"This study attempts a fairly comprehensive examination of online postsecondary education and its effects on students’ later earnings and job outcomes.
It also calculates ROIs. On the whole, I find little support for optimistic prog-
nostications about online education. It is not substantially less expensive for
society than comparably selective in-person education, although of course
its costs may fall in the future as online schools gain experience. Students
themselves pay more for online education than in-person education even
though the resources devoted to their instruction are lower. Online enroll-
ment episodes do usually raise students’ earnings, but almost never by an
amount that covers the social cost of their education. This failure to cover
social costs is important for taxpayers, especially for federal taxpayers who
are the main funders of online education apart from the students themselves."