The report Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States found that current college students are no longer primarily going to school full-time or living on campus. The study reported that more than 1.6 million students in the United States took at least one online class in 2010. That has some colleges and university focused on providing online degrees.
Ohio’s Clark State Community College, Springfield, experienced a 72% rise in the number of students taking online classes over the last five years. The summer online enrollment at Miami University, Oxford, grew 26% in 2012 while its overall summer enrollment declined, and the eLearning OHIO program at Ohio University, Athens, saw an 800-student increase in the fall.
“It’s getting harder and harder to support a program that is just on campus. There’s a lot more expense to it. And we see online as a way of helping diversify our revenue,” Andy Runyan, associate vice president of extended learning and dean of graduate studies, Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH, told eCampus News. Cedarville is working on a new online master’s in business administration degree and already offers online classes for undergraduate, graduate, and high school students.
In addition, Jonathan Robe, research fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, reported that many colleges have yet to find a way to lower tuition for their online courses, other than the money students save by not living or commuting to campus.
“I’m hopeful that we can figure out a way to bring more online programs up and running, but I do think it will take some time,” he said. “We still have some work to do.”