Online learning got a huge boost when Congress recently passed legislation removing the so-called "50-percent rule," which required colleges to deliver at least half of their courses face to face to qualify for federal student aid.

The move is a boon for fully online degree-granting institutions such as the University of Phoenix, as well as schools with a strong mix of campus-based and online programs. Now, these schools will be able to attract students who otherwise might not be able to afford a higher education.

The change, which was attached...

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