A Matter Of Degree

Career College Central summary:

  • It goes without saying that college students would love to pay less for courses and degrees amid skyrocketing costs for a degree. Some experts see the potential in the near future for cost savings on tuition through online course work, and a handful of nonprofit institutions are paving the way to a new model that costs less without sacrificing quality. But others caution that assuming online education, credit for credit, will be cheaper is unwise. The fact is, the cost of quality online college courses is close to the same as that for traditional courses.
  • Because online courses serve many adult students who are trying balance work, family and other demands on their time, convenience is the main reason they're chosen — and to them, saving time is saving money.
  • Former Princeton University President William Bowen has spent a career studying the nexus of higher education and economics. As he sees it in his new book, "Higher Education in the Digital Age," online education could be a remedy for what he calls "cost disease," or the often-astronomical price of a degree today.
  • Bowen, a convert who was once skeptical, now believes online technology and the understanding of how to use it has matured enough to help lower those costs for students without sacrificing the quality of learning. In the first study to provide hard evidence that online courses can and do equal the learning quality of "on-ground" courses, conducted by the nonprofit think tank ITHAKA, the research did not include numbers on what students might save.

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