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eLearners.com Finds That Four in Ten Americans Say the Cost of College Is Their Biggest Barrier to Higher Education

eLearners.com Answers Call With About $4 Million in Full-Tuition Career Stimulus Package Scholarship Funds

HOBOKEN, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 10/12/09 -- A new study commissioned by eLearners.com, (http://www.elearners.com), a web resource of EducationDynamics, which connects prospective students with online classes, shows that Americans mulling over whether to return to school want to make sure they're not wasting their money. Among the 95 percent of those not currently in school, the potential cost (40%) would be the biggest barrier to a return to higher education. Another 10 percent would fret about the value of this extra education.

"Despite increases in Pell Grants by the federal government, it appears that most people still believe that attending college is cost prohibitive," said Terrence Thomas, Executive Vice President of Marketing for eLearners.com. However, the College Board shows that there is more than $143 billion in financial aid available and that only nine percent of all college students attend schools where the price is greater than $33,000, with the average cost of a public four-year school between $6,000-$7,000.

Interestingly, the eLearners.com study, conducted by Kelton Research, found concern over the monetary investment is greater among women than men. Forty-three percent of women say that cost would be the most significant roadblock, versus 36 percent of men. Another finding from the research shows that almost one in five (16%) Americans would have worries related to the difficulty of going back to school, whether it's because of the possibility of failure, the complexity of their assignments, or the sheer amount of work.

To give people the confidence they need to go back to school and to help answer questions about their career path, eLearners.com launched a 40-city RV tour, from June to September 2009 as part of its Career Stimulus Package. Throughout the tour, attendees received free career coaching and the opportunity to apply for a full-tuition scholarship. Representatives from participating schools and eLearners.com helped answer questions at the tour stops about how online education works, what the workload will involve and how classes are scheduled, giving prospective students the confidence they need to pursue a college education. At each of the Empowerment Tour stops common themes emerged as adults communicated their concerns about not having enough time, money or confidence to return to school.

"Based on what we heard on the tour and the results of this survey, it is clear that the perception about the cost of an education exceeds its benefit. The challenge going forward will be to change this perception," continued Thomas.

The Obama Administration is already taking steps to improve the cost dilemma for prospective college students. In fact, in June 2009, the Obama administration began to simplify the financial aid application process and in January 2010 the number of application screens will be cut in half. In addition, a new feature has been added called the FAFSA4caster, which allows individuals to retrieve instant estimates for Pell Grant and student loan eligibility.

"We encourage everyone thinking about going to college to complete the financial aid forecaster on http://www.studentaid.ed.gov," noted Thomas. "By using this tool, potential students can get a clear picture of how affordable attending college can be."

Through the Career Stimulus Package, eLearners.com offers the opportunity for adults who want to attend college to do so tuition-free. In partnership with eight accredited online schools: American Public University, Ashworth College, Bryant & Stratton College, Capella University, Ellis University, Virginia College and Western Governors University, the campaign provides nearly $4 million in full-tuition scholarships. Interested applicants can apply at www.careerstimulus.com by October 31, 2009. To be eligible, applicants must be at least 18, a U.S. citizen and complete an essay describing how an online degree would improve their life.

"Although going back to college costs it is more affordable than many people realize," continued Thomas. "By doing a little research into the programs, grants and funding that exists money should no longer be a deterrent."

About eLearners.com®

eLearners.com is one of several high visibility websites operated by EducationDynamics. Since 1999, eLearners.com has been successfully connecting learners to online education, including online degree and certificate programs, specialized career training, and a variety of online courses. For prospective students, eLearners.com provides a powerful search engine for users to find thousands of online program offerings, as well as educational evaluation tools and financial aid resources. For online colleges and universities, the eLearners.com website offers a low-cost, performance-based method to provide national exposure and increase enrollments in their online learning programs. For more information on eLearners.com, visit http://www.eLearners.com.

About EducationDynamics

EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is higher education's leading marketing services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, and its more than 50 special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition. Through its Market Research and Advisory Services division, the company brings a decade of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence, and best practice insights to its clients. For more information, visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

Survey Methodology

The eLearners Survey was conducted by Kelton Research among 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over between September 22nd and September 29th, 2009, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.

In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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