An online master's degree for $10K?
- Georgia Institute of Technology is starting an online master’s degree in cybersecurity for less than $10,000 launching in January 2019, Inside Higher Ed reports. This follows Georgia Tech’s success of a similar online master’s degree in computer science and analytics.
- The institution offers an on-campus master’s degree in cybersecurity for $20,000 for in-state students and $40,000 for out-of-state students.
- The cybersecurity master’s degree is designed to serve 250 working professionals seeking a part-time program. Raheem Beyah, faculty lead for the degree program, said the online program will offer the same rigorous curriculum as the on-campus program.
While online education may seem like a practical solution for working students seeking degree options, it should be noted that all online degree programs are not created equal. Studies show that online education tends to be a poor option for underprepared students enrolled in large, for-profit colleges. These students, who are more likely to be older, work full time and be single parents, did substantially worse than students enrolled in the same courses in a face-to-face environment. They earned lower grades, were less likely to succeed in subsequent courses and were more likely to drop out.
It is possible for institutions to create viable online learning options that serve the needs of students. Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, for instance, recently announced that it is cutting tuition in half for students enrolled in their online division. The decision came after the college conducted a survey of adults that said the high cost of college attendance was a serious barrier to enrolling -- even more important than family responsibilities or lack of time. College officials said they are focused on making the online program high quality and financially sustainable by scaling internal operations to match growth in student admissions and needs of adults.
Reports from Babson Survey Research Group support Champlain College’s findings, noting that online college student retention and graduation rates can be improved by providing the proper support. This can include online community and study groups, an online career services portal and online advising opportunities.