If you’re considering an online degree, you’re not alone. Millions of working mothers and fathers, young adults and working professionals — people just like you — are pursuing their online undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree.
According to a report released in January 2010 by the Sloan Consortium, an institutional and professional leadership group organized to the integration and mainstream of online higher education:
- Nearly 4.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2008, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. Of those students, more than 82 percent were studying at the undergraduate level.
Online education enrollment figures show no sign of slowing, according to the consortium.
- The 17 percent growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher education student population.
- More than one in four higher education students now take at least one course online.
- Academic leaders at all types of institutions report increased demand for face-to-face and online courses, with those at public institutions seeing the largest impact. In all cases the demand for online offerings is greater than that for the corresponding face-to-face offerings.
- The global economic downturn has caused people to seek increased education, either for job security or to find a better position. The economic impact has been greatest on demand for online courses, with 66 percent of institutions reporting increased demand for new courses and programs and 73 percent seeing increased demand for existing online courses and programs.
- The economic impact on institutional budgets has been mixed; 50 percent have seen their budgets decrease as a result, but 25 percent have experienced an increase.
Read the entire report, Learning on Demand, Online Education in the United States, 2009, here.