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An Online Education Breakthrough? A Master’s Degree for a Mere $7,000

The master’s degree business is booming. College graduates looking for a leg up in the job market are flocking to one- and two-year programs that promise entry to lucrative careers. Top colleges are more than willing to provide them — for a price. Tuition for a 30-credit master’s in computer science from the University of Southern California runs $57,000. Syracuse, Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon charge over $43,000 for the same degree.

But one highly ranked program, at Georgia Tech, has taken a very different approach. Its master’s in computer science costs less than one-eighth as much as its most expensive rival — if you learn online. And a new study by Harvard economists found that in creating the program, Georgia Tech may have discovered a whole new market for higher education, one that could change the way we think about the problem of college costs.

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