Ask any college student and they'll tell you a typical textbook costs far more than $30 -- even used. But online learning site BenchPrep recently announced a $30 per month subscription-based service that lets users access a wide variety of courses and content.
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The subscription unlocks prep courses from the site's library, which you can access on your iPhone, Android, iPad or laptop. So for super ambitious learners, you can pay per month rather than per course and get more value for your dollar (with the exception of some courses, like the BAR and CFA that require payment per course). BenchPrep's library also includes professional certification and civil service preparation courses, which are priced on a per-course basis.
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BenchPrep offers courses for all would-be learners -- from high school freshmen to business professionals, in an interactive online setting. In addition, the site will roll out 30 digital textbooks for high school and college students over the next few months.
BenchPrep cofounder Ujjwal Gupta tells Mashable the site is "focused on making education more convenient and affordable."
The subscription model makes courses such as PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRD, MCAT, LSAT easily accessible (both price and device-wise) for many people. Gupta says they "will probably lose money on content," -- at least for now -- but hopes they will be able to leverage their relationships with educational institutions and publishing houses in the future.
"They (universities) are licensing our platform similar to how they work with other content providers like EBSCO and LexisNexis," Gupta said.
"We want every learner across the world to use our platform and help us improve personalization and make our offering adaptive and more efficient," he said. "This can result in giving back relevant information to institutions and publishing houses to improve their system."
BenchPrep works with McGraw Hill, Princeton Review, Wiley, Cengage Learning and O’Reilly who create the content for the courses.
Students on BenchPrep average 78 study sessions per month on the site, typically spending an average of nine hours a month engaged in interactive learning, said Gupta. (So if you mirror the statistics, you'll get your money's worth.)
This past July Benchprep raised $6 million in funding from NEA and Revolution ventures. The company plans to use this latest funding to delve into IT and Microsoft; medicine, health and nursing; and, finance and insurance education -- adding 100 new courses to their library.
Before the subscription launch, BenchPrep already counted 300,000 users for just its pay-per-course model. Cofounder and CEO Ashish Rangnekar said by the end of the first quarter in 2013 they aim to have reached one million people.
A number of higher education institutions offer free in-person tutoring, in which case online tutoring would probably not be necessary. But for anyone without access to a tutor, or students who want to supplement their in-person tutoring sessions, BenchPrep seems like a smart option.
Would BenchPrep help you be a better student? Tell us in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.