Higher Education and Accrediting Online Courses

Issue Briefs | Education

No. 197
Friday, July 22, 2016
by Christian Yiu

Traditional higher education is not meeting the needs of employers. For example, a survey by the data provider PayScale and the executive development firm Future Workplace found that 87 percent of graduates feel they are ready for the workforce, but only 50 percent of mangers feel recent graduates are prepared for a full-time job.

In addition, the cost of higher education is ballooning. Consider that, on average:

  • Tuition at public four-year institutions has increased 40 percent over the past 10 years, according to the College Board.
  • As a result, the cost to attend a public four-year college was $17,474 for the 2013-14 school year, while a private not-for-profit college cost $35,074.
  • The cost of textbooks has risen 1,041 percent since 1997.
  • Student loan debt is now more than $1.1 trillion.

Fortunately, technology is allowing a growing number of students to attend online [see the figure], and competition has the potential to lower costs and provide increased flexibility — even at traditional institutions. Eventually, accredited online learning will revolutionize the quality of higher education and increase its productivity.

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