A recent survey of 1,500 students found that online undergraduate programs are becoming more popular with younger students. Online College Students, released in July by Aslanian Market Research and the Learning House, found that 34% of undergraduate online students were under the age of 25, up from 25% in the 2012 report.
The percentage of online graduate students under 25 jumped from 13% in 2012 to 19% in the 2015 report. The economic pressures of working and going to school and increasing familiarity with online courses are considered the main reasons for the increase.
“Students have had online courses in their background because many high schools now require an online course,” Carol Aslanian, author of the report and senior vice president of Aslanian Market Research, said in U.S. News & World Report. “If they have started college and are going back, many colleges have them. They are going to be groomed to appreciate it.”
The report found that half of the students enrolled online live within 50 miles of campus and 65% live within 100 miles. In addition, 45% of the respondents said they enrolled in programs that were the least expensive option, up from 30% in the 2014. Two-thirds reported that they did not receive a scholarship for the online program.
Women made up 59% of undergraduates taking online courses in a 2015 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, up from 56% in 2013.
“A lot of professions for which you need further education—health, social services, education—they are dominated by women,” Aslanian said. “Many men may go into business and on their own. The women-oriented employment fields require more education.”