It is convenient, affordable, and just as good as classroom education – so why is online learning just now attracting the attention of students across the country? The answer lies in all of its differences, and one key similarity, to traditional brick-and-mortar-based education.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of online education that is attracting the attention of learners everywhere is its convenience. Students interested in pursuing a degree program do not even need to change out of their pajamas to go to class – though in all fairness, many campus students do not change our of their pajamas to go to class either. However, the convenience that online education offers is not just limited to sartorial decisions, but rather to timing as well. Many universities and community colleges have limited selections when it comes to night classes, making it near impossible for working adults to efficiently earn their degrees while still holding down a full-time job. Online degree programs allows for learners to log in and look over lecture materials and complete course work at any hour and on any day. This means that no matter how unusual or packed a student’s schedule is, he or she can always manage to squeeze in some learning during the random free hours of the day.
Affordability is another factor driving up the popularity of online schools. The tuition bills for traditional college students are on an uphill climb, and most universities show no signs of slowing down their price hikes. These days, even the wealthiest families are finding it more difficult to fund a higher education. The cost of attending a university has increased more than 15 percent in the past decade, according to U.S. News. As universities strive to build bigger campuses and bigger dorms, offer student services like counseling, bump up safety measures, and engage in bidding wars with other schools for top faculty members, they are pinning this increase in spending on student bills. Online education, on the other hand, costs much less by comparison, especially after factoring in the cost of housing and relocation for traditional universities. The fact that private student loans and federal student loans are also applicable to online schooling makes this option even more affordable.
Yet, the most important thing that is driving people to online education is not in its difference to traditional education, but in its similarity: it is the fact that online education offers the same quality education as classroom learning. Many employers no longer discriminate between online and campus-based college degrees, especially now that even traditionally brick-and-mortar establishments are offering online classes and degree programs.