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Tonya Papanikolas Reporting A company that studies trends in education says by the year 2008, one in 10 college students will be enrolled in an online degree program.
Here in Utah, the courses appeal to a lot of different types of students, especially those who need flexibility in their schedules.
Marilee Greenland is working hard to earn a college degree.
Marilee Greenland, Diagnosed with Cancer: "I'll be the first one to have graduated from all of my siblings."
But this summer, while she was taking classes at the University of Phoenix, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to start chemotherapy.
Marilee Greenland, Diagnosed with Cancer: "I didn't think that I'd be able to graduate. So I got with my counselor and I said, 'OK, what can we do?'"
What they came up with was taking online classes, which Greenland could do from home.
Marilee Greenland, Diagnosed with Cancer: "It gives me the flexibility to choose when I want to work on it instead of having to be in a certain place at a certain time."
If Marilee isn't feeling well, she can bring her laptop right into her bedroom.
Dan Greenland, Marilee's Husband: "There's a lot of people that probably wouldn't even do it, but she has a goal to finish school."
Now that Marilee is learning online, she isn't surprised that many students prefer the option. The University of Phoenix says 23 percent of its students take online classes, while another 20 percent combine them with traditional classes.
Darris Howe, Director, Univ. of Phoenix in Utah: "The echo-boomers, this seems to be the trend that they want, that's the way they want to learn."
Darris Howe says the classes cater to working professionals who don't have a lot of time, those who live in rural areas and even military personnel.
Darris Howe: "When they deploy, they can stay in school even while they're on deployment."
For Greenland, who was already dealing with cancer treatment and losing her hair, being able to continue her education gave her a sense of normalcy.
Marilee Greenland, Diagnosed with Cancer: "Gives you a little bit of sanity and makes you feel like, you know, you have some control of your life when there are so many other factors you can't control."
It also made her goals a reality. Thanks to online courses, she'll be graduating in May.
The University of Phoenix says while its regular classes in Utah are growing at rate of six percent a year, online classes are growing at 12 percent nationally.