Online degrees are becoming mainstream, with online learning programs offered by more colleges and universities than ever before. The number of traditional schools offering online degrees is growing steadily, with online degree programs available to earn undergraduate, Master's, and business degrees. Even the Ivy League has begun to take notice, with schools as prestigious as Harvard offering online learning programs.
Over the past few years, nationwide enrollment in higher education has remained fairly steady. However, during the same period, online enrollment has been increasing dramatically. Online degrees are offered by a widely varied selection of institutions that include a great number of for profit schools, which often operate completely online, with no campus facilities, as well as public and private schools that offer both traditional on campus and online degrees programs.
While for profit schools have long dominated online degrees opportunities, state schools are gaining ground, giving for profit online schools a great deal more competition for the pool of available students. Many state schools are beginning to do more internet advertising of their online degrees programs, siphoning students away from their for profit competition. Private institutions are beginning to venture into online education as well, but are doing so much more tentatively than the public schools, with fewer courses offered online, and many of them noncredit classes.
The growing interest and competition in online degrees programs means more options for students who find that the flexibility of online learning suits their needs. As more mainstream institutions become involved with online learning, a wider variety of online programs are becoming available to prospective students, and financial aid is easier to obtain. The proliferation of online degrees options has contributed to an increase in the quality of online degrees programs offered, as competition spurs schools to offer more variety and better courses to attract students.
Online degrees programs can offer flexibility that is impossible to obtain from a traditional educational setting, allowing students to schedule courses to fit their individual needs. Online degrees are the option chosen by many people who seek advancement in established careers, giving them the educational advantage to get that sought after promotion without the hassle of commuting to night classes after a long day of work. Single parents can further their education and career opportunities without the expense of childcare to consider, or the worry of spending more time away from the children. Online degrees programs make higher education practical for many who would find the fixed schedule of traditional campus based learning impossible to fit into their everyday lives.
With the increased availability and quality of online degrees programs, obtaining educational goals in the midst of real world demands is becoming more practical. The ability to study from home, on a schedule that can be tailored to meet the demands of the student's work or family obligations, has opened the door of opportunity to many for whom a quality education may have seemed a very distant goal.