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12-Month Corporate Preference Study Held with HR Professionals

Traditional universities remain top choice for corporations over for-profit providers of online education and degree programs, and candidates with credentials from traditional universities are more likely to be hired and promoted than those from for-profit schools.

These results were gleaned from data compiled over twelve months by the Online University Consortium, and further support recent findings from other industry experts.


  • Online University Consortium Research Indicates Corporate Preference for Traditional University Programs and Graduates Continues to Climb
  • Study Suggests For-Profit Institution Popularity Slipping as Company Standards Call for Quality, Well-Educated Candidates
This survey was set up as a buyer preference poll. Data was gathered through surveys of corporate decision-makers attending major trade events including Society for Human Resource Management (both 2003 and 2004 conferences) and American Society for Training & Development.

We qualified respondents as HR executives attending the respective industry conference and then asked them the following question:

If you had to hire, or promote, an employee that earned an online degree from a traditional school such as Penn State University/University of Michigan or that had graduated at the University of Phoenix, whom would you choose? (please select one choice only)
- University of Phoenix
- Penn State University/University of Michigan

65.3% - Chose Traditional Universities such as Penn State or Michigan
14.3% - Chose For Profits identified as the University of Phoenix
20.4% - Were Undecided

When compared to the previous year's findings, the following trends were noted:
  • The number of companies preferring traditional universities is up 15% with 65% of respondents selecting traditional schools compared to 50% in 2003.
  • The number of companies choosing for-profit businesses has declined with 14.3% now indicating they would select a for-profit compared to 22% in 2003.