Published on 2012/07/27

Today’s Online Student

The average student in an online program today is a 33-year old white female with an annual salary of $65,000 pursuing a business degree, according to a new survey conducted by Aslanian Market Research and The Learning House, Inc.

“Schools simply cannot offer enough business programs if they want to attract large numbers of online students,” write the authors of the report.

The survey used a sample of 1,500 adults who are currently enrolled in, were recently enrolled in or plan soon to be enrolled in fully online programs, according to Steve Kolowich of Inside Higher Ed.

The survey also showed that most students enrolling in online-only programs are working, with 60 percent of respondents employed full-time and 20 percent working part-time. Moreover, while 19 percent of respondents are unemployed, 12 percent said they are actively looking for work.

The survey showed a distribution of interest across various types of certifications as well. 27 percent of respondents said they are pursuing a license or certification, while 73 percent of respondents are pursuing a degree. This represents an increase in popularity of programs designed to enhance specific skills and abilities, according to the report.

“As interest in competency-based learning rises, so will the demand for short-term, career-oriented, and compressed certificate study,” said the report.

Interestingly, while online learning is touted as a global gateway to higher education, the survey found that most students prefer to take programs offered by their local colleges and universities. In fact, 69 percent of respondents live within 50 miles of their institution’s physical campus or service centers, and 80 percent of respondents live within 100 miles.

The survey also attempted to determine what elements prospective students weighed when choosing an institution and while price was an important factor, it came second only to institutional reputation.

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