Babson Study: Distance Education Enrollment Growth Continues

The 2015 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group in partnership with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, WCET, StudyPortals, and Tyton Partners, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 is up 3.9% over the previous year. Growth, however, was uneven; private non-profit institutions grew by 11.3% while private for-profit institutions saw their distance enrollments decline by 2.8%. These and other findings were published today in a report titled, “Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States.”
“The study’s findings highlight a thirteenth consecutive year of growth in the number of students taking courses at a distance” said study co-author I. Elaine Allen, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group.
“Institutions with distance offerings remain as positive as ever, but there has been a retreat among leaders at institutions that do not have any distance offerings,” added co-author Jeff Seaman. More than one in four students (28%) now take at least one distance education courseGrowth has continued, despite muted support by faculty. The study reveals only 29.1% of academic leaders say their faculty accept the “value and legitimacy of online education.” The proportion of chief academic leaders reporting online learning is critical to their long-term strategy dropped to 63.3% in the most recent results.
“While enrollments in higher education institutions decreased overall, enrollments in online programs continued to increase. We have seen strong growth in online professional degree programs as learners are …