Inquiries about online college courses jumped in February, even though for more than a year fewer people have been expressing interest in higher-education programs overall.
A new report from Gray Associates, a higher-ed consulting company, revealed there has been a growing number of queries about online education since November. The drop in general inquiries about higher ed can be explained by the improvement in the economy (which opened up more jobs) and the decline in the number of high school graduates, but reasons for the uptick in interest about online classes are harder to determine.
According to Education Dive, one possibility is “a desire on the part of students for education opportunities that can be accessed nontraditionally,” most likely due to other responsibilities, such as a job or kids at home.
Prospective students don’t seem to be fazed by controversy over whether online programs can deliver the same or better results as face-to-face classes. The timing and availability of online courses may be a bigger factor for them. Colleges and universities continue to experiment with different types of digital programs to see what works.
“Perhaps the diversity of courses is meeting the demand of students, which will only encourage educational institutions to further expand the options of courses available online,” noted Education Dive.