Understanding Your Options

Not all online degree programs are created equal. Nor do they come one-size-fits-all. That is why it’s important to thoroughly explore your online education options, especially the type of institution you attend and the academic calendar it keeps, rather than just enrolling in the first program that appears on your Google search page.

Firstly, there are several types of higher education institutions that offer online degree programs. These include private colleges and universities, which are operated by nonprofit organizations with educational, research, or religious affiliations. Rather than tax dollars, these institutions are funded by student tuition, private donors, and investments. Some private colleges are known as proprietary schools, meaning that a profit-seeking business operates them. There are also public colleges and universities, which typically are established and run by state governments. They mainly receive their funding through public means, such as state taxes.

Secondly, there are several options when it comes to the length or pace of your degree program. Some online programs operate similarly to traditional campus programs, on a semester- based schedule where students take multiple classes at a time. Others may have academic quarters where students take one to two courses over five weeks or more, while others may have trimester schedules that generally last around 14 to 16 weeks during which students take three to four courses. By knowing the differences, you can find a school that operates on an academic schedule that works best for you.