NCES: Distance Education Student Enrollment for Fall 2014

By Betsy Prueter

Earlier this week,WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies released their third annual report of NCES data on distance education student enrollment for the fall of 2014. WCET plans to continue to provide analysis of the data throughout the month.

Highlights include:

  • The number of students who are enrolled exclusively in distance education increased by 6% from 2013 to 2014.
    • This increase is juxtaposed with a decrease in enrollment in the overall college student population (a 0.8% decrease from 2013).
  • In 2014 there were over 2.8 million enrollments in online and distance programs.
    • Roughly 1 in 7 students is enrolled exclusively in a distance education program.
  • 49% of distance enrollments are at public institutions, 30% are at private, for-profit institutions and 21% are at private, non-profit institutions.
    • Enrollment at private, non-profits is growing at the highest rate, having increased 22% in two years. Public institutions are growing as well- though at a much slower pace (9% increase in two years). However, enrollments at for-profits have declined by 11% over the last two years.
  • Despite growing enrollment in online and distance education, institutions lack data about where their students reside.
    • 5% of students enrolled in the U.S. reside in an “unknown” state and 5.3% of all enrollments reside in locations “unknown” (or unreported) all together.