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How do online degrees affect labor market prospects? Evidence from a correspondence audit study

ILR Review. August 2, 2021

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This article reports the findings of a correspondence audit study that examines how online bachelor’s degrees affect labor market outcomes. The study involves sending 1,891 applications for real job openings using 100 fictitious applicant profiles. The applicant profiles are designed to be representative of recent college graduates from established universities. Using random assignment to degree type, applicant profiles that indicate a traditional (in-person) degree receive nearly twice as many callbacks as those that indicate an online degree. Findings suggest that, at least currently, completing an online degree program would significantly limit the labor market prospects of typical college students.