Making Online Education Attractive

All over the world, the number of people in school at different levels takes a pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A. cannot graduate. For new students who enter colleges or universities, 1 out of 3 will likely not make it to the second year. This dropout rate hinders national development because many people do not receive the full training to function in society. National development would be hugely fostered if more adults received an education to become functional in the community.

Education Attractive

I am not saying that all adults who are not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. Very prominent individuals in the community dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah Winfrey, for example, dropped out of school at some point. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education yet became successful is relatively few. The majority who dropped out or discontinued education and could not succeed in their careers lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. Check the history of those who have become successful despite dropping out or discontinuing schooling. You will find that they appear to have found their life’s purpose, pursued those goals, and, more importantly, received some education later.


Education, as we all know, is a life-long activity. You would need education at any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so they can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school-going age’ and desires to school need education, managers, as well as employees, need further education to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education-dependent society we have created for ourselves and consider the ‘best limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ends the day they drop out or graduate from High School, College, or University, even though technology makes it possible to sit in our houses and still get a quality education.

When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real-time, the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class, was solved. It seemed and still does that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now go to school from home, and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter was learning at college using the same device he used to call her. That is what it seemed. Those who dropped out of school due to financial issues and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit. Those who have the money would not want to put their money into certificates; employers and academicians alike would frown upon it. So little appears to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners. Second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like traditional Colleges and Universities. Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123- indicates that the cost of an on-campus University for undergraduates is 42,000 dollars. In comparison, for the same group, online universities cost around 21,000 dollars. By contrast, we would say that studying online costs far less. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online universities. Those in the middle and lower classes opt for online universities.

They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these, 21,000 dollars is money so huge that it is tough to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities. Still, online learning is not popular due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you that they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education.

This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently viewed as diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in the quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. Online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study costs, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention, online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle-class-friendly.

The government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize Accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education, or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive, would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific methods or ways of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive.

This cost is passed to students, saving up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the price of Accreditation, though there is no guarantee that the program fees will be halved, the cost will be reduced somehow. Lastly, most students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. The government should make scholarships and student loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for conventional Colleges and Universities students.

The ramifications of these interventions would be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would remove people’s false negative perceptions about online learning. Many think online learning is easy, and the number of credits taken is far less than those born in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificates are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to. No online college or university can sell certificates. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results.

The most obvious is that it would reduce program fees because the students’ amount would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek Accreditation from accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though Accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the United States, some occupations that require state licensing would not accept degrees from non-accredited Colleges and universities. Prospective online learners usually worry about whether they can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and the negative perception people have about online education. Government interventions in the form of scholarships and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto could not attend school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.

Many people want to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities. Hence, they gain knowledge and skills or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do so because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of a national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation costs, and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can ensure that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning and that their certificate would be accepted for jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on conventional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development, and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.