In addition to hosting quality branded campaigns, Blue Phoenix Media also owns and operates The Academic Network, which presents students with alternative education solutions.

At The Baltimore Sun, Gus G. Sentementes profiles a new start-up offering “college a la carte” online: StraighterLine. StraighterLine, like many similar models, aims to capitalize on the new recession-era marketer of would-be students who simply can’t afford degrees from four-year institutions. So how do they plan on making a dent in the online education space?

StraighterLine has actually come up with a unique model. While they’re unable to confer degrees upon students themselves, the company has created courses that have been evaluated and recommended by The American Council on Education and has partnered with 20+ universities and colleges who grant credits for the company’s courses.

The pricing structure is the most innovative part of the start-up’s plan. Students can elect for courses “a la carte”, at $138 a month, or an entire year of a 101-level class for $999. Subject areas covered include English and math, among others.

We previouslyexplored the benefits of online education, but should StraighterLine’s business model prove enduring and profitable, it may mean the further development and growth of a niche industry that, as cost of traditional education continues to increase at a rate disproportionate to the annual income of an average American household, could rise up to take a substantial chunk of business away from big for-profit institutions.

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