Friday, October 16, 2009

Online Universities as Credible as Traditional Universities

New research shows that corporations are increasingly hiring applicants with online degrees, indicating that online degrees are being viewed more favorably.

Industry Market Trends recently reported that 76% of Human Resources professionals view online degrees more favorably today than they did 5 years ago, with 58% saying online degrees are equally as credible as degrees from a traditional, brick and mortar university.

This comparison is also evident in employer-funded tuition reimbursements. 95% of these Human Resources professionals noted no difference in tuition assistance for employees attending traditional or online universities.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Online Education Continues to Expand

Janice Barnwell, 44, wanted to boost her career by obtaining a master's degree in business; the working mother went against her prior experience with a brick and mortar school and chose an online university for the convenience and low cost. Her educational experience exceeded her expectations and her employer paid for her to take four more online courses to further sharpen her skills.

"At first I was very intimidated (by taking classes remotely). It's something I've never done," said Barnwell. "But it quickly changed for me because the interaction I had online with my classmates and professors felt real."

The online education sector has been growing at a rate of about 20% per year. Today, 1:4 students take at least some college courses online, up from 1:10 in 2002. Two million students, many older than the typical student age range of 18-22 years, take all of their courses online.

President Barack Obama pledged $500 million for online courses and materials as part of a multi-pronged plan aimed at expanding access to college.

29% of U.S. adults have a college degree and only about 40% of Americans who start college, graduate with a degree. Much of this is attributed to the rising tuition costs of brick and mortar schools which increase by about 8% each year.

Jeff Conlon, chief executive of Kaplan Higher Education with some 59,000 online students, said traditional colleges could not meet Obama's goals for higher education "Obama wants to make us first again by 2020," he said. "In order to do that, we need to create 63 million college graduates over that period. The higher education system as constructed will come up 16 million degrees short. There's not capacity in the system."

The cost at Kaplan for a four-year college degree is around $65,000, compared to up to $150,000 or more at a private college.

By studying online, Barnwell saved on the time and travel to the university nearest her New Jersey home. Her online tuition was less than $30,000, one-third the cost of the university.