Online Universities and Colleges
The number of online universities and colleges is growing all the time. The landscape of online learning has changed radically over the last 10 years. In the mid 1990s the first colleges and universities that went online were of questionable repute. However, since those early days, online universities and colleges have become a very viable way of acquiring an education. A high percentage of online universities give accredited degrees, and some of these online institutions are as highly esteemed as any traditional university.
With a "for profit," almost all of their costs are covered by tuition. That entails a couple of important things:
- They are usually privately owned, receiving much less (if any) government funding.
- "For Profit" means a closer alliance with business and commerce. These will more often fall under the scrutiny of small business agencies than higher learning bodies.
- No large, ivy-covered buildings. Even in the real world, most profit based schools are "bare-bones" operations mindful of cost-effectiveness. Many argue that this makes them better than non-profit institutions.
- Since they receive no government funding, the tuition may be higher than at a regular university.
- It could mean a lack of accreditation. This will mean that students are not eligible for government loans or grants. Most of the big, popular names, though, are well-accredited. You may want to read more about accredited online degrees.
The biggest change in online universities and colleges is going to be the advent of better technology. In some cases, this technology will be able to eclipse traditional in-class learning in terms of interactivity and ability to meet students' personal learning needs, especially for students who are faster learners: no more counting ceiling tiles while other students bog down the entire class with dense questions.
As of 2003, according to the Sloan Consortium, 34% of all American colleges and universities offered online degree programs. You can read more about the present and future of online education.