Advances in Online Education at For-Profit Colleges and Universities

Jorge Klor de Alva


Online education has been associated closely with for-profit higher education since 1989, when the University of Phoenix began to offer degrees fully online. Since that time, this modality of education has expanded widely and is now in place or on the drawing boards of most of the nation’s private and public institutions. However, the very fact of its close association with the fast growing for-profit sector has long led a number of academics to question online education’s capacity to deliver quality instruction where effective learning can take place.

The four articles in this issue should mark a turning point in this skepticism, not by showing that online education is “as good as or better” than face-to-face—a fact now too widely accepted to merit defense here—but by illuminating the path by which online education will ultimately make such skepticism more quaint than considered. Two factors help to ground this assertion.


online education, for-profit, innovation