CLASS DIFFERENCES: ONLINE EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES, 2010
Online Education Grows by almost a Million Students
Eighth Annual Sloan Survey of Online Education Shows Economy Still Driving Growth
The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that enrollment rose by almost one million students from a year earlier. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available.
“This represents the largest ever year-to-year increase in the number of students studying online,” said study co-author I Elaine Allen, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group and Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College. “Nearly thirty percent of all college and university students now take at least one course online.” She adds:
“There may be some clouds on the horizon. While the sluggish economy continues to drive enrollment growth, large public institutions are feeling budget pressure and competition from the for-profit sector institutions. In addition, the for-profit schools worry new federal rules on financial aid and student recruiting may have a negative impact on enrollments.”
Other report findings include:
• Almost two-thirds of for-profit institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long term strategy.
• The 21%growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
• Nearly one-half of institutions report that the economic downturn has increased demand for face-to-face courses and programs.
• Three-quarters of institutions report that the economic downturn has increased demand for online courses and programs.
The eighth annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States. The survey is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and distributed by the Sloan Consortium. The complete survey report, “Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010” can be downloaded here. The report includes a detailed analysis of the factors driving the growth in online education.