You want to advance your career and give yourself more opportunities, or you are an active adult who wants more education but can not afford to attend a traditional college campus. Traditional colleges remain popular, but millions of Americans, just like you, are turning to online education. Why? Getting your degree online is convenient, and many educational programs on the Internet offer the same quality of teaching as classroom programs.

Internet education programs are no longer considered to be of poor quality. In fact, the prestigious Ivy League universities, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton, now offer online courses that can count towards graduation. A recent report by the Sloan-Consortium (Sloan-C), a non-profit group supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, reveals the tremendous growth of Internet education. Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, 2008, answers important questions about the growth and quality of Internet education programs. The report includes survey results from more than 2,500 colleges and universities.

What is online education?

Prospective students may not fully understand what constitutes online education compared to traditional classroom instruction. Here is a quick breakdown:

Classroom or classroom instruction includes programs in which zero to 29% of the content is provided online.

Hybrid or hybrid training offers between 30% and 80% of course content delivered online.

Online courses are those in which at least 80% of the course content is provided online. Some programs are 100% online.

The growth of online programs

If you are considering an online program, rest assured that millions of people, just like you, make the same choice. Online registrations are skyrocketing! The Sloan-C survey found that in the fall 2007 session, 3.94 million people attended at least one online course, an increase of 12.9% over the previous year. During the same period, more than 20% of American students in higher education attended at least one online course.

In the five years since the first Sloan-C online learning survey, the number of online students has more than doubled. In the fall of 2002, the number of students taking at least one online course was 1.6 million; the increase to 3.94 million in the fall of 2007 represents a compound annual growth rate of 19.7%.

Why do people choose online education?

The specific aspects of an economic downturn are related to the growing demand for online courses.

– Higher fuel costs may encourage more students to choose online courses.

– Schools that serve adults who work with career-oriented programs are becoming more popular.

– Many schools offer financial assistance and career counseling services to traditional and online students.

– Advances in computer technology and the proliferation of high-speed Internet access in homes make online learning an attractive alternative.

– Convenience You can earn a college degree online while you work or take care of children at home. You can study at your own pace and at your convenience.

– Online courses provide real-time interaction with instructors and other students. Your online instructor may give more personal attention than you would receive in a giant conference room on campus!

– Accredited schools make no distinction between the degree obtained in a classroom, online or in a mixed program. The certificates are identical.

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