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Babson Annual Report - Grade Increase - Tracking Distance Education in the United States

Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States is the 14th annual report of the state of online learning in U.S. Higher education. The Survey, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, and Tyton Partners, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.

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Key findings include:

  • Distance education enrollments increased for the fourteenth straight year, growing faster than they have for the past several years.
  • The number of distance education students grew by 5.6% from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 to reach 6,359,121 who are taking at least one distance course, representing 31.6% of all students.
  • Total distance enrollments are composed of 14.9% of students (3,003,080) taking exclusively distance courses, and 16.7% (3,356,041) who are taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses.
  • Distance education enrollments are highly concentrated in a relatively small number of institutions. Almost half of distance education students are concentrated in just five percent of institutions, while the top 47 institutions (just 1.0% of the total) enroll 22.4% (1,421,703) of all distance students.
  • Distance enrollments remain local: 52.8% of all students who took at least one distance course also took an on-campus course, and of those who took only distance courses, 56.1% reside in the same state as the institution at which they are enrolled.
  • The total number of students studying on campus (those not taking any distance course or taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses) dropped by over a million (1,173,805, or 6.4%) between 2012 and 2016.
  • The number of students who are not taking any distance courses declined even more from 2012 to 2016, down by 11.2% (1,737,955 students) by the end of the period.