Online education is not only here to stay, its popularity is growing at a rate that is eclipsing traditional brick and mortar institutions. As a matter of fact, it has become so popular that 89% of traditional universities now offer online coursework.
As the costs of attending a traditional college have skyrocketed, online universities have not only become a more affordable option for you to consider, they have become a technologically feasible one as well.
Enrollment Is Up
As of 2012, over 6.7 million students in the United States were taking at least one course online. This is roughly one third of all college students. Furthermore, 3 million students were taking classes entirely online. Over the past 10 years, both of these stats have continued their steady climb upward and neither shows any signs of tapering off. In fact, both show steady increases over the past two years.
When it comes to courses of study, online students prefer to study skills-based disciplines. Business administration, accounting, finance and information technology are the most popular degrees. All have very bright futures and are showing resilience even in today’s economic climate.
Many of the students taking courses online are non-traditional students who are returning to school in order to advance their careers and seek promotions within their current companies. This will not change, as skills-based courses will lead the way into the future.
Growth Will Continue
Taken together, what does all of this mean for the future of online education and your educational goals? In a nutshell, the demand for online education will continue to grow and it will remain a reliable and cost-effective method for earning an education.
Naturally, the laws of economics come into play and it will level off at some point, but not anytime soon. That is because online education has accomplished the following primary objectives:
- Excellent Reputation: Gone is the stigma of earning a degree online. An online degree is now just as valuable as one earned in the classroom. More and more employers recognize online educations as reliable, solid and just as valuable as those earned at brick and mortar institutions.
- Easy Access: Technology has made accessing online programs easier than ever. This access has grown exponentially over the years and it will continue to become easier to access online coursework as technology advances.
- Affordability. Regardless of which lens you look through, online education will always be more affordable than traditional classroom learning. The overhead is lower and those savings are passed on to the students, who are increasingly making educational decisions based on price points.
- Convenience. Modern life is becoming faster and more complex. Online courses mean students can spend more time studying, and less time trying to make it to their classes. Life won’t slow down, but online courses can keep up with our students’ busy lives.