Colleges have been around for centuries in the United States, functioning as privileged centers of learning and higher education. Ever since the creation of the first Ivy League schools, up to the implementation of modern-day student loans and equal opportunity programs, the state of education in America has improved to provide quality schooling to as many as possible, while creating a competitive market that has allowed many schools to remain in top position around the world.
That being said, there has almost never been a shift equal in severity and potential like the move of many colleges offering their degree programs over the Internet. When the Internet first became a commercially-viable mass communications tool in the late 90’s and grew into nearly national popularity in the early 2000’s, online college programs were of two extremes – highly legitimate distance learning programs, or money-making scams.
The landscape for online college programs has since shifted considerably. The Internet is not what it used to be – today, the amount of US Internet users has grown from roughly 50 percent in 2000, to a stagnant 84 percent over the last three years as per the Pew Research Center. 78 percent of rural residents are online, and the majority of senior citizens use the Internet regularly.
Indeed, times have changed – and colleges online has changed along with them.
Online Colleges Today
What used to be a small selection of disreputable institutions and advanced colleges has changed into an incredibly diverse array of schools and colleges, offering a much wider number of online courses from an online Sociology degree, to degrees in Public Administration, Marketing, PR, Psychology, Education and more.
As per a report by US News, however, the rate at which students are adopting online learning isn’t quite matching the anticipation for online college growth demonstrated by the sheer number of reputable examples out there – only one in four college students took a long-distance education course in the fall of 2012, or an estimated 5.4 million students.
Stigma Around Online Schooling
That being said, this may be due to the stigma revolving around online college courses, including:
The idea that employers don’t like online degrees
Online college courses are harder, and have much, much lower graduation rates
The cost difference is negligible, and not always more affordable
Distance education is solely for-profit, and not reputable
These are, however, misconceptions. The truth is that not all online colleges are for profit and many of them, despite being based mostly around profit, offer excellent education at reasonable rates versus comparative on-campus schools.
Furthermore, while college courses over the Internet may be harder, the truth is that they’re still manageable, and can be completed with as much effort as a regular course. And as per NY Daily News, employers are quickly warming up to online colleges.
The cost difference may be negligible in some cases, but in certain institutions like CBU Online, you can experience significant cost benefits by taking an online Sociology course instead of the typical on-campus experience, with potential dorm costs and more.
While they’re not perfect, online colleges are a great solution to many potential students who want to cut costs, work off their debt while studying, and enjoy a more flexible learning schedule.