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Mar 24, 2017 08:06 AM EDT

Stanford Study Suggests Students Get Lousy Returns From Online Education

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There are a lot of benefits to online education. However, A study by a professor of economics at Stanford University has found that there is little support for the optimistic projections about this type of learning.

The analysis by Caroline M. Hoxby suggested that online students end up paying more for online education than if they would have enrolled at traditional colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. It was noted that online students disproportionately attend for-profit institutions.

Working adults benefit a lot from online education since it provides them with the flexibility to complete their degrees and work at the same time. It can also offer new career opportunities by equipping them with new skills.

Online education has long been thought of as the more affordable option compared to traditional colleges and universities. However, Hoxby's study found that the cost for institutions of running online courses instead of person-to-person is "not substantially less expensive."

Moreover, the Stanford economist noted that federal aid for a portion of the cost of online education is unlikely to be recovered by higher income taxes from former online students. It was revealed that online learning did help students increase their earnings but it was never enough to cover the cost of this type of learning. The study also claimed that many online students struggle to repay their student loan debt.

According to MarketWatch, Hoxby's findings came as a result of years of growth in online education enrollment. Joshua Goodman, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, said that online institutions provide flexibility which is advantageous to students, especially those who already have established careers.

He did admit that it seems like online students who choose for-profit institutions seem to not truly understand whether they are getting their money and the government's money's worth. Those who finished their online degrees also face challenges in finding jobs since not all employers accept this type of credential.

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