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.