A recent Northeastern University study reveals that online colleges could potentially take over traditional classroom environments in the future of education. In the study, more than 1,000 interviews were conducted and the results offer insight as to why free higher education programs grow in popularity and are offered at top universities. Sixty percent of individuals interviewed said that online programs provide an education that’s just as useful as an education from a traditional college or university. According to BostonMagazine.com, 68 percent of people surveyed think in years to come, online degrees will share the same respect that four-year degrees have.
Prestigious universities are offering more online classes than years prior. Northeastern University online classes offer more than 60 online programs, and online students can earn various credited degrees and certificates. Harvard University offers more than 200 online courses, including Harvard College lectures.
Rising Costs of Tuition
As the tuition of college gradually rises, online colleges and free educational programs seem to be more affordable alternatives. A traditional education from a credited university is financially inaccessible for many potential students. A recent College Board report found that U.S. universities continue to raise tuition costs. Between 2002 and 2013, tuition and fees at a private, non-profit four-year college increased by 2.4 percent. A public four-year college increased by 5.2 percent, and a public two-year college increased by 3.9 percent. According to Bloomberg.com, “tuition and fees at U.S. public universities rose 4.8 percent” in 2012. The cost of tuition and fees averaged $8,655. Tuition and fees for nonprofit private colleges increased 4.2 percent. The cost of tuition and fees averaged $29.056.
Select universities, such as Berklee, Stanford, Duke and California Institute of Technology, offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for free. MOOCs are online courses that professors from elite universities are even teaching. Providing a virtual, long-distance education, students subscribe to MOOCs via the Web and can enroll in classes that range from Clinical Problem Solving and Introductory Human Physiology to How to Build a Startup to Intro to Artificial Intelligence. Growing MOOCs include Coursera, Udacity and edX. Although students typically won’t receive academic credit, they’ll acquire in-demand skills that can be applied in specific job positions.
Online learning is accessible, affordable and free—if you go the MOOC route. Besides the financial accessibility, students have more flexible schedules and opportunities to virtually learn from professors from prestigious institutions.
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