Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Chris Hoag


In a time when the rising costs of education have deterred students from seeking a college degree, finding a cost-effective alternative to a traditional university has become an increasingly important issue. This study seeks to evaluate the labor market returns to earning a degree online versus a traditional university through an econometric regression based on survey data of recent graduates from online and traditional universities. Regression analysis compares average income for graduates of online and traditional institutions while controlling for measures of school type, characteristics, selectivity, and region at the institutional level. The effect of college type on average income was statistically indistinguishable from zero. However, there were statistically significant and positive returns to college selectivity and quality. A calculation of the net present value of attending an online university versus a traditional university demonstrates that there are positive returns to attending a traditional university.


Senior Thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics.

Included in

Econometrics Commons