This article, published by Inside Higher Ed on Friday, highlighted some very interesting trends in online college enrollments. The data tracks all college students from 2012 through 2016.
Here are some of the most surprising stats:
- The total number of college students in the US is basically flat, dropping 0.2%
- The number of students enrolled in at least one distance course has increased 24.7%
- Proportion of all students enrolled in at least one distance course has increased from 24.8% to 31%
- Students enrolled in for-profit colleges dropped from 1.54 million in 2015 to 1.46 million in 2016
- University of Phoenix (for-profit) enrollment dropped 19.95% from 2015 to 2016
- American Public University System (for-profit) dropped 7.1% from 2015 to 2016
- Kaplan University (for-profit) dropped 17.3% from 2015 to 2016
- DeVry University (for-profit) dropped 9.1% from 2015 to 2016
- Western Governers University (nonprofit) enrollment increased 19.5% from 2015 to 2016
- Arizona State University (nonprofit) increased 39.5% from 2015 to 2016
You will need to keep in mind that this data is from 2012 through 2016 and doesn’t include 2017, but there appears to be a few clear trends here. The total number of Americans going to college is basically flat or slightly declining. The percentage of college students taking at least one distance course is growing rapidly. For-profit colleges are losing huge market share to not-for-profit online college options.
The bottom line is that for-profit colleges are no longer the only players in the online college space. You still see them in TV commercials because of their huge advertising budgets, but their enrollment numbers are dropping significantly. Students are voting with their enrollments, and online distance learning at not-for-profit colleges is winning, big.
If you want even more information, check out their post here.
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