No, online schools are not just in it for the money, though some schools are certainly better than others. I know that for a fact because I have studied at 2 different online schools in the last several years. My experience with my current school, American Intercontinental University, has been wonderful. But before I enrolled there, I got my associates degree at Kaplan University, and I would discourage other online students from going there.
To make sure an online school is legitimate, you should see if it is accredited and assess the kinds of resources that it offers its students. If you conduct a little bit of online research, you should be able to find out the status of a school’s accreditation. You should also make sure that the school you are considering will set you up for success. For example, one of the benefits of American Intercontinental University is that it provides us with an online library, which has links to relevant academic papers and all of the information we need to complete our homework assignments. In fact, part of the library is totally dedicated to ensuring student success. It offers webinars about time management and effective study habits.
Finally, I know that American Intercontinental University isn’t just trying to make money because there are no hidden costs. All of my software and books are included in my tuition, so I know exactly how much I have to pay upfront. There are no secrets. And the school mails actual textbooks and software directly to my home. It is just like being on a physical campus, except that it is far more convenient since I don’t have to drop everything and leave my house when it is time for class.