Online Learning

Distance Learning Programs

Distance Learning Programs Expand in Scope

Distance learning provides students with educational opportunities that are not readily available to them otherwise. Students in the south, for instance, can get an Ivy League education right from their homes. The education received from an online school is just as good, and sometimes better, than one received in a classroom.

In addition, online classes and Internet degrees are often found to be much less expensive due to significantly smaller overheads and greatly reduced costs of operations. However, this is not always the case and you mustn’t automatically rule out the more expensive options. In those cases, try digging down a little deeper to find out if they offer special perks that would make it well worth the larger tuition. For example, some online learning institutions have special business relationships and industry contacts that they leverage in order to help their students find the best career opportunities. Don’t hesitate to contact the school directly if you can’t find any information on their website that explains why they’re significantly more expensive than other schools that appear to have similar offerings. Similarly, while you research your options and compare online colleges and programs, you must remind yourself of the strong possibility that you will get what you pay for, and that taking the cheapest route to your degree may not be the better deal.

The Sloan Consortium is dedicated to the research of distance learning programs, specifically online programs. Recent reports by the Sloan Consortium reveal that students are going online to pursue an education at a higher rate than they are enrolling in traditional face-to-face classes. The research also shows a high level of commitment by most schools to providing more educational opportunities online. About 7% of students earning their degree are doing so online. About 1.2 million people have degrees that were earned completely over the Internet.

A very few disreputable online colleges hurt the impression of online degrees, but distance learning programs have finally began to overcome this ill perception among employers. In addition, thanks to improved online security technology, more consumer-side resources, and increasingly web-savvier prospective students, fraudulent and malicious activity and evidence of scamming are on the decline.

While it will not always be easy to discern the fraudulent organizations and tuition-collecting bodies from the legitimate institutions out there, you can always verify an institution’s reputation by checking it against the resources and databases provided by the Secretary of Education and verify whether or not it is accredited. The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both have certain criteria that agencies must follow when accrediting schools. Some of these accrediting institutions include the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS). Be sure to look for an online institution with accreditation from an agency officially recognized by one of the authorities listed above.

In addition, even high-tech fields which many of us might assume would normally reserve job openings for students who graduated from a traditional, on-campus school were among the first to start accepting online degrees more readily than some other occupations. Even the fields that were the slowest to accept online distance learning programs, such as law and health care, are now seeing some of the highest numbers of enrollments in their fields. Women and minorities are taking advantage of the distance learning programs more than other segments of the population. Women are expected to account for 60% of the growth in online enrollment in the next few years, and minorities are expected to account for one-third of the growth.

Furthermore, from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree, you can expect to add an average of $900,000 earnings income. For a four year degree, that increases your income potential by almost one million dollars. The difference in salary between an employee with a bachelor's degree and an employee with a master's degree can be as much as $400,000 in additional lifetime earnings. These levels of pay are extremely attainable by utilizing online courses to earn a degree in almost any field offering online courses.

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Online Learning