By Jennie Kroeger | June 27, 2016 | Posted in: Blog
The truth is that online degrees are quickly becoming the norm in today’s higher education industry. More and more top-level colleges (like Florida State University) are offering specialized degrees, including master’s, online in a wide range of degree programs. If you’re considering taking a course or getting a degree online, we’ve put together a great list of key facts and resources that will help you navigate the distance learning waters and maximize your investment in graduate education.
More than there have been before. The Babsen Survey Research Group is in charge of one of the most widely followed studies on distance learning statistics. Their most recent research is from data gathered in 2014. That study shows that enrollment in online college courses has risen over the last two years at about 3.7% per year. As of 2015, 1 in 4 students was enrolled in an online course, totaling 5,828,826 students enrolled in an online course in the fall of 2014. Here are few more details from that study.
As it stands, distance learning students make up more than 28% of all enrolled students, and the trend is on the rise.
In general, if you’re taking an online course at a public institution, costs for curriculum, books, enrollment, and supplies are all the same. In most cases, there is a small fee applied to those who are taking online courses; when you’re looking at hard tuition costs, they tend to even out.
Online courses save you money in cost of living. Whereas traditional classes require you be in attendance at the university, online courses allow you the convenience of taking a class from home. So instead of having to rent an apartment and pay for food and travel to attend a classroom every day, you’re able to complete the course at your own pace and maintain gainful employment.
Additionally, if you’re able to offset the cost of enrollment by working while taking your online course, you’ll save thousands and thousands on interest payments for student loans.
According to 71% of teachers and admins, the quality of education for a distance course is the same as that of a traditional classroom setting. In fact, the sentiment that online outcomes are superior to traditional classroom settings rose 17% in the last year among academic leaders.
In terms of actual salary outcome differences for online courses vs. traditional courses, there’s no legitimate study to reference. Instead, let’s look at how employers are viewing candidates who gained their knowledge through online courses. According to an article published in U.S. News and World Report, online education has an impact on your salary when accreditation or additional endorsements are involved. At Florida State, no distinction is made on your transcript indicating that a course or program of study was completed in a distance learning mode. Additionally, all academic programs at Florida State are accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
In terms of furthering your knowledge and becoming a more qualified candidate, online degrees are great tools. Here’s a graph of projected salaries for people with master’s degrees in a specific field.
As you can see, attaining an online master’s degree can be a great investment in your future. Considering that is a widely adopted tool by many – if not most – major public universities, the distance learning revolution is here to stay.