Growing importance of distance learning in the USA

Washington | The recently published study “Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions” by the National Center for Education Statistics shows an increase in the number of undergraduate and graduate students in distance learning. In most cases, distance learning takes the form of a blended learning approach. While 1,913,646 students were still enrolled in distance learning courses nationwide in autumn 2016, their number rose to 2,114,539 one year later.

The study is based on data from autumn 2017. At that time there were a total of 20.1 million students at colleges and universities in the USA. According to the survey, an average of 49 percent of the 1.3 million students enrolled in private for-profit institutions complete distance learning. Private non-profit institutions account for 19 percent of the 4.1 million students enrolled there. Distance learning is least widespread at state colleges and universities. According to the survey, 11 percent of the total of 14.7 million students there acquire knowledge through an online course of study.

There are several reasons for the increasing success of distance learning. In addition to the independence of location and flexibility in the learning process, these are also financially attractive in many cases, since degrees can be acquired at lower costs than in face-to-face study. The offerers of the remote study set on the generation of the digital Natives, which perceives online communication increasingly as equivalent to a communication from face to face and therefore also place-independent eLearning courses of studies in increasing demand. The complete study can be found at