As applications to full-time MBA programs are slowing, and signs that the slump may be getting worse, many second- and third-tier business programs are looking for innovative ways to reverse the trend and keep tuition revenue growing.

Globe_with_Computer_Mouse_SmallStudents looking to attend an online MBA program this fall will find a plethora of new options as a growing number of second- and third-tier business schools are jumping into or expanding their presence in the growing online degree market.

The schools are hoping to carve out a niche for themselves in what is fast becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace by offering students programs that include sophisticated videoconferencing software, social media tools and, in some cases, required residency components. The new programs come at a time when interest in online business degrees is booming. A recent study of online students conducted by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, two companies involved in online educational consulting, found that one-third of the nearly 3 million online students are pursuing business degrees, by far the most popular field for online degrees. About two-thirds of online students attend not-for-profit institutions, the study found, an area where many of the new business programs are popping up. At the same time, more employers are becoming amenable to online MBA degrees, as the degree is beginning to lose some of the stigma it has had in the job market.

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Source: Alison Damast | Bloomberg Businessweek