Monday, March 29, 2010

How many postsecondary institutions offer distance learning programs?

Distance education is defined as a formal education process in which the students and instructor are not in the same place. Thus, instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous1, and it may involve communication through the use of video, audio, or computer technologies, or by correspondence (including written correspondence and the use of technology such as CD-ROM). Distance education includes courses and programs that were formally designated as online, hybrid/blended online (combination of online and in-class instruction with reduced in-class seat time for students), and other distance education courses and programs.
In the 2006–07 academic year, 66 percent of the 4,160 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the nation offered college-level distance education courses. The overall percentage includes 97 percent of public 2-year institutions, 18 percent of private for-profit 2-year institutions, 89 percent of public 4-year institutions, 53 percent of private not-for-profit institutions, and 70 percent of private for-profit 4-year institutions.

Sixty-five percent of the institutions reported college-level credit-granting distance education courses, and 23 percent reported noncredit distance education courses. There was a total of an estimated 12.2 million enrollments (or registrations) in college-level credit-granting distance education courses in 2006–07. Of these enrollments, 77 percent were reported in online courses, 12 percent were reported in hybrid/blended online courses, and 10 percent were reported in other types of distance education courses.
In 2006–07, there were approximately 11,200 college-level programs that were designed to be completed totally through distance education; 66 percent of these programs were reported as degree programs and the remaining 34 percent were reported as certificate programs.

Total number of 2-year and -year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions, and percent that offered distance education courses, by course type and institutional type: 2006-07
Institution type Total number of institutions Percent offered any distance education courses Percent offered college-level credit-granting distance education courses Percent offered noncredit distance education courses

All institutions 4,200 66 65 23
Institution type
   Public 2-year 1,000 97 97 50
   Private for-profit 2-year50018 16
   Public 4-year 600 89 88 42
   Private not-for-profit 4-year 1,500 53 53 10
   Private for-profit 4-year 300 70 70 2

‡ Reporting standards not met.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2008). Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006–07 (NCES 2009-044), Table 1

1 Synchronous Internet-based technologies refer to simultaneous or “real-time” computer-based instruction, while asynchronous Internet-based technologies are used for courses that are not based on simultaneous computer-based instruction.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07
Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

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