Surveys: A Million More Students Taking Classes Online; Virginia College Online Programs Ranked

Mar 10, 2011

The 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning reveals that online enrollment rose by almost one million students from a year earlier. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available.

"This represents the largest ever year-to-year increase in the number of students studying online," said study co-author I Elaine Allen, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group and Professor of Statistics & Entrepreneurship at Babson College. "Nearly thirty percent of all college and university students now take at least one course online."

The survey also reported that the 21% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population. Three-quarters of institutions report that the economic downturn has increased demand for online courses and programs.

The eighth annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.

Meanwhile, The Best Colleges website has ranked the online programs of Virginia College in its recent Top 25 poll.

In its criteria, the website included student satisfaction, graduation and retention rates, peer and instructional quality, affordability, and credibility. Data was gathered from independent sources like The National Center for Education Statistics and College Results Online, as well as from school websites and direct conversations with school representatives.

The survey said that Virginia College's online program's solid student satisfaction indicators "suggest a good online experience for students."

"With affordable tuition, made even more affordable by the fact that textbooks costs are included, Virginia College (online) is one of the top online college values around. (It) offers degrees in business, education, IT, and healthcare, while also being one of the few top online schools offering online culinary arts degrees."