[caption id="attachment_29077" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Three-fourths of public colleges believe online courses are "critical" for long-term success."]Three-fourths of public colleges and universities believe online courses are "critical" for long-term success.[/caption]

The 2009 Sloan-C report on online education confirmed what campus officials have seen during the country’s economic downturn: Americans are flocking to web-based classes.

The seventh annual study, based on responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, reported a 17-percent increase in online course enrollment, with more than one-fourth of U.S. college students taking...

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