excellent communication skills. Validity of Distance Learning Online Education: Research from the Sloan Consortium states thatonline learning is comparable to education obtained in a traditional setting, based upon a poll ofacademic leaders. Academic leader James Sherwood, Ph.D. and dean of University Extension,the continuing education branch of The University of California at Berkley states that, "Coming outof World War II and getting into the 60's and 70's there was a kind of stigma associated withdistance education. That has certainly changed." Because of technological advances and onlineresources, distance education has improved and offers an equivalent opportunity to traditionaleducation. Faculty Perspective of Distance Learning Online Education. Dr. Michael Otaigbe of StrayerUniversity in Virginia has taught courses both in person and online at the same college. Hisopinion is that online classes generate an unexpected level of motivation, saying, "Online, I havethe freedom to require contributions. Every week, my students have to submit essays andparticipate in group discussions. I get a better sense of the learning process." He also finds thatonline students come from all over the world and have unique contributions that benefit the otherstudents. Online Education Distance Learning Association in the US. Several distance learning associationsexist within the United States that offer additional information about taking classes online forprospective students. The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). The USDLA is a non-profitassociation that promotes the development and application of online distance learning foreducation and training purposes. The USDLA encourages distance learning for grades K-12,college and higher education, corporate training, continuing education, government training andmilitary training. Further, the USDLA supported the implementation of the Snowe-RockefellerAmendment to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, as well as other legislation in 1997 that wasintroduced by Kennedy and Snowe. The Distance and Education Training Council (DETC). The DETC is a non-profit educationalassociation that is a central hub of information about distance study and the correspondencelearning field. Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA). The FGDLA is also a non-profitassociation. The FGDLA was formed to promote development and application of distancelearning programs. The Association also acts to foster understanding and collaboration amongthe people involved in education and training within the federal government. Covering Costs for Distance Learning Online Education ProgramsFinancial aid is available to online students, just as it is for traditional students. Online studentscan apply for applicable state and government financial aid, Stafford loans, student loans, tuitionreimbursement and scholarships to cover costs for cyber classes. Also, virtual students savemoney on transportation and housing. Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, said,"The College Board continues to advocate for need-based aid, so that students can have theopportunity to benefit from college education."