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Online College Enrollment: By the Numbers

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Online College Enrollment: By the Numbers

In 2012 –
Number of students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses
or 12.5%

Number of students enrolled in some but not all distance education courses
or 13.3%

Number of students not enrolled in any distance education courses
or 74.2%

Who is taking online courses?

40% of online students are 29 years of age or younger
40% of online students do not work full-time
More than twice as many women as men enroll in online education

Graduate students are more likely than undergraduates to study exclusively online.

Students studying exclusively online:
Graduate Students: 22%
Undergraduate Students: 11%

Popularity by Fields of Study for Online Students in 2012:
Business: 34%
Health Professions: 16%
Social Sciences: 16%
STEM: 13%
Education: 11%
Humanities or Liberal Arts: 6%
Other: 5%

What kind of school are online students attending?
In 2012 –
Public, not-for-profit: 44%
For-profit: 35%
Private, not-for-profit: 21%

How are Students paying for their education?
Student loans and other financial aid: 36%
Personal funds: 32%
A combination of personal funds and student loans or other financial aid: 25%

It’s not all good news
A close look at the Annual Growth Rate for Online Enrollment a startling pattern of decline starts to emerge.

The Influence of MOOCs: Still not accepted

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were grabbing massive attention a few years ago, but today –
Only 8% of higher education institutions offer one.
And only 5.6% have one in the planning stages.

Among academic leaders

Only 18% believe that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses.

And Only 28% say that their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education”


Sources of Information: