More on the growth of online higher education from the NY Times article “Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree” (here):
Harvard and Ohio State are not going to disappear any time soon. But a host of new online enterprises are making earning a college degree cheaper, faster and flexible enough to take work experience into account. As Wikipedia upended the encyclopedia industry and iTunes changed the music business, these businesses have the potential to change higher education……
Nationwide, almost three quarters of college students attend public institutions, and commercial career colleges like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan now make up almost as much of the remaining quarter as traditional nonprofit private universities like Stanford or Duke. Many of the emerging models are far cheaper than the publicly traded career colleges, some of which have come under scrutiny over the last year for leaving students with mountains of debt and credentials of little value.
And it is too soon to know which will take off, or what might come along to overtake them.
“I’m just waiting for a Wikipedia University, with high-quality, online, open-source courses provided by a variety of different people,” said Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economics professor who directs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. “Or the moment when someone like Bill Gates creates Superstar University, finding the best professors for the 200 courses that a good liberal arts college offers, and paying them $25,000 each to put their classes online.”
Oregon's governor, legislature, and its new Oregon Education Investment Board will increasingly find it difficult to allocate more funding to the existing public residential model of higher ed when online learning provides cheaper and more accessible alternatives.