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Berklee online degrees would cost half of campus study programs

Berklee College of Music says the online degrees will cost less than half what students pay to take courses on its downtown campus.

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Berklee College of Music says the online degrees will cost less than half what students pay to take courses on its downtown campus.

Berklee College of Music announced Wednesday that it will begin offering bachelor’s degrees online in fall 2014 that will cost less than half of what students pay to take courses on its Boston campus.

The college said it will become the first nonprofit music institution to offer accredited bachelor’s degrees online. The degrees include professional studies in music business and music production.

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“This is all about expanding access,” said Debbie Cavalier, vice president of online learning and continuing education for Berklee Online. “This is a way to provide access to people across the world who want to learn from Berklee faculty, but aren’t able to study here on our campus in Boston.”

Tuition will be $16,500 per year. The college charges on-campus students $36,514 in annual tuition, which does not include other fees. On-campus housing and meal plans cost an additional $17,200 annually.

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Jeff Seaman, codirector of the Babson Research Survey Group, said that about 62 percent of all degree-granting institutions in the United States offer at least one online degree program.

But, “Less than half the price is not the norm,” he said. “That’s an aggressive pricing strategy.”

No more than 300 students will be accepted into the “highly-selective” inaugural class, the college said.

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Cavalier said students will be taught via video and other multimedia in classes that typically enroll about 20 students.

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