Feds Approve Big Bucks For Online Degree Students

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For millions of college students, an unexpected floodgate of opportunity has been kicked open by Congress. History may record this event as the catalyst for a significant societal shift -- the great education equalizer. Because now the inner city high school graduate, the single at-home mom, the physically-challenged career aspirant, and the struggling entry-level employee can move up the economic ladder with an online education enabled by government monies.

For millions of college students, an unexpected floodgate of opportunity has been kicked open by Congress. History may record this event as the catalyst for a significant societal shift -- the great education equalizer. Because now the inner city high school graduate, the single at-home mom, the physically-challenged career aspirant, and the struggling entry-level employee can move up the economic ladder with an online education enabled by government monies.

In a move that is anticipated to create a boon for online schools and their students, both houses of Congress voted to modify the “50-50 Rule”. This provision previously restricted federal financial aid to colleges offering more than half of their classes online. There were a few exceptions to the rule; but most online degree students were locked out of this primary method of financing a college education.

The “50-50 Rule” change was buried inside of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The new change will predominantly help those in the low and middle income brackets to pursue online degrees with government assistance. It will also allow an increase in educational options to those students with economic, physical or scheduling barriers. With the use of a computer, a modem and an Internet connection, these students may now be eligible for the necessary federal financial aid funds to pursue professional and career goals online.

Visionary brick-and-mortar colleges are also elated over this turn of events; because they can now offer additional online classes without being concerned about losing federal funding. The rise in popularity of online classes in traditional colleges has been evident; since these classes routinely fill up quickly when offered. Still other colleges are concerned about new diploma mills popping up to take advantage of “easy money”. (Diploma mills offer college degrees for a fee, but require little or no significant schoolwork.)

However, a school must be properly accredited in order to be eligible to receive federal financial aid on behalf of its students. Additionally, watchdog organizations like the Sloan Consortium, are committed to seeking excellence in online education. They accomplish this by providing educational models for online courses to colleges and universities, by assisting schools in implementing online degree programs, and by monitoring various aspects of online education. The Sloan Consortium’s 2005 report shows that over 2 million college students are currently enrolled in online courses; and that figure is rising significantly each year.

DirectoryofSchools.com, a leading marketer of online degree programs, is well-prepared for the growing wave of interest in online education with its database of over 1,300 online schools and its wide array of educational choices. By perusing its directory of high quality vocational and accredited online degree programs at Directory of Schools, potential students can compare fields of interest, read informative articles and determine the best fit for their career goals. Applicants for financial aid -- federal or otherwise -- should contact the school they wish to attend for details about eligibility criteria.

A new day has arrived for higher education. It is not preceded by a visible exhibition of revelry, but rather with the serenity of a beautiful sunrise.Those who have previously reflected only on the impossibility of attaining a college education can now enter the ranks of the economically empowered. But don’t wait too long to decide. Anything could be buried in the next budget bill.

About DirectoryofSchools.com

Since 1999, DirectoryofSchools.com, http://www.directoryofschools.com, has connected over 15,000,000 potential students to accredited online schools and e-learning information. More than 8,000 online degree and professional certificate programs in over 1,300 schools represent the commitment of DirectoryofSchools.com to excellence in online education through its partnerships with universities, colleges and trade schools. In addition, a comprehensive national directory of high schools in the United States is available on its website, along with homework help and numerous other resources. Career-minded individuals need make only one cyber-stop for all of their distance learning needs.

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Vida Olivier