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Growth in Online Education at Private Colleges

JANUARY 23, 2017

Private colleges are growing more accepting of online education, according to a survey of chief academic officers conducted by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House.  Compared to a similar survey that was conducted in 2013, the share of private colleges that offer five or more fully online programs has grown from 15 percent to 25 percent, and while about half (48 percent) of the institutions say that some faculty members are still skeptical of online education, 38 percent say they have overcome the barrier.  The Learning House and the CIC surveyed 169 members of the organization for the study.   Other finding include:

  • More private colleges offer at least one fully online program.  This year, 61 percent of respondents said they do so, up from 52 percent in 2013.

  • One-quarter of colleges report making more than $1 million in revenue from their online programs, and 66 percent say online tuition revenue has remained steady or grown since 2013.

  • Looking to the future, private colleges say they are focused on enrolling international students online (44 percent) or developing competency-based education courses (33 percent).

While face-to-face instruction continues to be the primary delivery system at private colleges and universities, it is encouraging to see that a growing number of institutions are also utilizing online education in order to serve students more effectively.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant 

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