Page 11 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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continues into the fall, some residential students and their parents will start asking why they should pay large tuition bills for an in-person experience they are not receiving. If they are going to be learning online anyway, why not opt for a provider that has strong experience with online learning and that can offer it more affordably than can a traditional college or university?
Those institutions with robust online learning programs — particularly if they are more affordable than a traditional program — will stand to gain ground. Online learning will grow from where it was pre-COVID-19, when already over a third of postsecondary students took at least one online class and roughly 30 percent of graduate students studied exclusively online. Mega-universities that offer affordable programs, such as Western Governors University and Southern New Hampshire University, will grow. Places like Arizona State University that offer robust online programs as well as in-person ones and can offer the potential for seamless transfer
between the two are also likely to benefit. What’s more, as commentators are fond of saying, higher education is countercyclical because adults return to college in tough times to wait out the recession while investing in
The majority of adult learners who return to
school will almost certainly enroll in online programs out of a desire for convenience and accessibility — especially given the current physical-distancing requirements. Early data suggests that students are bullish on online colleges and universities — and relatively less interested in community college options and traditional offline education environments. Many adult learners will also enroll in unaccredited online programs that are faster and cheaper and are tied to a field of potential employment.
Online programs that create overwhelmingly positive experiences and successfully serve learners who would have otherwise pursued a more traditional offline avenue will build brand loyalty among this group — which will likely

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