Online courses continue to become more popular in the United States. In 2016-17, overall postsecondary enrollment dropped by almost half a percent, while the number of students who took at least some of their courses online grew by 5.7%. Over the last 15 years, online enrollment has quadrupled.
However, a report from George Mason University claims that the growth in online enrollment has been “disproportionately large in the for-profit sector.” Further, “online coursework has contributed to increasing gaps in educational success across socioeconomic groups while failing to improve affordability.”
Statistics about online studies in the USA help us with the profile of the typical online student these days, a profile you might identify with.
- Most online students are already working. More exactly 36% of online students are switching careers, while 34 % of them are looking to advance their careers.
- The average online student is in his early thirties. The average age of the distance learner is 32 years old, which shows that you can continue your studies even if you are a parent, an industry professional and everything in between.
- Graduate students are more likely to do a degree online.
- If you already have an undergraduate degree, it’s more likely you’ll find a suitable online graduate course. About 22% of graduate students in the USA study online, compared to 11 percent of undergraduates.
The benefits of online education for students and universities
If you are wondering why online education is so popular, here’s some background to help you better understand the advantages online education can have for you:
- accessibility: students are less bound by time and location
- flexibility: students are not constrained by a fixed schedule and can continue to keep their personal circumstances and/or work obligations
- affordability: distance education is often less expensive than traditional education, thus opening up learning opportunities to those people who otherwise, cannot cover the cost of a degree course.
Allowing any institution across the world to target anyone interested in their subject while reducing additional obstacles to international studies such as visa requirements, travel costs and travel time, makes online and distance education the next step to a truly globalized world of education. Are you ready to join?