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5 Reasons Millennials Choose Online Universities

Dec 19, 2017

Having surpassed the Baby Boomers as “the nation’s largest living generation,” millennials are now an unquestionably influential global force. Your generation adopts technology more quickly, drives changes in workplace culture earlier, influences consumer products more dramatically and demands personalization more often than any other generation. You and your fellow millennials are the ones to watch as you make increasingly sophisticated data-driven decisions about your lives, including college and career choice.

A millennial’s drive to achieve and learn is unstoppable. That drive is why many of you jump at the opportunity to attend an online university. It is the ideal learning environment — a digital learning environment — tailored specifically to meet your unique needs and priorities.

Online Universities Can Save Students Money

Young millennials make saving for the future a top priority, according to Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for In fact, 74 percent of adults aged 18 to 26 — or “young millennials” — reported limiting current expenditures and saving for the future.

When members of your generation select an online university — such as WGU, where annual undergraduate tuition averages $6,500 — they are working toward their goals for college and career while keeping their financial objectives front and center.

Accelerated Degrees Promote Flexibility

Millennials know they thrive in flexible environments. In fact, your generation increasingly seeks flexibility in the workplace. In today’s workforce, flexible schedules, part-time roles and remote roles are the expectation rather than the exception. So it’s only natural for you to expect the same from higher education.

As Peter Yobo, a PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant, told the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), millennials are not “working less or producing less; they’re just working differently.” WGU provides a unique student-driven experience, that suits the millennial preference for additional flexibility.

WGU’s approach is centered on student-directed pacing; students complete required assessments when they are ready. As a result, students can graduate with a degree in less time than it would take for a traditional four-year college experience. Simultaneously, millennials can balance learning and growth with their financially savvy savings mindset.

Millennials Embrace Learning Technology

According to the latest Telefonica study, more than 46 percent of millennial respondents indicated that they use their smartphones for research and education. Clearly, the millennial student demands education infused with technology.

You and your fellow students are looking for smart and engaging digital learning environments that leverage technology by integrating it throughout your learning experiences. For example, WGU provides a tech-heavy student experience through e-textbooks, web-based tutorials, simulations, videos, webinars and online learning communities and discussion forums.

Online Learning Encourages Personalization

Interestingly, 63 percent of millennial consumers would be willing to provide their personal data to consumer product and services companies in return for customized offers and discounts, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer Report. This kind of reciprocal relationship is something many of you are looking for in all facets and aspects of your lives — work, financial transactions and, yes, education.

At WGU, students have a relationship with a program mentor, to ensure they have a consistent point of contact throughout their degree program. They also have access to subject matter experts. These course instructors are accessible by email and phone, as well as available for one-on-one personalized consultations, satisfying even the most demanding members of your generation.

Data Drives All Decisions

Earlier this year, Forbes looked at the many ways millennials are proving to be the most data-driven generation. You are using data in new ways — not just for purchase decisions, but also for TV and movie consumption and the way you experience live events online. As described in the 2016 Salesforce report, millennials are comfortable with sharing data about themselves and do so willingly. The decision to attend an online university is no different.

Financially transparent higher education institutions like WGU give tuition cost comparisons, clear financial aid options and employer feedback surveys that provide the data you and your fellow millennials need to make an informed decision about your educational futures. As Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, Inc., noted, "Google has pioneered the idea of access to information. The reason Google thinks WGU is such a good idea is because WGU has pioneered the concept of competency-based education whenever you want it."

When you consider the millennial mindset of fiscal responsibility, the expectation of flexibility, the desire for personalization and comfort in a digital environment, it is only natural that more young adults are choosing online universities.

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