Online College Trends [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Online colleges and online college courses are rapidly becoming more mainstream in higher education today. According to the National Center for Education Statistic’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database, 2,512 colleges nationwide facilitate over 29,000 online certificate and degree programs within 38 different study areas. In addition, of the 20.5 million U.S. students who are enrolled in college, 31.1% (6.4 million) are taking at least one, if not more, online college classes.

You might be surprised just how much you didn’t know about online colleges. See the infographic below of the current online college trends in the U.S.

Online College Trends

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Recent Facts About Online Colleges

The U.S. has 2,512 colleges that offer online classes and degree programs

  • 2,456 colleges offer traditional, online, and hybrid classes and degree programs
  • 56 colleges offer exclusively online classes and degree programs
  • These 2,512 colleges facilitate over 29,000 online certificate and degree programs within 38 different study areas
    • 5,058 online certificate programs (719 colleges)
    • 6,146 online associate degree programs (1,279 colleges)
    • 7,290 online bachelor’s degree programs (1,249 colleges)
    • 7,274 master’s degrees online programs (1,253 colleges)
    • 1,735 doctorate degrees online programs (206 colleges)

Where Are These Colleges Located?

48% of U.S. Online Colleges Are Located in These 10 States:

  • California: 637
  • Texas: 427
  • New York: 377
  • Philadelphia: 340
  • Ohio: 334
  • Florida: 310
  • Illinois: 282
  • North Carolina: 268
  • Georgia: 211
  • Virginia: 190

Who’s Going to College Online?

  • Of the 20.5 million students who are enrolled in college, 31.1% (6.4 million) are taking at least one, if not more, online college classes
  • Since 2012
    • Online college enrollment has increased by 22%
    • Overall higher education enrollment has dropped by 4.4%
    • Traditional college enrollment has dropped by 11.7%

“The trend of increasing distance education enrollments in the face of declining overall higher ed enrollments suggests an important shift in the American higher education landscape, with contemporary learners leaning in to online options.” – Kathleen S. Ives, CEO anbd Executive Director, Online Learning Consortium

How Students and Academics View Online Learning

  • 90% of college students think online learning is the same or better than the traditional classroom
  • 71% of surveyed academic leaders rated online education as good or better than traditional face-to-face instruction given through on-campus classes
  • 63% of academic leaders say online learning is crucial to long-term strategies

Online Colleges Are Affordable

Average Tuition Cost of Online Degree Programs

  • Associate: $8,550 full-time, in-state; $11,087 full-time, out-of-state
  • Bachelor’s: $15,052 full time, in-state; $18,551 full-time, out-of-state
  • Master’s: $13,237 full-time, in-state; $16,333 full-time, out-of-state

What’s Driving The Lower Cost of Online College Programs?

  • Transportation: In most cases, you won’t have to pay to commute to a physical on-campus location, unless you are doing a hybrid program.
  • Building operational costs: With online programs, colleges won’t have to pay expensive building operational and maintenance costs and will only have to fund the technology fees instead. Most online colleges charge technology fees to students to help cover this cost.
  • Teacher salaries: Online programs can hire adjunct faculty, which they can pay significantly less than full-time salaried teachers. Colleges can also save by not having to provide office space since most online college teachers work from home.
  • Higher student enrollment: Online programs can save on costs and tuition by admitting far more students per course than some traditional on-campus programs.

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