Based on my experience at the University of Phoenix, I would have to say that online schools are not just in it for the money. But some schools are definitely better than others. A good way to tell if the school you are considering is legitimate is to assess the kinds of resources it has for students. For example, the University of Phoenix has online tutoring centers and writing centers that offer individual instruction.
I also had both an admissions advisor and a financial aid advisor to help me navigate the enrollment process. I can reach them through e-mail or leave a message on the phone, and they always get back to me within 24 hours. The University of Phoenix also has a work enrichment center that helps students get leads on jobs after we graduate. This school offers me resources at every stage of the program, from the application to the diploma. Knowing that those resources are in place helps me feel secure. I don’t think the University of Phoenix would put this much effort into helping students get through school if they were just trying to earn a quick buck.