Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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6/25/2014
09:06 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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$60,000 Online Degree: A Lesson In Digital Business

UC Berkeley is charging a premium price for a new online Master's degree in the hot field of data science. Can you get a premium price for your online services?

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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2014 | 2:15:59 PM
supply and demand
Higher education is one area where the brand lives on in its most ofe valentl form. Students will pay for well respected degrees online with the hopes of landing high paying jobs. The convenience of online reduces the costs for many because it offsets relocation costs. Online masters degrees will continue to grow to suit this market.
JonNLakeland
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JonNLakeland,
User Rank: Strategist
6/27/2014 | 8:56:46 AM
Re: Econ 101
@jagibbons:

The fact that it was a UC Berkeley program is probably why some feel the price is justified. I doubt that the University of Pheonix or other primarily online schools could get away with this pricing, even if they had the exact same curriculum.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:10:22 PM
Re: Econ 101
You're right, it will definitely affect the market. It would be a different story if what's being offered is of subpar quality for that lower cost, but it's not. I definitely see this shaking things up.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 2:39:31 PM
Re: Econ 101
I would expect to see some stiff competition in the future. If someone else can deliver a quality program at a lower cost and chooses to do so, that can affect the market. Is the UC Berkeley program worth the cost? Who knows. Is it is worth the cost just because it's from UC Berkeley? To some.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2014 | 2:35:29 PM
Re: Econ 101
 jagibbons, we haven't seen what I would consider stiff price competition in on-campus degrees, so should we expect that in online degrees? 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 1:44:49 PM
Re: $60,000 Online Degree
You're all right; there's a lot to talk about here. The main reason for that being the course is untested yet, and we have no data (or even anecdotes) to suggest what this is worth, if it's the wave of the future, or if it's just a flash in the pan. Sure, thirty students is a lot at this price range - but is it a lot in general, and is it sustainable? Will people actually get Data Scientist jobs with this degree? Are these first-time students, or people going back for something extra, as Lorna suggests? We have no way of knowing - which means in the meantime UC Berkeley can say anything they want about how worth the investment this program is.

That's not to suggest that they're lying - who knows? Projections only go so far, and they're as liable to be wrong (or more right than they imagine) as anyone else, I wonder if there's a lesson in there about online revenue. I could put a product up online tomorrow for $60,000. Depending on my industry, the fact that it's digital may or may not mitigate my risk in doing so - and it may or may not increase my chances of being successful. The story of the gentleman who sold the iPhone app a few years back that did nothing but doubled in price every time someone bought it comes to mind. He made thousands - that doesn't mean it was a 'good' idea.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2014 | 1:17:23 PM
Paying for the name, reputation
It is UC Berkeley. I'd guess Northwestern's online big data analytics degree is also in the same price league. Want a bargain? Look to lesser schools or even MOOCs.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 11:44:43 AM
Re: Econ 101
That's really a great question. As a manager, I couldn't justify shelling this out for one of my staff, but I'm sure there are organizations that could.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2014 | 11:43:29 AM
Re: Econ 101
Right, though I wonder how much of that market is employers covering that cost for employee training on on eextreme, and on the other, how much is people going into debt expecting the course to pay off in a top salary? I'd be interested in knowing what potential employers think is the value of this course.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 9:18:30 AM
Econ 101
This is an odd situation. Sure enough there is great demand for data science education. I'm very surprised UC Berkeley is able to charge that much of a premium. I'll be interested to see how this plays out over several years and more universities add similar programs at what I expect would be very competitive (i.e. lower) costs. On the flip side though, if customers are willing to pay the price, then there's no need to adjust it. That Econ 101, charge what the market will bear.
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