Optimal launches OnlineU to lead students through new remote education landscape

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The new site will contain 2021 rankings of the best online colleges for ROI, as well as a new online magazine tackling emerging issues.

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To better address student needs, Optimal has extensively upgraded the new site with a complete redesign, new rankings for best online colleges for ROI, and numerous thought-leadership articles.

As online learning continues to gain prevalence as a result of the pandemic, it is more important than ever for prospective students to have access to comprehensive, quality resources that can help guide and inform their decision-making process.

In order to answer that call, today, higher education data research company Optimal is announcing the launch of its new flagship product OnlineU (formerly Guide to Online Schools) as a premier authority and ultimate destination to help students navigate through this new remote landscape. To better address student needs, Optimal has extensively upgraded the new site with a complete redesign, new rankings for best online colleges for ROI, and numerous thought-leadership articles, all providing students with the data, information and insights needed to make the best possible decisions for their circumstances.

“The pandemic has significantly accelerated the growth of online learning and delivered us into a territory where there is not a lot of qualitative or quantitative information yet,” said Optimal founder and CEO Sung Rhee. “OnlineU is looking to fill this space with our data-driven articles and outcomes-based rankings focused specifically on return on investment, so students are able to vet the value and outcome of their choices rather than playing the guessing game.”

OnlineU’s new 2021 Best Colleges for Return on Investment rankings are based on median salary and mean debt numbers, sourced directly from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. To determine mid-career ROI, schools were ranked by graduates’ salaries and debt payments for 10 years after graduation, accounting for standard salary growth and interest on debt payments. This formula gives each school a percentile "ROI score" that reflects how the salary and debt of each school's programs compare to similar ones.

“Understanding your future financial outcome has never been more important,” said Rhee. “As student debt continues to rise exponentially and finances are strained as a result of COVID-19, many people are asking themselves ‘is an education worth it right now?’. By showing the salary and debt that can be expected 10 years after graduation, we can help prospective students answer that question.”

Since the upfront cost of the degree is also an important decision-making factor, OnlineU’s rankings additionally include a manually researched online-specific annual tuition rate for each school.

And as the pandemic has also shed light on many other issues plaguing the traditional higher education space, OnlineU’s new magazine,The Transcript, will provide expert editorials and data-driven thought leadership articles that speak to these pressing matters. Optimal’s unique position as a leader in the online education space over the past decade has allowed them to draw from internal data, conduct interviews with partners and students alike, and provide solid, up-to-date research to inform all aspects of the online education experience.

About Optimal™
Optimal helps prospective students make informed, data-driven decisions to improve their collegiate experience and their post-college careers. The company provides over 85,000 in-depth student reviews, as well as college and bootcamp rankings for every major through its three major products, OnlineU, GradReports, and SwitchUp. Optimal’s tools and services provide accessible and transparent financial data regarding cost and earning potential that give students educational paths that lead them to success, without burdening them with insurmountable debt. https://www.optimal.com

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Nicole Hopler
Optimal
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