Home study can save money

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2007, 12:00am

Universities are offering top quality learning packages for students who also want to work and not run up crippling debts

Studying by distance learning used to carry the stigma that the courses were not as in-depth or prestigious as on-campus studying. However, universities today are providing quality courses for distance learning students that offer the same qualification as their full-time counterparts.

In addition the universities also offer support and advice to students in order to help them decide what courses to study and to deal with any issues they may have during their studies.

Interaction between fellow distance learning students is also stressed, therefore studying is no longer a solitary journey.

'Top universities do not engage in distance learning lightly and when they do, they are committed to deliver quality,' explained Linda de-Lay, managing director (Asia) of RDI Management Learning.

The main attraction of distance learning is that students can save money on tuition fees and the general expenses of having to live overseas.

'With distance learning, students can remain employed. Because of that not only do they save costs and avoid debts, but they could also be two to three years ahead of their full-time peers on the career front,' Ms de-Lay said.

Typically, students in Britain, who study a three-year full-time degree course, can run up debts of more than GBP20,000 (HK$316,121).

These debts come from tuition fees, accommodation costs and the cost of day-to-day living.

The cost of living rises due to the fact that full-time university courses carry with them 'break times' of at least three months a year.

During this time students will still need to support themselves even though they are not actually attending classes.

'Anyone studying overseas knows that there are a lot of term breaks for Christmas, Easter, summer and other occasions and celebrations - when students need to continue to incur costs.

'If you add them up, the amount can be at least three months or more in a year. Imagine the cost of living and rents and not to mention missing home and family,' Ms de-Lay said.

RDI Management Learning offers a variety of distance learning courses in Hong Kong. The courses are run by various well-known institutions in Britain.

Among the most popular are the Bradford MBA and Bradford MA. The University of Derby's BSc (Hons) in psychology is also becoming a popular option.

'Nowadays, the quality of distance learning courses is on par with full-time courses. Most employers recognise that employees studying while working are committed people, hardworking and have aspirations.

'These qualities are sought after by organisations. More than 90 per cent of our students are working professionals who aspire to do better in their jobs and their employers appreciate that.

'It is also increasingly popular among Hong Kong people who value quality,' Ms de-Lay said.

She pointed out that students studying by distance learning had exactly the same status as students studying on campus because their certificates or diplomas did not mention their mode of study.