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Is Using Groupon a Good Deal for Higher Ed?

September 26th, 2011 by CourseSmart

Most of us use Groupon for things like discounts on dining and spa treatments. Some of us even score on skydiving and horseback riding lessons. But have you ever considered saving on something like a college education or another big-ticket item?

One of the latest deals from Groupon, a daily deals site offering steep discounts on everything from food to concert tickets, is for college tuition. National Louis University in Chicago, IL offered a Groupon for a class in their graduate program. The class, which is an intro to teaching course, has a cost of $2,232 for the semester. The Groupon price for the class was $950 which is a 57% savings.

Anyone can buy a Groupon, however in order to score the class deal the purchaser/user must have or should be working toward a college degree. And while anyone with an undergraduate degree can take the course, it does not mean automatic enrollment in the graduate program at National Louis University. The 10-week, three-credit course counts towards a graduate education and is meant to introduce students to a career in teaching.

This deal for education is a first of its kind and is also a good test to see whether consumers will begin using sites like Groupon to make other big ticket purchases. Most purchases on Groupon are impulse buys, often on things people will never actually use, which is why items up for purchase are usually lower cost things such as meals and beauty services. This is also why a host of sites like Lifesta exist where people can sell their unused Groupons at face-value.

Groupon offerings for big ticket items have cropped up before, most notably when the company partnered with a car dealership in Michigan to offer $200 for a $500 voucher towards the purchase of a new or used car. When the Groupon didn’t garner enough customers for the deal to “tip,” the deadline was extended several additional days before being deemed a flop because not enough people made the purchase.

By the close date of the Groupon offering, National Louis University was able to “tip” the deal for their three-credit course class. However, it remains to be seen whether future deals like this will also be a success. Would you buy a Groupon for a discounted education?

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