Private Cost of Education: A Comparative Study of Distance and Campus-based University Students in Nigeria

Felix K. Olakulehin [], Doctoral Research Scholar, University of Leeds, UK
Santosh K. Panda [], Professor of DE, Indira Gandhi National Open University, India


This paper examines the comparative private costs of distance and conventional (classroom-based) university students in Nigeria. A total of 200 subjects comprising students registered for the B.Sc. Computer Science and B.A. English Studies programmes at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) were randomly selected as samples for this study. Structured oral interview was also used to collect information from tutors and facilitators as well as counsellors at the NOUN study centres. Two hypotheses were drawn from the statement of the problem using  simple percentage statistical analysis to determine whether or not there are private costs borne by higher education students in Nigeria. The study sought to establish which of the two modes of education demands a higher or lesser private investment from students in participating in higher education. Findings reveal that significant private costs  learners generally incur both at the pre-entry as well as during the course of their studies for higher education in Nigeria generally. It was also found that the private costs for students studying through education via the distance learning mode (like NOUN) were significantly lower than those involved in pursuing university education via the conventional education mode such as the University of Lagos. The paper concludes by advocating for greater emphasis on open and distance learning methods for university education and training in Nigeria and other developing countries. It also recommends that funding agencies and scholarship granting organizations would reach a larger number of interested grantees by exploring the distance learning approach, whose costs are generally lower and which requires a much lower private contribution from learners.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

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