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Does Online Learning Provide a High Return on Investment?

Students praise the value of online education.

Returning to school for a college degree is a big decision for most working professionals, who must balance career goals with the realities of time and finances. But with the growth of online education, more college dreams become a reality every day.

In 2017, online enrollments grew 3% while higher education experienced a decrease.1 Accredited online universities upend the brick-and-mortar college paradigm, designing degree programs with adult learners in mind. Online learning takes place in virtual classrooms where you work when and where it suits you. The best online colleges offer an expansive number of degree programs, let you choose when to start, and support you throughout the enrollment and financial aid process.

Does Online Learning Provide a High Return on Investment?

But what about funding an online degree program? Does online learning provide a strong return on investment? The answer is a resounding “yes,” according to Online College Students: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, a 2018 survey from Learning House and Aslanian Market Research.

When asked about the value of their online degree, 86% of the students polled said they believe it equals or exceeds what they paid for it.1 The survey of 1,500 current, past, and prospective online college students also found other value propositions: 1

  • For online students who have previously enrolled in both face-to-face and online courses, 85% felt that the experience in the online course was the same or better than the classroom course.
  • Between undergraduate and graduate learners, graduate students were more likely to feel their online experience was better than their previous face-to-face learning experience (42% versus 30%).
  • Two-thirds of online college students report achieving the original goal that motivated them to enroll in their program. Graduate students are more likely to say they achieved their goal compared to undergraduate students (76% versus 62%), with undergraduates more likely to say they did not yet achieve their goal (23% versus 12%).

And it’s not just students who prize the value of online education. More than 97% of our graduates’ employers who responded to our survey say they would hire another Walden graduate.2 Walden is the No. 1 conferrer of master’s degrees.3

Walden designs its online degree programs with maximum flexibility and support for working professionals who want to pursue their college educations without leaving their jobs. With Walden’s online learning platform, you set your own schedule, logging in when and where it’s most convenient for you. However, this convenience is just one of the many reasons students turn to Walden. Other reasons include:

  • Walden University’s classroom experience is multi-dimensional. It can include a mixture of online discussions, videos, assigned readings, virtual reality interactions, and other technologies.
  • Walden faculty members, nearly 90% of whom hold a doctorate, have virtual office hours to help students. They also interact closely and often with their classes through video, e-mail, chat, and in person at academic residencies.
  • A true sense of community develops as students from all over the world make connections with one another through discussions, group exercises, common social communities, and academic residencies.

Choose from online certificate programs, traditional degree programs, or competency-based programs through Tempo Learning® by Walden. Tempo Learning is an online learning experience that adapts to your style—not a calendar. With this mobile-optimized experience, you set the pace; there are no weekly deadlines. And Tempo Learning is a subscription-based model, letting you control your progress, potentially lowering your tuition costs.

Reap the benefits of higher education with an online degree program tailored to your lifestyle, talents, and career goals.

Walden University is an accredited university offering online degree and certificate programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

2 Source:; % calculated on total number of respondents to our 2015 survey
3Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS). Retrieved July 2018; includes 2017 preliminary data and all classifications of instructional

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,