When it comes to getting an education, most degrees call for at least a basic understanding of statistics and an overview of math at the postsecondary level. There are two very important factors relating to the statistics that will be mentioned going forward and that is the body that compiled the statistics and the date on which they were collected. So then, to get those two things out of the way in the very beginning, these figures were released in the 2015 Digest of Education Statistics as they were collected during the 2013 -14 school year across the United States. For purposes of demonstration, the online nursing program at Arizona State University, ASU, may be used as an example from time to time.
Key Factors in the Study
In an effort to gauge the impact of distance learning within the total student body of postsecondary institutions across the country, criteria observed included:
- The percentage of students enrolled in postsecondary education seeking degrees.
- The enrolment level such as full time, part time, 100% online or a percentage of classes online.
- Differentiation between public and private educational institutions.
The actual source of the information is from the United States Department of Education 2014 Digest of Education Statistics, Table 311.15. All of this is pertinent to the apparent trend to seek a degree online while leaving behind, in a good many cases, the traditional in-class model of postsecondary education.
A Quick Look at Key Statistics
When seeking an online undergrad degree such as ASU’s online RN to BSN degree, it’s good to keep these figures in perspective. In the school year being analyzed there were 20,376,789 students in college of which 14,863,595 were studying an online curriculum. The total of number of students who had at least one but not all classes online was calculated at 2,862,194 whereas those students who perhaps took all of their classes such as those required for their online nursing degree (example from ASU) as distance education classes numbered 2,659,203. This is where it gets pretty amazing. It’s almost a 50/50 split between some online classes and all online classes. This indicates a growing trend towards studying for that coveted BSN degree. It should be noted here that those ‘upgrading’ their degree from online RN to BSN probably also work full time so their choice of how they wish to enroll is limited.
When you look at the figures as they stand, with a total of 14,863,595 students taking some percentage of online classes towards their degree, you are looking at just about 2/3 the student population in the United States studying one or more courses online. That’s an amazing figure in itself and it could very well be indicative of a future trend. Will online degrees one day be the norm? These figures seem to suggest that it very well could be the case. It does bear watching but the good news is, with the Internet, that won’t be very hard to do at all.