Transferring credit and total degree costs are among the issues most important to online college students, according to a report. Online College Students 2014: ComprehensiveData on Demands and Preferences found that the majority of the 1,500 students surveyed were taking online courses to improve their job status and were satisfied with their studies.
A majority (54%) said they were taking online courses because they were unemployed and that high job-placement rates was the best message to attract them. Business is the most common field of study, while reputation and the price of the institution are key selection criteria.
The number of online students enrolling at institutions within 100 miles of where they live slipped from 80% in 2012 to 54% in 2014. A majority reported that cost and financial aid were not deciding factors in their selection of a program.
“As competition intensifies, the convenience of online study is less compelling to students,” wrote the report’s authors. “Outcomes such as placement rates and features such as price and credit transfer are gaining importance as attractive points of difference. Institutions need to articulate clearly what makes their online programs distinct and track student outcomes to provide quantifiable data to prospective students.”