The value of online college degrees is tethered to a university’s traditional presence, accreditation, and name recognition, according to series of studies and surveys.

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Employers said accreditation played a big role in shaping their view of an online degree.

Colleges and universities have advertised their growing web-based courses as an alternative for nontraditional students who couldn’t possibly attend school the traditional way, spending hours a day in campus lecture halls and discussions sections.

If employers don’t view online degrees in the same light as their traditional counterparts, the question arises: will an online education — no matter how convenient and inexpensive — reap the same financial benefits?

Drexel University released an infographic summarizing what, exactly, employers think of college degrees earned through online classes. The findings were encouraging for many — but not all — online degree holders.

  • A Zogby International Survey showed that CEOs and human resource directors valued online degrees from established universities over degrees from “lesser-known” schools.
  • The Zogby survey showed a clear preference among employers for online degrees that come from schools with traditional campus-based programs, rather than online-only colleges.
  • Every executive surveyed by Zogby said accreditation is a key in how they perceive the value of an online degree. Regional accreditation was especially important.
  • Three in four campus officials said they view online and traditional education equally, although that number rose to 89 percent when the school has a traditional campus.

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