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Georgia Tech to offer a $7,000 advanced degree, will others?

Georgia Tech’s pioneering of the affordable virtual advanced degree could change the face of education and boost the economy all while securing a high demand for its own advanced technology degree graduates

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Georgia Tech offering a prestigious degree at a low cost

Georgia Tech is teaming up with Udacity, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform and AT&T to offer an advanced technological degree. Why is this information considered buzz? Through MOOCs, Udacity, launched in 2012, free online classes are offered to anyone with an internet connection. Georgia Tech’s merging with them allows this advanced computer science degree to be offered for only $7,000 – a fraction of the cost of the current virtual degree programs.

At first thought, it may seem that making an advanced degree more affordable and attainable to the masses would flood the technology institution with a pool of mediocre candidates vying for advancement based on adding the letters MCS to their names, but the difference is that this is Georgia Tech, a reputable school whose graduates are known for being more marketable as employees. If Georgia Tech can implement a virtual advanced degree program with high quality instruction and marketable graduates, they will indeed be the pioneers of reputable virtual education.

Why distance learning blossomed

There has been a need for distance learning or correspondence learning as far back as the 1800s, and as the internet became more and more commonplace in the 1990s, online education began to blossom. But it was the downfall of the economy that really inundated us with virtual education opportunities, according to Stephen Viscusi, author and global workplace expert.

As companies began to have fewer opportunities for advancement, people began to lose jobs, and new college graduates were faced with unsuccessful job searches; people by the masses turned to advanced degrees hoping for a leg up. Well educated prospective employees became commonplace.

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More and more people found themselves with upwards of $20,000 in student loans due to the high cost of distance and virtual programs, and though an education is always a good intellectual investment, these degrees didn’t gain individuals promotions or, in some cases, jobs at all. Being more in debt while simultaneously not gaining income doesn’t allow frivolous spending which is what the economy needed to recover.

Throwing affordability into the equation

An MOOC allows for affordable learning and coursework anywhere, anytime. It eliminates looming debt associated with advanced degrees and, therefore, is a potential boost to the economy as graduates, even if they don’t immediately advance in salary, throw less toward school debt and, therefore, a little more toward plain old spending.

With the economy slowly recovering, if Georgia Tech can pass the test of producing graduates with hireability, other institutions will get on board with MOOCs, and in a full circle moment, those Georgia Tech grads will be in high demand to build and run the new and affordable virtual advanced degree programs.

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Written By

Kristyl Barron holds a BA in English Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MHR in Counseling/Organizational Management from the University of Oklahoma. Barron has been writing professionally since 2008, and projects include a memoir entitled Give Your Brother Back His Barbie and an in progress motivational book called Aspies Among Us.

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