Online college trends of 2015

Why more online college students

Online college is catching up with classroom education. In the latest report about online college by the National Center for Education Statistics, over 2,6 million took their entire college degree online (13% of the total student population). In a report by LearningHouse , the most common reasons for choosing an online degree:

Why Not Classroom? Percentage of respondents
Personal event prevented me from continuing 43%
I got a new job that prevented me from continuing 22%
I moved 20%
Cost 18%
Classes weren’t available when I needed them 15%
My interests changed 15%
Other 9%
Quality of the instruction 4%

The majority still believes taking taking an online degree sounds weird. Above all, studies is associated to a healthy phase of our development where we have fun, where we make friends while getting our degree that will assure our future job. While the fun of college is the same, times are changing:

  1. There is an abundance of people with college degrees
  2. The gap between what is learned in studies and modern job requirements is widening
  3. Studies are expensive
  4. Especially younger generations start seeing that the study hard at college and be successful in life isn’t necessarily true.

What students look for

According to LearningHouse’s research study, the marketing messages which works best are job placements (overwhelming favorite), followed by earning your degree in one year and study at your pace. It seems that our biggest emotional concerns are employability and not wasting time.

The factors influencing the choice of online college are similar to the classroom programs. Reputation and price continues to be the most important factors although flexible class times is an important factor as well. These are the top factors of choice of online colleges.

Importance to Selection of Program ( student's were asked to choose up to 3 criterias) Percentage
Overall reputation (recognition, rankings, and recommendations) of the college or university 25%
Tuition and fees 24%
No set class meeting times 19%
Recognized in your field as a high-quality college or university 14%
Students never have to visit campus during their study 13%
Recommendation of a friend/family member 12%
A personal academic advisor who contacts me regularly 11%
Positive interactions with financial aid personnel 10%
Availability of courses that teach workplace skills such as
problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork
Simplicity of admissions process 10%

Other interesting facts

Business studies continue to be the most important offline studies. Here are the most common online college studies:

Subject Area of Degree Undergraduate Graduate
Business 28% 28%
Health-related professions 17% 11%
Computers and information technology 14% 9%
Social sciences, criminal justice and law 11% 10%
Arts and humanities 9% 7%
Education and teaching 8% 22%
Counseling and human services 6% 8%
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics 6% 6%
  • A large majority of students pursuing online degrees and certificates are doing so for employment-related reasons. They want full-time jobs, better jobs, or need more training for their current jobs.
  • Students more often choose colleges that are further away from where they live. In 2012, 80% reported attending an institution within 100 miles of where they lived compared to 54% in 2014.
  • Some students have a clear preference for online study. Almost 90% of online students surveyed report that online study was equal to or better than classroom study. Although a clear bias because the asked students chose an online degree, it is an interesting figure to have in mind

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