Online Learners Gain Access to 70 Million Dollar Bonanza

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Students who pursue online degrees at virtual universities have access to nearly $70 million in additional federal student loan money for school year 2006-7, according to research by World Wide Learn, the world's premier online directory of education. Women and minority students--who make up 52% and 40% of the virtual for-profit university student population, respectively--are poised to make significant strides toward equal educational funding. With the mid-August deadline for federal student loans approaching, WWL presents a graphic overview of the new funding options for students who telecommute to online classes.

As the mid-August deadline for federal student loan applications approaches, World Wide Learn, the world's premier online directory of education, offers a detailed picture of the new funding landscape for online students. The report, including two charts and two graphs, maps out the growth in online enrollments as well as the probable shifts in federal funding.

Thanks to the end of the "50 percent rule," which denied funding to students at schools lacking a significant brick-and-mortar presence, online learners are now eligible to receive federal Title IV money. However, online students need to be particularly attentive to federal application deadlines. Though online courses can start on demand, or every six weeks in some cases, federal funding will likely remain semester-driven.

In a 1992 crackdown on diploma mills, lawmakers reclassified virtual learners as correspondence students, denying them such federal funding staples as Stafford and Perkins Loans and Pell Grants. Now, the Higher Education Reconciliation Act (HERA) once again makes these monies available to students pursuing online degrees. Government estimates project a $697-million increase in funding over the next ten years.

Opponents of the 50 percent rule long saw the legislation as a barrier to equal access to post-secondary education. Since women, minorities, and other traditionally under-served student populations make up a disproportionate number of the online student body, lawmakers may see their hope for equality materialize.

View the full report outlining the impact of the 50 percent rule on online education.

World Wide Learn is the world's premier online directory of education, featuring informative resources as well as over 1,600 online degree programs, 200 online universities, 2,300 campus-based career college programs, and over 2,500 online courses. World Wide Learn receives thousands of visitors each day and has been featured on

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