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More than 30,000 students will enroll in online MBA programs this year, up from just 5,000 two years ago. That’s a vindication for The University of Phoenix, one of the oldest and largest online colleges. It was 1989 when the private school jumped on the Internet — and it was quite a leap against the system. Even today, some faculty unions are wary about a perceived dilution of professors’ intellectual property. University of Phoenix Online CEO Brian Mueller says that his school’s method waylays those fears: “Teachers remain the center of what we do.”

The university offers six MBA programs with specialties including accounting, e-business, and health- care management at a cost of $505 per credit hour. Students enroll in small classes — about 10 students — one at a time for five to six weeks each. Students can log in anytime, but must participate five out of seven days per week.

So is it for you? “People ask me if online education is worth the investment,” Mueller says. “But every program is different. We encourage prospects to evaluate each program to see if it is right for them.”