requirement and lower cost.  Is the math professor at GIT subject really that different from Alabama professor.
  2. 2 Bob 06 Aug

    It is wonderful that a Masters Degree can cost so little.

    With that price, you will definitely get hundreds of students willing to take it on. Remember, the lower the price of a product, the greater the number of customers. So, they will make more money!

    Unfortunately, the quality and the amount of work have never been less!

     

  3. 1 Judy 02 Aug
    I checked their homepage and the 2 master out of 3 they offer still cost 69 K $ and 79 K $... :( I am not sure if this info is really serious - 6,6 K price for a master would be the dream of many... :( and assuming that more people would enroll then - the turnover might be the same or higher even as the current average prices give them.

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