Ashworth College offers students an alternative method of paying for higher educationExperts say that higher education is an investment in an individual's future. However, the upfront and subsequent costs of attending college can dissuade many from pursuing a degree. Most students need to take out loans to pay for their schooling, and end up accruing overwhelming interest and debt.

However, some online schools, such as Ashworth College, are offering students an alternative method to pay for higher education with the pay-as-you-go model. Officials said that because they can operate with low overhead as compared to traditional schools and can set tuition at a more reasonable price.

"What we offer is a significant advantage for our students," said Leslie Gargiulo, vice president of education for the school. "Students make monthly payments, usually under $50 a month, and have the peace of mind of knowing that a student loan payment will not be waiting for them after graduation."

According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, nearly 30 percent of all college and university students in the U.S. participate in at least one web-based course.

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