Can You Get a Groupon for College?

Lori Johnston | September 14, 2011

Site Offers its First Discount on College Tuition

Groupon keeps reminding me about two purchases I’ve made – two-for-one movie tickets from Fandango and a half-off deal for a photo album that I haven’t gotten around to creating. It’s also helped me take part in unique events, such as a barbecue lunch with the Neelys from Food Network and a symphony performance under the stars.

The other day, a Groupon deal showed me that the trendy site has the potential to remind some folks of their dream to finish their degree or go back to school to pursue a new career or get advanced education.

Groupon was offering more than 50 percent off a $2,232 graduate-level introductory teaching course at National Louis University in Chicago (the Groupon price was $950).

Surprise – a school actually lowered a price for students! In these days of bargain hunting and discount seeking, it seems that a college education is one of the few places where individuals seem resigned to pay higher and higher prices. I’ve seen friends invest in starting a master’s degree, only to find they can’t afford to continue the program or can’t juggle it with jobs and family (and refunds aren’t available for those courses).

The idea of purchasing something like education on Groupon may be a bit “out there,” and maybe the school only did it for publicity, but it is refreshing to see a school willing and able to lower its price on a course.

It got a lot of attention because it’s the first time the “deal is on” coupon site has offered a deal on tuition that counts for academic credit. The school says 18 individuals purchased the Groupon.

Dr. Nivine Megahed, president of National Louis University, said in a press release: “This deal will give participating students a chance to take one course and see if they are ready to make the time and financial commitment to follow through with the entire graduate program.”

Students need an undergraduate degree to be involved in the 10-week course, which counts toward three credit hours, of a 36-hour master’s degree from the school.

University officials told the AP that many of its students – the average age is 34 – are part of Groupon’s target demographics. So adult learners could be seeing more of this, via Groupon, or from other coupon sites. It could be a bonus for students already in pursuit of a certain degree, or it could be just the thing, even if you don’t get that deal, to make you reconsider college.

What do you think? Would you ever buy a Groupon for school?

-Lori Johnston

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