Online colleges


I myself received postgrad through remote studies and I was pleased with the experience and cost (around $12,000 for entire 4 year Master’s degree), and I intend to suggest online college to my kid (who intends to study some kind of finances). Online colleges are multiple times more affordable than studying on campus.

I’m not clear why people pay outrageous sums for campus college, when online colleges offer teaching and degrees for much less.

What’s the downside of online degree in US? Am I missing something?


I think historically employers put less value on an online degree, thinking the level of academics was sub-par compared to an on-campus option (and let’s admit it, for many years there was a big difference.)

I think that gap is closing and as such, employers are beginning to see more value in online degrees.

That said, my daughter takes both on-campus and online courses and says the online classes are almost always much easier…


When I was in college, I took several online classes through Penn State. The cook think about these was that the courses on a trasciot are indistinguishable from in class courses.

If I was advising a you person, I would tell them to take as many AP classes in high as possible. Most colleges give credit for them.

Then I would suggest they take CLEP and Dantess tests. You can test out of nearly the first 2 years of college this way. Depending on your degree if you need some labs etc, go to community college.

Than transfer into a suitable State School like Penn State or any of the SUNY Schools. Do a dual major instead of a minor, example I have a BS in Psychology and a BA in Economics.

Then do an online Masters and a premium school, Temple or some such place.

Here’s a college hack, many schools will provide room and board to RA’s. One thing I suggest to high school kids, is see if there local fire department has a volunteer EMT program and do the EMT training. Not only does it just kook good, community service etc. It’s normally worth a few college credits and (there is more) it helps when appling to be an RA (free room).

If all that isn’t good enough, being an EMT is a great job during school. I used to take my books to the firehall and could read in between calls.(high school)


and let’s admit it, for many years there was a big difference.

I’m not aware of a difference. From my personal experience I remember that it was tough, and solid, and no employer ever sneered at my online university degree.


Did you get it in the US and look for jobs here?

I can tell you as an employer hiring people, there was a difference in how we viewed online versus on-campus degrees.


My online degree is from British university, i worked with it in Europe, Canada , US. But then maybe engineering degrees are treated differently. When I hire we never look at what kind of university candidate graduated from.


In which industry you work? It might be different depending on an industry.


Business. I worked for Fortune 50 companies as well as medium and small businesses over a 30-year career.


I think it depends. If your getting an online degree from an online only school it might be frowned on a bit. But today you can’t tell online or offline from many state schools.


Some people (like me) learn better in a classroom. If you’re one of these people, and you actually want to maximize your degree, onsite learning might be worth the added cost. Or, perhaps an online school doesn’t offer the program that you’re after. Or, scholarships. Company reimbursement. There are any number of reasons why campus-based programs are still alive and well. If you’re just looking for that piece of paper and footing the bill on your own, then it might not matter to you whether you’re physically sitting in a classroom or not.

Regarding how U.S. businesses view online degrees, there’s definitely a difference. I did a lot of hiring at one of my former employers, and an online degrees was definitely better than no degree. However, if all else was equal, we’d almost always choose the person who sat in a classroom. I do believe that most people learn better when they’re actually there and surrounded by the classroom environment.

That’s a very good point. We’d very rarely ask if the candidate completed their degree online or not if the school was a hybrid. Sometimes, it was obvious (ie: University of Maryland has a big online presence, but if you never lived in Maryland, then you proooooobably got your degree online), but other times, we didn’t care to ask.


This is one of those things where there are so many factors involved that online vs. in-person isn’t enough to make a determination.

For example, is it your first job or 2nd (or after) job? The school matters less and your experiences starts to matter more.

Finally, it’s hard to quantify. My undergrad now costs like $70,000 to attend each year (Carnegie Mellon) - is it $40k a year better than another school? Than an online school? Or is it $50k? $10K? Impossible to know.


This is puzzling. If impossible to know if it’s worth premium - why pay?


I think the reason to pay is that not every decision in life needs to be or is an economic decision. In particular, calculating the ROI on college is practically impossible, if you go to a fancy school and only choose clases with the easy professors you may not see any value.

A college is a tool; if you use it correctly, it can amplify your efforts. if you skate by only doing the minimum and leave with only a credential then it will have been a poor investment.

If you go to a inexpensive school, do good internships and get involved on camps that you may out-earn the private school.


Ding ding ding, you win the prize. :slight_smile:

Like I said, not everybody learns as well when taking online classes. Perhaps the knowledge and/or experience is worth the cost in the end.


Interesting post. I have an associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate, all in varying forms of online. I’m a nurse practitioner so obviously there was a large clinical component, but the degrees were all hybrid, which is very common in my field. They are all from state schools, and my doctorate is from UC Denver which is one of the top nursing schools in the country and also the home of the first nurse practitioner. I think there is a difference in perception from an established school with an on-ground presence, vs. an online-only for profit school. I will say, though, having taught for both, at least in my particular field I truly don’t see a difference in rigor between the two types of schools…


Given the popularity of this post I think this would be a good counterpoint argument.

Something along the lines of private vs public vs online?

Would a there way debate be allowed???

@ESIMoney @Steve

P.S I’m not to tossing my hat into this one.


Of course. The two sides would simply need to come to terms and post their intentions on the Money Match-Up thread.


@ESIMoney - I already have one Money Matchup in the works (will have to you tomorrow, I’m polishing/obsessing tonight) but I would take the online side of this one if someone wants to argue on-ground :slight_smile:


That’s ok with me, but you will have to find a partner and post it on the Match-up thread (not here). It’s too confusing to have the match-ups in separate threads.


I think that the challenge with online degrees is the difficulty in interacting and bonding with other people. I personally have benefited a lot of from the friendships I made in college and also mentorship from professors and other staff. If you’re at the stage in your life where you’re already established, those kinds of things probably aren’t that useful, but as a young adult I think in person college was worth it.