A new Gallup poll found more Americans trust the quality of online universities, but most still believe that traditional education is the best. The findings were taken from a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults from Nov. 25-Dec. 15, 2013.
The study found that 37% agree or strongly agree that online institutions offer high-quality education, up from 30% in 2011. The percentage of respondents who said they agree or strongly agree that traditional colleges and universities offer high-quality education was 77%, and 58% felt the same about community colleges.
When it comes to employment, 59% were at least somewhat likely to hire a candidate with a degree from an online institution over a candidate with the same degree from a traditional school, although just 15% said they were very likely to make that choice. That result is similar to the findings of another 2013 Gallup poll of business leaders, in which 54% said they would be at least somewhat likely to hire a person with an online degree.
“Although online colleges and universities are still in their nascent stage, these findings seem to indicate an increasing acceptance of Internet-based education as a viable alternative to other more traditional institutions,” the authors of the report wrote. “As online colleges continue to grow and adapt to the needs of students and the marketplace, they have the potential to lower costs and increase accessibility to higher education, while imparting knowledge and skills that may be more relevant to today’s high-tech employers. Online colleges, however, must continue closing the gap in regards to perceived quality if they aim to someday rival traditional colleges and universities.”