Pre-pandemic, a slim majority of students considered affordability the most compelling driver for choosing their online school. According to a survey by Wiley Education Services, 51 percent of students said cost was the big factor. However, quality still matters: Two-thirds of students (64 percent) said they’d be willing to pay more in tuition if they felt they were gaining something notable. And that suggests that as colleges and universities sort out their instruction for the fall, which, in many cases will rely on virtual education, they’d better have something up their sleeves to ensure that students find the experience worthwhile.
The survey was given to 1,618 respondents, all of whom were 18 or older and actively or previously enrolled in a fully online degree, certificate or licensing program, or planning to attend one. Wiley Education is part of John Wiley and Sons; the company worked with Aslanian Market Research, a division of EducationDynamics. This is the ninth year the company has run its online college students report. According to the researchers, although the survey was done in early 2020, prior to campus closures, the results can provide guidance in helping schools “better understand and adapt online programs in lockstep with changing student behaviors.”