Until 2010, for-profit institutions constituted the fastest growing sector in higher education. Coinciding with this growth, online college courses and programs expanded rapidly, driven initially by the adoption of online technologies by huge for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and Walden University. The business model for the online component of these schools was characterized by institutional cost savings and user convenience generated by the scalable delivery of instructional material over the Internet.2 Through the ability to market and offer courses exclusively online at low marginal costs per student, for-profit institutions were no longer tied to place and served large numbers of students across the country from a remote location.

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