Online vs. Traditional Degree: Is there a stigma?

    Rachel Kramer is pursuing a Master's in Psychology at the University of Phoenix online.

    COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Academics, bargains and convenience; it's what some would call the ABC's of finding a place to further their education.

    "I like the flexibility the most," says Rachel Kramer, a student at the University of Phoenix and her classroom, "online is the new wave the new thing you know?"

    Rachel is just one of millions of students who choose to attend college online instead of a traditional on-campus institution.

    "It's just made my life a lot easier because I am a working adult, I work a full time job and I have a family," says Kramer.

    Campus Director Stepanie Jackson, says even though there isn't a classroom or set schedule, the school offers everything a traditional college does. Students even receive a syllabus and a week to week lesson plan online.

    "They love the flexibility that it offers, they love the rigor of the program, the fact that they can work ahead, they don't have to necessarily plan their day around going to class," Jackson says.

    But is there a stigma for those getting a degree from an online college like the University of Phoenix compared to other traditional institutions like USC or Clemson?

    According to USC student Bridget Goetowski, "I think there is, but I know a lot of good online degrees that give you that hands on experience that you need and I think that's the difference, that even if you're taking classes online as long as you get the hands on experience that's what makes the big difference."

    "I guess it's just attached to that online isn't as real as in person maybe in more ways than one," says USC Sophomore Paddy Dover.

    Stephanie Jackson disagrees.

    "I think the program is very reputable, it compares to your USC's, your Clemson's and other schools, it's very rigorous, we're actually a pioneer in online education," she explains.

    According to, the University of Phoenix offers the largest number of accredited online degree programs of any online institution.

    Students can receive their Associates, Bachelors, Masters and doctorate degrees in more than ten fields.

    Rachel Kramer says, "University of Phoenix is pretty well known, I mean you see it everywhere, you see it online, the advertisements, you see it on television for the commercials."

    "It's important to know that education is not a one size fits all," says Jackson.

    So while the debate continues, students seeking higher education still getting a degree when and where they want, no matter the stigma.

    Do you think there is a stigma to getting a degree online? Share your comments below and let us know.

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