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10 Surprising Facts About Online Degrees

It’s never been a better time to attend an online university.

It’s official—the total number of students enrolled in at least one online course has now surpassed 6.4 million, representing nearly one-third of all higher education enrollments. These numbers come from the 2018 survey report Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States, produced by the Babson Survey Research Group.1 The report is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States, and the most recent edition found online education to be more popular than ever, with the number of online students increasing for 14 straight years, from 2002 to 2016.


The following 10 facts about online education, a form of distance learning, will give you a better understanding of this growing phenomenon and, perhaps, help you decide if attending an online university is right for you.

1.  Many students now learn exclusively online. Over 3 million students now take all of their courses online, a tribute to the quality, convenience, and growing popularity of online learning.1

2.  More and more graduate students are also learning online. Online graduate degree programs are also growing, with over 1 million graduate students now taking at least one course online.1

3.  Online degree programs adopt top-level quality standards. Recent studies have shown that “[t]he adoption of quality standards for online faculty development, course design, and program design, typically accompanied by training for faculty and staff, has become standard in the great majority of online programs. Quality benchmarks for student outcomes are almost as widely adopted.”2

4.  Studying online offers students:

  • The flexibility to balance work, family, and school.
  • The ability to study anytime, anywhere 24/7.
  • Access to accelerated, fast-track courses.
  • A cheaper option than on-campus courses.
  • Faster time to completion.
  • A variety of online courses and degree programs.
  • Greater opportunity to earn specific educational credentials.
  • A different way to learn compared to a traditional college setting.

5.  Career advancement is a top motivator for online students. About 46% of students say that their primary motivation for enrolling in online courses and degree programs is to advance their careers. Online degree programs provide the flexibility, affordability, and convenience working students need to successfully balance the demands of work, family, and education.3

6.  Graduates of online degree programs report a wide range of salaries. More than half of those surveyed say they earn $25,000 to $84,000 annually, while 29% earn $85,000 to $150,000.3

7.  An online university can provide an international perspective. Online coursework provides many opportunities for students to connect, collaborate, and exchange ideas with fellow students from diverse cultures around the world. The international reach of online degree programs exposes students to an incredible depth of knowledge and insight on an international scale that is certain to enrich their college experience.

8.  More than 80% of online undergraduate students have transfer credits from previous college courses that can be applied to their degree requirements. Transfer credits help accelerate degree completion.3

9.  Online degree programs give students transfer credit for work, life, and military experience when it is relevant to the degree. Transfer credits from all acceptable sources can meet up to 75% of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and up to 50% for a graduate degree.  

  • Bachelor’s programs such as BS in Business Administration, BS in Accounting, and BS in Healthcare Management
  • Master’s programs such as MS in Marketing, MS in Healthcare Administration, and MS in Management
  • Doctoral programs in business administration, management, and public policy and administration
  • Graduate and post-doctoral certificate programs

10.  About 33% of online students study business.3 To meet this growing demand, Walden University offers a variety of online business degree programs, including:

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

2Source: Matters_Eduventures_CHLOE 2 A Deeper Dive.pdf

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,