Online Education Study to Research Long Term Effects on Careers and Salaries

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As the prospects for an early end to the economic slowdown in the US recede, the employment situation is forecast to remain weak well into 2009. EduDecisions.com announced today that it will expand its university education research initiative into a three year longitudinal study. The 8,000 participant online study will examine the effects of differing degrees, areas of study, and grades on careers and job prospects. Particular emphasis will be given to the costs and rewards of advanced education in eight different study areas. These include: Nursing, Criminal Justice, Business, Teaching, Psychology, Healthcare Administration, IT and Human Services.

With analysis now complete on recent studies conducted on behalf of EduDecisions.com, the online education destination has now commissioned a major longitudinal study. The research will examine the motivators for new students' choice of program, the drop out rate, the relevance of degree program to career choice and salary.

To follow up on recent study results showing, for example, that 65% of Americans would support higher taxes to fund expanded nursing education, a randomized sub-set of the participants in the study will be polled regularly on the socio-economic impact of education outside their immediate area of study. In total, two thousand participants will be empanelled in each of eight areas to study: Nursing, Criminal Justice, Business, Teaching, Psychology, Healthcare Administration, Information Technology and Human Services. Interim results will be published quarterly, while it is anticipated that a total of four thousand, 25% of the initial group, will complete the full study.

Commenting on the depth of the anticipated data, Dr. Regan Carey, who heads the Morefocus Media division that will conduct the research, said, "One off surveys certainly have their place in attitudinal research. However, there really is no substitute for long term data to examine the effects of external factors and their influence on the core metrics over time. A three year study with quarterly reporting on a sample of this size will allow us to examine the difference in motivations and results. In particular, we will examine the differences between those currently at university studying for degrees, those currently in work but feeling insecure, and those recent high school grads who, until now, were not considering advanced education."

Dr. Carey continued, "It is clear that there is a direct correlation between the costs of degree level education and the course completion rate. Sadly, in tough economic times, this can lead to a 'catch 22' situation where a higher paying career requires a university education but advanced education is not possible without time in a higher paying job. To an extent, the availability of online degrees has alleviated the effects of this conundrum for many. However, in our opinion, to date there has been insufficient research in the statistics as they relate to campus vs. online degree programs, hybrid programs and the relative economic impact."

In order to study the relevance of the economic aspects on the supply-side of the university education/job/salary equation, EduDecisions.com will offer partial scholarships to randomized students in each of the eight areas under study. For normalization purposes, an equally sized control group will be randomized and monitored. The recipients of the scholarships will be drawn from registrants who are studying for online bachelor's and master's degrees, campus bachelor's and master's degrees and a hybrid in each area of study. Recipients of scholarships will be required to maintain a secure blog, de-identified extracts from which will be published in real time.

Dr. Carey concluded, "Much of the research that we've conducted in the healthcare sector has been concerned with compliance and persistency. The initial studies in the Education sector have shown some interesting parallels. Although, unlike healthcare where continuing to take drugs as and when directed can be a matter of life or death, missing class and dropping out can simply result in a negative long term financial impact. It is anticipated that with the final results of the study we will be able to quantify both the lifestyle and economic parallels."

The research will be carried over the Web and mobile research platform managed by morefocus media. Participants will be randomized from the morefocus research opt-in database and from existing and prospective students who Register prior to October 1st, 2008. The first interim data-set and report will be available in January 2009.

About EduDecisions.com
EduDecisions.com is a San Diego-based online education destination. In co-operation with morefocus media, the online publishing division of morefocus group inc., EduDecisions.com publishes an independent network of innovative program-specific education websites and mobile communication tools. The mission of EduDecisions.com is to enhance the student experience, facilitate student interaction and provide real time data on education trends.

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Luke Pilon
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