SOURCE: The Learning House, Inc.

The Learning House, Inc.

July 20, 2016 09:00 ET

New Research From Learning House and Aslanian Market Research Debunks Online College Student Myths

National Survey of Online College Students Reveals Importance of Online Programming in Providing Access to Higher Education for Students Across the Country

LOUISVILLE, KY--(Marketwired - July 20, 2016) - The Learning House, Inc. ("Learning House"), a leading technology provider of solutions that enable universities to thrive in today's competitive higher education landscape, and Aslanian Market Research, the leading organization dedicated to online and adult market research, today unveiled findings from the fifth annual Online College Students 2016: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences report. In addition to evaluating the demographics of the students pursuing fully online college degrees, the report explores what students are looking for in their programs and why they choose to enroll in them.

The report found that online college education has expanded access to students who previously might not have attended; this was primarily due to issues around time and finances. Of note, 50 percent of online college students reported that they "would not," "probably would not," or were "unsure" whether they would have pursued higher education had their program not been offered online. The researchers also found that potential students are choosing their schools faster, and limiting the number of institutions they consider, with many selecting the first program that engages with them. The expectation of rapid communication translates to all materials they submit, including those related to financial aid and transfer credit eligibility.

"This research demonstrates the important access that online higher education provides to students, while also highlighting the competitive and rapidly growing nature of the industry," said David Clinefelter, Chief Academic Officer of Learning House, and one of the study's authors. "Current estimates place the number of students working towards their degrees online at 3.5 million; we expect that number to grow to 5 million by 2020. Institutions of higher learning cannot afford to ignore this population, nor can they resist catering to their needs and inclinations when it comes to choosing the program that is right for them."

The study also identified proof points that disprove many long-held beliefs in online higher education:

  • Small incentives, such as a $500 scholarship, can sway a student's decision to choose a school
  • The campus matters - 75% of online students visited their campus at least once during the year
  • Since 2012, the mean age for online undergraduate students has decreased from 34 to 29
  • 68% of online college students choose a school to apply to in four weeks or less
  • IT and computer science displaced graduate education in popularity for master's students? (behind business) in 2016

In addition to evaluating the demographics of the students pursuing online college degrees, the report explores what students are looking for in their programs and why they choose to enroll in the programs they do. The research also found that awareness of alternative pathways -- including massive open online courses, micro degrees and bootcamps -- is low; 66% of those surveyed reported either "no knowledge" or "minimal knowledge" of these options.

"Our findings demonstrate the importance of building awareness of alternative pathways and competency-based education," said Carol Aslanian, President and Founder of Aslanian Market Research. "It is clear that tuition costs continue to play a role in online higher education; maximizing opportunities for students to gain knowledge and expertise -- while minimizing the student's financial burden -- will be critical for institutions to succeed in this space."

The survey was conducted in the spring of 2016. 1,500 individuals were surveyed, all of whom were at least 18 years of age, with a high school degree or equivalent, and were recently graduated, currently enrolled, or planned to enroll in the next twelve months in a fully online undergraduate or graduate degree, certificate, or licensure program.

Online College Students 2016: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences provides updates to findings from the 2015 report of the same name. To download a copy of the full report, please visit: www.learninghouse.com/ocs2016; to view and download the infographic, please visit: www.learninghouse.com/ocs2016-infographic. To register to join the authors of the report for a free, live webinar on Thursday, August 4, please visit: www.learninghouse.com/ocs2016-webinar.

About Learning House

The Learning House, Inc., through its proprietary cloud-based technology platform, helps colleges and universities create, manage and grow high-quality online degree programs and courses. Partnering with more than 75 schools, Learning House enables institutions to efficiently and affordably achieve their online education goals. Services include product development and market research, marketing and lead generation, enrollment management, student retention, curriculum development and management, faculty training and professional development, learning management systems, and 24/7 technical support.

Aslanian Market Research

Aslanian Market Research (EducationDynamics' market research unit) conducts market demand studies, institutional audits, program and marketing reviews, and professional development seminars and workshops for colleges and universities seeking information and data on how to expand adult and online student enrollments. Throughout the last 25 years, Aslanian Market Research has worked with more than 200 colleges and universities of all types -- public, private, large, small, rural, suburban and urban -- in every region of the United States. Its seminars have provided thousands of college administrators with practical, hands-on tactics that they can implement at their institutions at minimal cost for maximum impact.

EducationDynamics

EducationDynamics is a proven leader in helping higher education institutions find, enroll, and retain students. The organization maintains its industry leadership through a deeply rooted philosophy of serving our schools best by serving students first. This commitment has been at the heart of its success since it began more than a decade ago, and it continues today as we proudly serve more than 1,200 colleges and universities of all types and sizes.

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