ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Pros and Cons of an Online Degree

Updated on February 10, 2013
Photo courtesy of Free Range Photos.
Photo courtesy of Free Range Photos.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates earn more money and are also less susceptible to unemployment than those who do not attend college. Individuals with an Associate degree earn more than those with a high school diploma. The attainment of a Bachelor’s degree further increases earning potential and lowers the chances of unemployment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that those with a Master’s degree earn twice as much as those with just a high school diploma, and have an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent vs. over 10 percent for high school graduates. These factors make the attainment of a college degree a very good choice for those with the discipline and desire to pursuit it.

Traditionally, degrees were only available in a campus setting. However, online programs are growing in popularity. There are advantages and disadvantages to online degree programs, and both must be weighed carefully to make the best choice.


Students who choose to pursue an online degree have the advantage of being able to access their lectures at any time via the Internet. This format provides a multitude of options. Not only can these students set their own schedules and determine when they want to view their online classes, but they also have the freedom to choose where they want to view the lectures.

From sitting at the kitchen table in a bathrobe to lying on the grass in a park, the possibilities are endless. As long as the student has Internet access, lectures can be viewed from anywhere.


On the other hand, campus settings provide opportunities to meet and bond with classmates and schoolmates. Students in a campus setting are more likely to develop and function as a team.

Some students frequently eat and study together, and develop support systems that can prove quite valuable for exchanging information regarding assignments and research, while also providing moral support. In addition, the social interaction provided by face-to-face communication contributes to friendships and bonds that may last well beyond the classroom.

Individual Pace

Online students have the convenience of learning at their own pace. They can schedule tests and study at their own tempo, which in especially important for those who may find it difficult to keep up with their classmates. Since students can learn, complete assignments, and study at their own pace, they are not subject to a lecture schedule that may move too quickly – or slowly – for their needs.

Reduced Instructor Access

However, by not being present in the classroom, online students are at a disadvantage regarding access to the instructor, since spontaneous questions cannot be asked while the lecture is being viewed online. In addition, these students cannot speak with the instructor after class or stop by the instructor’s office. Although students can communicate by email or some other established protocol - which may vary from school to school - this is drastically different from the teacher-to-student personal communication that a classroom setting provides.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for both online and campus-based programs. Usually, online classes are less expensive.


There is some debate regarding the quality of an online degree compared to a campus-based program. Most online universities declare that an online degree is just as valuable, as long as the school is accredited. In fact, a campus-based program that is not accredited may not be as reputable as an accredited online program.

On the other side of the debate, critics dismiss the validity of pursuing an online degree because some employers do not consider candidates with online degrees to be as knowledgeable as their campus-based peers.

In addition, although many online schools are accredited, none are ranked or considered “leading” universities by trusted sources like the U.S. News and World Report, or the United States National Research Council. Those thinking of investing time and money in an online program should carefully weigh this information since the degree’s value - or return on investment - may be the most important criterion.


In summary, there are both advantages and disadvantages to pursuing an online degree. The major factors are as follows:

· Online students have the convenience of viewing their lectures via the Internet at any time, but they miss the social interaction and teamwork that a campus-setting provides

· Online students can study, view lectures, and take tests at their own pace, but they have very limited access to instructors

· Online students can apply for financial aid, and the cost of an online degree is not as expensive as a campus-based degree

· Online programs are not ranked among the best schools or considered leading universities


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)