Growth Trend: 3.5 Million Students Learning Online

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Wellesley, Mass. — Oct. 29
Nearly one in five higher education students now takes at least one class online, according to a new study of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide. The 2007 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, released today by the Babson Survey Research Group, reveals that online enrollment rose by nearly 10 percent in fall 2006, to 3.49 million students. Approximately 3.18 million students had at least one online course in fall 2005.

“The growth in online learning continues to far outpace that of the broader student population,” said study co-author Dr. I. Elaine Allen, associate professor of statistics and entrepreneurship at Babson College. “Enrollment has increased at an average annual rate of 21.5 percent over the past five years, compared with just 1.5 percent average annual growth for the overall higher education population.”

The fifth annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group, the College Board and the Sloan Consortium, represents the state of online learning in the United States. The complete survey report, “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning” is available at www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/index.asp.

“The survey results speak to the significance of online learning in America today,” said Frank Mayadas, program director for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “With online students making up about 20 percent of the higher education population, we are seeing — and will continue to see — online learning playing a major role in the education of America’s college students.”

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