Current trends are showing an uptick of enrollment in online colleges. Flexibility, affordability, accelerated programs and the rise of the non-traditional student are just a few of the reasons enrollments in online degree programs have seen a steady increase since 2015. (1)
According to an article on US News and World Report, online colleges began seeing an increase as high as 7 percent from previous years when surveying over 4,700 US universities.
In addition to many universities now offering accelerated degrees and slashed tuition rates, online colleges are also providing ways for diverse students to take advantage of a global education. (2)
Most students who are pursuing their online degree are already working. The flexibility of not having to attend classes or work around a work schedule is attracting more than just traditional-age students. According to a study from Study Portals, more than 36% of students pursuing an online degree are either switching careers or looking for an additional degree. (3)
One of the reasons online degree universities are finding increased enrollments is due to the cost. Online course offerings are provided at much cheaper rates than typical brick and mortar universities. First, online universities do not have the property to keep up and maintain, or require the staffing--all of which are costs that students absorb within their tuition rates at a traditional in-person colleges and universities. Another reason online colleges are popular is because students also do not have the costly expense of commuting to their university several days a week. Additionally, accelerated programs offer online degrees at a fraction of the cost and time to complete.
An accelerated online degree is a nontraditional course of study that takes place in a condensed amount of time. Where it might take four years to obtain a bachelor's degree at a brick-and-mortar university, an accelerated program can take as little as a 18-24 months to complete, depending on the program. Although there are many benefits to enrolling in an accelerated degree program, there are often stricter guidelines for enrollment. You will need to be sure and thoroughly research the online university that you are interested in for specific enrollment guidelines.
Many accelerated programs offer online degrees in the following fields in addition to bachelor's degree programs: nursing, business, law and medicine. Many accelerated degree programs are dual in nature, meaning enrolled students can work simultaneously toward a bachelor’s and advanced degree like a Master’s.
You’re Never Too Old to Receive an Online Degree
According to Best Online Colleges, a nontraditional student is anyone over the age of 25. Currently, the average online student is 32-years-old, which means online college is not only perfect for traditional students, for for any age at any place in life. In addition, most online universities provide additional technological resources for their nontraditional students, which makes navigating the world of an online degree that much easier. Of course, each online college and university is different, so it’s important to do the research and find the best fit for your specific needs.
What are the Best Online Colleges to Attend?
A federal report, conducted in 2018, found that the following universities are the most popular when obtaining an online degree. (4)
This is not a conclusive list, and if you’re interested in fast-tracking your education so you can pursue the job of your dreams, you should research what local online college degree programs are in your area and find one that best suits your interests and economic needs.