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UVU study suggests online degree options could boost graduation rates

By Ashtyn Asay - | May 3, 2022

Michael Schnell, Special to the Daily Herald

Students pass by oversized lettering on the campus of Utah Valley University on Monday, August 19, 2019.

A group of students at Utah Valley University wants to spread awareness about the university’s online degree options after finding that many participants in their study who never graduated from college likely would have done so had online options been available to them.

Kathryn Cardullo, a public relations and strategic communications major in the UVU online communications program, and her peers conducted a survey that they distributed via their social media accounts. Of those who responded to the survey, 83.11% of participants were between the ages of 17 and 26, 62.84% of them were female, and 54.42% were married.

Of those who participated in the survey, 44.70% said they would transfer or change universities or degrees if they were cheaper than their current university or degree.

“Some of our most important findings were that the most important thing for students, in general, was tuition and scholarships,” Cardullo said. “That was something that was pretty surprising to us, ’cause I think growing up in Utah I always just thought that people wanted location.”

Additionally, the students found that for those survey respondents who did not finish college, 25% of them cited financial constraints as the reason they were not able to finish, and 47.35% said they would likely have finished had an online degree been available to them.

“Something interesting was that a lot of people who didn’t finish their degrees said they would have, had an online degree been available to them,” Cardullo said. “We also discovered that so many people were interested in degrees, yet they didn’t know about it, and so many people even in Utah areas and UVU students weren’t aware that UVU had such great, affordable, online options.”

After moving from Utah to California, Cardullo said she wondered how she would finish her degree before finding UVU’s online option. She believes that others wishing to acquire a degree, particularly those who would be classified as nontraditional students like herself, could greatly benefit from online classes.

“I would say if there’s three main parts where it’s benefitted me is that it works for nontraditional students, working students, those who need to create their own schedule,” Cardullo said. “There are quality professors; it’s the same professors that would be teaching you in person who will be teaching you online. … Then the last point I think is the tuition and the scholarship opportunities.”


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