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How Popular and Prevalent is Distance College Education?


Distance college education is booming, with no signs of slowing down.
According to the Sloan Foundation’s 2009 report, Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States, 2009, online distance course registrations at colleges have continued to grow much faster than residential or campus enrollments — up 17 percent from 2007 to 2008 alone.

• Almost 4.6 million students were taking at least one online distance course during the fall 2008 term, a nearly 17 percent increase over the number reported the previous year—and a near-tripling from the 1.6 million non-traditional students enrolled just six years prior, in 2002.

• The 16.9 percent growth rate for distance college education enrollments far exceeds the 1.2 percent growth of the overall higher-education student population.

• More than 25 percent of all U.S. higher-education students were taking at least one online distance course in the fall of 2008.



• In 2006-2007, the National Center for Education Statistics reported more than 12 million registrations in distance learning courses offered by accredited colleges.
• estimates that more than 4 million students are enrolled in accredited online college courses in the United States in 2008-2009.
Once considered an alternative method of education reserved for special populations, online university learning has gone mainstream. In 2006-2007, the majority—66 percent—of accredited colleges offered online distance courses.
The good news for today’s non-traditional college student: regardless of your age or state of residence, it is highly possible that your “local” college—an institution that both you and your employer know and trust—offers the distance college education you need in a format that will fit your unique lifestyle needs.