Farm home and autumn hillside

Even as the image of a typical college student continues to evolve, many still imagine someone in their early-20s sitting in a large lecture hall on the sprawling campus of a traditional university.

Unfortunately, that scenario ignores a substantial portion of the country. For students in rural areas, the distance to the nearest institute of higher education might mean that on-campus learning isn’t a viable option — especially when that student also has work, family, or other obligations.

This physical distance leads to a lasting imbalance between students who live close to a college and those who don’t. Only 29% of rural students are enrolled in college, compared to 47% of their urban peers. As a result, rural students are less able to find more skilled, higher-paying jobs in adulthood, which leads to fewer opportunities to advance their careers.

Online learning can go a long way toward closing the opportunity gap between rural and urban students. Online learning can offer rural students the opportunity for higher education that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Flexibility and Convenience

One of the most significant barriers to accessing higher education for rural students is distance. If a student has to commute long distances to get a college education, they’re less likely to make the effort. This problem is compounded by the additional responsibilities of a job or family, so many rural students simply can’t make their schedules work.

Instead, these students can pursue an online education at their own pace, on their own time, and from the comfort of their own home. This eliminates the stress and cost of a long commute, the difficulties of juggling work and school, and the annoyance of building a schedule around specific class times. Instead, online learners can fit their classwork into their calendars around their other obligations.


Physical campuses (and even some other online universities) charge student fees and out-of-state tuition rates on top of tuition. Add in the cost of room and board, and an in-person college education quickly becomes prohibitively expensive.

At CSU Global, our students pay only for the classes they’re taking in a given term. Whether you have the time and resources to take just one course or a full-time course load, the choice is up to you. CSU Global charges no student fees and offers a tuition guarantee — whatever the cost per credit hour when you sign up, that’s exactly what you’ll pay for as long as you’re enrolled, so you won’t be taken by surprise by tuition hikes in the middle of your education.

In-Person vs. Online Collaboration

Students who live near campus can meet up with their peers for study groups or socializing, while others have to commute home and miss out on the camaraderie and assistance that the in-person students.

Online learning offers students the chance to create their own community, replicating the close-knit environment of in-person learning in a virtual space. Many online universities provide forums and discussion groups to foster student communication, and many offer additional resources to help students thrive inside and outside the virtual classroom.

Breaking Down Barriers

With the flexibility, affordability, convenience, and community resources that online universities can offer, there’s no reason that rural students can’t get the education they want and deserve. If you’re interested in pursuing an education, but you don’t think on-campus learning is right for you, talk to CSU Global! We offer hundreds of courses on a wide variety of subjects so you can broaden your knowledge, enhance your skills, and jump-start your career.