Are Online Degrees Worth It?

online degreeAccording to a 2014 Pew Research report, Millennials—those born after 1980—are the best-educated generation in the history of the United States. More than one-third have bachelor’s degrees, compared to one in four of their parents and grandparents.
This statistic may surprise many readers, considering the exponential increase in the cost of education during that period. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a graduate in 1979 incurred less than $10,000 in education costs (in 2012 dollars), including room and board. By contrast, according to CollegeData, a 2013 graduate spent almost $120,000 for the same degree and owed more than $33,000 in school debt as of graduation.
In an effort to stem the rising costs of higher education, colleges, universities, and for-profit institutions have turned to technology. Many now offer online classes, bachelor’s degrees, and even master’s degrees in which some or all work is done over the Internet. According to a Pew Research Report, 90% of public four-year colleges and universities and 60% of private universities offer courses online. And in 2011, one-third of all students were enrolled in an online course.

Perception of an Online Degree

The question of whether an online degree has less value than a traditional degree has smoldered for years. While online courses certainly have advantages and disadvantages as compared to their traditional counterparts, employer “gatekeepers” – receptionists, HR recruiters, and resume screeners – tend to be most concerned about the reputation and quality of the educational institution.

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