Research shows that those who come from higher-income backgrounds are more likely to enter higher education than those from low-income backgrounds. The availability of affordable online colleges is something that many campaigners hope will increase class mobility and allow those from low-income backgrounds to enter higher education.

While virtual college courses are available, many educational institutions are still charging high fees for their online qualifications due to the costs of delivery.

Could Cloud Computing Bring About Affordable Online College Courses?

On paper, virtual colleges should have lower costs, yet this rarely translates into significantly lower fees for students. Costs per credit hour for online courses, while lower than face-to-face tuition fees, remain out of reach for many students due to the costs of running online learning platforms.

The growth of cloud computing could be the factor that brings affordable online colleges to the masses.

Higher education cloud applications offer many potential benefits for education providers:

  • Scalability of the platform to allow for more students
  • Ease of record-keeping and marking assignments
  • Ease of delivering multimedia assessments
  • Lower up-front costs than purchasing hardware and software outright
  • Reduced maintenance costs and a reduced need for in-house IT teams

How Cloud Communications Improves Access for Students

Virtual college courses offer several benefits for students, beyond simply the potential for lower fees. The adoption of cloud computing in education means students in rural and low-income areas can study without needing to travel.

In addition, the option of studying online means students can study at their own convenience. More than half of all online learners are studying part-time, and the average online student is 32 years old. They're most likely fitting their studies around work and family obligations, and it's much easier to do this by using a laptop on the daily commute or studying in the evenings when the kids are in bed.

Cloud computing allows for many improvements in quality of life for online students. Learners can start a module at home, connect for a few minutes during their break at work to revise assignments or even access courseware on their phones and work from wherever they happen to be.

Users can also use online learning tools to communicate with their peers and instructors in a more fluid way via a combination of live chats, collaboration tools, email, and message boards. These tools can't completely replace the interactivity of face-to-face learning, but they can emulate it quite well.

Deploying Cloud Communications in Your Educational Institution

Investing in digital learning is something that every educational institution should consider, especially if they want to remain competitive in the area of lifelong learning. The growth in popularity of platforms such as Coursera and Udemy means it's hard for traditional institutions to compete. A robust online platform and affordable short courses, coupled with the recognition of being an established institution, could help you challenge online competitors.

If you're interested in learning how cloud computing can allow your educational institution to offer affordable online college courses, check out our higher education cloud computing services and contact us to discuss your needs. Our flexible, scalable services can bring your courses to more people.