Online education provides students the ability to learn if they are able to. Those with the ability will learn more, faster and will be able to learn at his/her leisure. No longer will the income gap become a problem; each persons level of intelligence will be under question. However, American schools still believe that every student should learn the same amount of material in the same amount of time when the truth is that some students should be working rather than completing high school and some should be getting their doctorates as soon as they can
While it is unlikely that online education will ever eliminate the income gap, it is a great first step. It was previously not possible for lower income families to obtain the skills needed to break out of their income bracket. This created a vicious cycle. With the lower cost education available online, lower income families can get the skills needed to obtain better jobs. These better jobs will allow them to move up the economic ladder and reduce the income gap.
Not only are most of the programs that are available on the Internet complete and utter wastes of time, they leave students with significant amounts of debt that they somehow have to pay back.
Take it from somebody who is living on the ground of all this stuff about a college education being the ticket to a better life: for most people, it's a complete pile of garbage. Even people with degrees that are thought of as useful are having a hard time these days.
Unless you are taking a college education in order to gain a promotion or have the inside track because of connections, education is mostly a waste of time that will only leave you in debt.
While improving access to education cannot cause the income gap to grow any larger, online education cannot overcome the other societal problems that have created the income gap we see today. For one, online education does not provide students with the in person interaction and networking that paves the way for success. As it stands, the wealthy interact with the wealthy and so on and so forth. This creates bubbles of affluence that are difficult to pierce and cannot be broken by an online degree.
Education certainly makes for a difference in income and jobs, but online education will not necessarily reduce the income gap. It is still important where your degree came from. An online university may be accredited, but a degree from Phoenix is not nearly as impressive as Harvard or other colleges/universities. I've worked in HR and seen resumes weeded through because of online education.