Many companies are incorporating more Online Learning into their curriculum. But how much do people use these?
How Much Percent Of The Population Use Online Learning Websites
Boomerang and Interac want to know how much of your country’s population regularly uses non-school-based higher education online programs.
As I said before, getting a college degree is quickly becoming as important as a high school diploma. The younger generation of millennials has grown up getting degrees without ever going to a classroom. So why not find an effective platform and combine academic rigor with online learning techniques, where education can truly be sustainable, not only for students, but for the institution itself?
I bring this topic up because two US institutions have just come to terms with a potential problem. Their problem is not how to get people to go to college, but how to get them to complete that degree. The institutions in question are the University of Phoenix and the American University of the Caribbean, where a great deal of the students have taken advantage of tax benefits by getting tuition reimbursement from the IRS. It is an unlawful practice because it violates the legal requirements of the tax code.
That was the issue they discussed today at the US House Oversight Committee Hearing that went before Congress. Another prominent college, the University of Phoenix, admitted to the Committee they were under investigation. What is unusual about this information is that these institutions admitted to being under investigation and did not ask for any special treatment. The Senate Finance Committee called the Internet higher education play thing into question a year ago and now the two non-profit academic institutions have done the same.
As reported by Forbes:
The IRS has been enforcing its tax laws aggressively. In just the past year, a handful of non-profit schools have paid more than $1 billion in fines and penalties. The United States also announced plans to bring tax penalties for these tax advantages to double, from $50,000 to $100,000.
Both institutions say they did not break the law when sending out these tax breaks. They were providing education services to students and were only reimbursing certain tax expenses. If a student is taking classes full time or part time, a traditional college and campus requires the student be on campus to take classes. Another huge flaw in that theory is that once a student graduates from a school, it’s too late to get the tuition reimbursed.
While neither institution managed to explain exactly how a student could go to school and gain an educational degree online for a number of reasons, including low enrollment, cost, work requirements, and potential for graduating online, they stood to gain from the online non-degree courses. With the IRS coming down on their heels, these schools agreed to the crackdown and no further reimbursement will be allowed.
What this means is that you can expect to see the programs ending soon at these two institutions. I think its a good thing because students who were enrolled were getting some pretty stiff academic benefits. Imagine if your child or grandchild had been taking classes from this program and you found out that the benefits were a sham. Worse yet, would you tell your child or grandchild about this and encourage them to attend? This may be a bad reality but it is a reality. The students are now out of the program, their tax breaks are gone, and the non-profit will not be reimbursed for the tuition they owe.
Whether you are supporting education for your student or not, this development is potentially a negative for the industry. There are a lot of competitive advantages with the online programs because of this transparency, low student debt burden, and low enrollment. I don’t know if this thing will turn into a problem in the United States, but it will be hard to tell without being a direct user. That said, I think there are serious educational benefits to this model. Overall, it will be very interesting to see what the outcome is for this college education model going forward.