Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Online Education Grows by Almost One Million Students; Eighth Annual Sloan Survey of Online Education Shows Economy Still Driving Growth

/PRNewswire --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 30% 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 findings:

* 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, is available on the Sloan Consortium Web site, www.sloanconsortium.org. The report includes a detailed analysis of the factors driving the growth in online education.

The Babson Survey Research Group in the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurial Research at Babson College conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting. http://www3.babson.edu/ESHIP/research-publications/survey-research-group.cfm

The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 5,700 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations. The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities, and concerns. Visit www.collegeboard.org.

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of online education. Visit www.sloanconsortium.org.

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