With the use of technology, education is rapidly evolving, and it’s not just through improved facilities. Online education has become increasingly popular – not only is it a more affordable option for students, but it also gives them flexible hours that lets them work at the same time.
This form of learning can actually benefit both the student and the colleges. Thus it may be high time for higher education institutions to consider the value of offering online programs and courses.
Benefits of Online Colleges
Darrell Silver, co-founder and CEO of an online coding academy called Thinkful, spoke with Forbes about the advantages of online college over traditional college.
For one, the institution saves money on infrastructure. They no longer need to spend money on large buildings and facilities that go unused for months. This can also explain why tuition is lower: they no longer need to pass on maintenance fees to students.
He also says that it maximizes the use of part-time professional instructors. It allows them to conveniently conduct classes while still maintaining their second jobs.
In addition, Thinker offers an innovative payment system called the Income Share Agreement model, where students are given the option to pay no tuition fee. In exchange, they agree to give 10 to 14 percent of their income after their training, an arrangement that would only last around two to three years. This is a great way to help students reach their goals while enjoying excellent education.
An Alternative to Traditional Colleges
Clayton Christensen, a distinguished professor at Harvard, predicted that half of universities and colleges would shut down in favor of online education. The idea is that it is cheaper and more accessible for students amid rising tuition fees, which definitely pose a challenge to both the student and university.
Currently, student debt is at its highest in the United States while the cost of education is in the $30,000 to $60,000 range. More students are discouraged from going to college and usually prefer to just head straight to work after high school.
Alongside that, universities and colleges aren’t earning enough to cover their costs because the students enrolled cannot afford to pay. Roughly 25 percent of private colleges are now running on deficit. It gets further complicated with the demographic, as there is also a declining number of 18-year-olds today.
Prospects Going Forward
There are already a large number of universities and public colleges that offer a wide range of online courses. Traditional colleges would benefit from this innovation, according to experts. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll no longer have large campuses; on the contrary, going online serves as a feasible solution if universities and colleges wish to maintain student numbers.