When you are looking into online high school cost, one of your first questions will most likely be, how much will this cost me? The answer depends on several factors that go into making an online school affordable or not. Is the school accredited? Is it public or private? Is there a payment plan available? Do they offer SAT/ACT prep courses? Before you dive into a google search wormhole of online high school tuitions, make a list of attributes that are most important to you. Maybe you would prefer a private school, but you can better afford a public one. Figure out qualities you must have and others you’re willing to compromise on. Read on to find out what to look for and how to save money.


What’s the Real Cost?

The real cost of online high school ranges from completely free to over $10,000 a year. The difference is in the various types of schools

  1. Public Online High School

Public online high schools are government funded and completely free if you are a teenager and live in a state where it’s offered. Because they closely resemble the curriculum of a traditional high school, they are usually accredited, which is what most colleges look for in applications. For these schools to receive money from the government, they must follow strict rules which means fewer course options.

  1. Charter Online High School

Online charter schools are similar to public schools, but with more course options. They are known for using nontraditional techniques in the way they teach.

  1. Private Online High School

Private online schools don’t have to follow as many guidelines as public and charter online schools do. Because of this, you’ll want to do your research on the attributes and costs of the private online schools you’re interested in. They are known for offering a wide variety of courses, and you can access the courses from any state.

  1. Schools Sponsored by a College or University

Some universities will sponsor online high schools and let students receive both high school and college credit for the courses they enroll in. These are usually high-quality courses, but expensive.


How to Save Money

  1. Payment Plans

Most online schools will offer a monthly payment plan which allows you to split up the tuition into smaller payments. It may cost you more money in the long run due to interest accumulation, but you won’t have to worry about large upfront payment. Some schools also offer a discount when you enroll in their monthly autopay system, and some have a money-back guarantee within a certain time period. Always ask if there are payment plans available and what this entails when doing your research. Each school has its own system.

  1. Pay Upfront

Paying for a 12-month online course or an entire semester upfront can help you save money in the long run but will be a significant expense. Most schools appreciate being paid in full and offer a discount as an incentive.

  1. Take Advantage of Sign-up Promotions

As you research online high schools, you’ll notice that some websites offer a substantial discount for signing up that day. If you were already planning on signing up soon, take advantage of the sign on promotions and save yourself the money.

  1. Transfer Credits

Another way to save money is to transfer any high school credits that you’ve previously earned, either from your public high school, or another online high school. Transferring credits will allow you to skip paying for and taking courses you’ve already completed.


Now that you have a general idea of the different types of online high schools, how much they cost, and how to save money, you can decide what will work best with your list of priorities. Perhaps you found a school you love, but you can’t afford to pay tuition in full upfront. Call the school and ask about promotions, money back guarantees, and monthly payment plans. Don’t forget to mention any high school credits you’ve already obtained to help with the cost. Most online high school plans want more students and will work with you to make it more affordable. Keep in mind that the money you spend now to invest in your education can pay itself back later on by helping you get into a better college and qualify for a better job.