An online education is certainly a viable alternative for those getting out of prison and trying to adhere to a radically unpredictable working environment, kids with unpredictable visitation or behaviors and a poor support system. Computers with internet access can be found for practically nothing and then get a 12 year old to clean them up.
However, there are more than a few pitfalls as the author of this editorial points out. Now, having said that, I know a man who suffered from a few debilitating physical problems that required lots of drugs. He decided to go cold turkey but found he needed something to distract him from his pain and ailments. Because he could not sleep at night, he enrolled in a masters of divinity from Yale or some ivy league college and did all his work at night and slept in the day. It took him a while but he not only got through it but beat many of the physical problems he had down to a manageable proportion.
This is not a proposal I would recommend to everyone but it is a way out for those that have a dedicated agenda.
Below are two resources for the same editorial.