A growing number of adult learners choose to pursue their degrees completely online.
For FIU, with close to 9,000 online-only graduates, the trend is reaching even higher numbers. According to several alumni, online learning was a personal preference. For others, it was a necessity.1. Portable program
FIU alumnus Jason Lafferty, who graduated in 2013, switched from face-to-face courses to online learning early on because he anticipated a career change that would take him away from Miami.
“While pursuing my master’s degree, I received an opportunity to start a culinary school, in Mobile, Alabama,” he says. “FIU’s online master’s in hospitality management allowed me to have access to the same world-class faculty teaching face to face. That’s what attracted me to the program.”
Lafferty acknowledges that online learning made things easier for his transition and offered him the ability to take the position and his studies with him.
2. Life balance
Likewise, Vedner Guerrier, who graduated in 2015, needed portability. He is now the vice president of oncology services for Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, FL, and says he returned to school to earn his degree online to advance his career. He chose to pursue the health care MBA completely online because of FIU’s reputation, but most of all because it worked with his busy schedule.
“With my online program, I didn’t have to put my career on the sideline. It had minimal impact on my daily nine-to-five work schedule. You don’t want to sacrifice your career for higher education, and with FIU Online, I didn’t have to,” he says.
3. Brand recognition
Alexander Melcon, who graduated in 2015, pursued his engineering management master’s degree fully online. He chose his program because it is well-known in the Miami Area.
“There’s recognition in South Florida. Everyone knows FIU; it’s respected. I also chose FIU’s online program because of this brand recognition.”
While interviewing, Melcon found that people were complimentary when they saw he graduated from FIU. Frequently, he found that his interviewers happened to be FIU alumni as well.
“A degree from FIU in South Florida has that brand recognition and it validates their degree, too,” says Melcon.
4. Accelerated program
Giselle Martinez, who graduated in 2015, chose online learning because she wanted to complete her education fast. Her graduate degree in human resource management took just a year, but she offers a warning about being disciplined.
“As long as you have the time-management piece, I’d recommend online learning. There’s a level of discipline that’s needed,” she offers. “The accelerated timeline stood out for me. I was really motivated, and I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable. It really forced me to buckle up and complete my degree in a 12-month window.”
Felix Virto, who graduated in 2018, chose online learning for its flexibility. At the time, he says, he had a family emergency, and the only way to keep his studies going in the engineering management master’s degree program was through online learning.
“I was trying to help my mother mend her medical situation and was able to balance my life on my schedule. Online learning gave me immense flexibility,” he recalls. “Choosing the online program afforded me the ability to meet my responsibilities with respect to my career and my personal life, as well.”
With more than 100-plus degree programs offered 100 percent online, FIU has invested heavily to expand its academic offerings to meet student and industry needs. Whether the reason is for flexibility or to continue working without career interruption or because of brand recognition, FIU’s online degree programs offer access to education for students anywhere, at any time.