The proof of that is in the pudding. In general, completely online programs, especially those in the for-profit sector, have had poor earnings outcomes.11 In 2019, research by George Mason University professors reported that “[s]tudents in online education, and in particular underprepared and disadvantaged students, underperform and on average, experience poor outcomes,” and that online education, “does not produce a positive return on investment.”12 In 2015 through 2018, a Stanford University scholar published a study that “provide[s] little support for optimistic prognostications about online education.” The study goes on to find little, and in most cases no, return on investment to learning online.13 Another report presented at the October 2015 Conference on Research on Income and Wealth, looking at IRS data, found that “[t]here is scant evidence that online enrollment moves people toward jobs associated with higher labor productivity.”14

Seth Forman

Forman, S. (2020). Online Learning and Higher Ed’s Dark Secret. Academic Questions, 1–5.