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Survey Shows Younger Americans More Accepting of Online Education

Nov 29, 2012

According to a new national survey for Northeastern University by FTI Consulting, a vast majority of Americans believe a college degree is important to achieving the American Dream, gaining crucial intellectual benefits and finding a good job. Still, 83% of respondents said the U.S. higher education system must change if it wants to remain globally competitive.

In recent years, many academics have turned to online education as a means to enhance the U.S. educational system, as web-based classes can lower costs and improve access for countless residents. However, the survey shows that there is a vast generational divide among Americans who believe online education can successfully replace traditional classroom models.

Today, only 49% of all respondents said online degree programs can provide a similar quality of education as on-campus programs. Among 18- to 30-year-olds, this figure rose to 61%. Similarly, while 53% of Americans said online degrees will be just as recognized and accepted among employers as traditional degrees in the next five to seven years, about 68% of younger respondents said the same.

Given their support for online education, these younger Americans are also largely optimistic about the future of hybrid learning, which involves both online and classroom-based elements. The survey shows that 87% of younger adults believe hybrid learning models are a good option for working Americans hoping to go back to school.

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