The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Online Students Getting Younger

Students’ comfort level with online educational programs is growing, in part because so many students now take online courses in high school.

For instance, Florida high school students are required to take at least one online course to graduate, while community colleges across the country continue to offer more courses in online and hybrid formats. That has led to an increase in the number of online undergraduates ages 18-24, according to a 2015 survey from Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House.

“They’re a lot more comfortable than, I think, even five years, 10 years ago, just in terms of using that technology,” Andrea Reese, chair of online studies at Daytona State College, said of online students in U.S. News and World Report. “That intimidation factor is gone.”

Nearly 1,800 students ages 18-24 enrolled for the 2013-14 academic year in the online Pennsylvania State University-World Campus, a 60% increase over the year before. The age group made up 21% of the entire undergraduate online student body, a 3% increase over the 2012-13 school year, according to Karen Pollack, assistant vice provost for the undergraduate online and blended programs.

“Possibly living at home, not paying room and board, having the flexibility that they can work 10-15 hours a week to help fund their college education—that is their reality,” Pollack said of the PSU-World Campus experience. “Given the circumstances, it’s their best option.”

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