Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve?
We examine whether online learning technologies have led to lower prices in higher education. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, we show that online education is concentrated in large for-profit chains and less-selective public institutions. Colleges with a higher share of online students charge lower tuition prices. We present evidence that real and relative prices for full-time undergraduate online education declined from 2006 to 2013. Although the pattern of results suggests some hope that online technology can “bend the cost curve” in higher education, the impact of online learning on education quality remains uncertain.
We gratefully acknowledge support from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C110011 to Teachers College, Columbia University. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
David J. Deming & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Noam Yuchtman, 2015. "Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 496-501, May. citation courtesy of