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Year to Year Change in Distance Education Enrollments, 2012-2015

Graph: Shows the year to year change in distance education enrollments for public, private non-profit, and private for-profit schools.

Percentage of Students Taking Distance Courses

Graph: Percentage of Students Taking Distance Courses. Shown to be on the rise from 2012 to 2015.

New Study: Over Six Million Students Now Enrolled in Distance Education

(Wellesley, MA) – The Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, conducted by the new Digital Learning Compass organization, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million. Growth, however, was uneven; private non-profit institutions grew by 11.4 percent while private for-profit institutions saw their distance enrollments decline by 9.4 percent. These and other findings were published today in a report titled, “Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017.”

Media Mentions

6 million students? Must-know facts about online enrollment

eCampus News

Online enrollment at nonprofit institutions is on the rise, while for-profit institutions saw a decline of more than 9 percent, according to a new report examining trends and patterns of online enrollment in the U.S.

The Rise of the Online Higher Education Leader

Center for Digital Education

Online learning professionals are playing a bigger role in higher education as distance learning and digital course instruction continues to grow in numbers and prestige.

Building Support for Online Learning at Small Residential Institutions

Inside Higher Ed

The big online learning story of 2017 is not about the few schools that offer distance education to ten of thousands of students. Rather, it is about the impact that online education can have on teaching and learning at every institution. And this impact may be greatest at our most traditional residential colleges and universities.

Latest data on USA distance education enrollments

Tony Bates

Despite a small drop in overall enrolments in the USA in 2015, DE enrolments continued to grow, although in the three years from 2012 to 2015 the pace of growth has slowed. The main change was in the for-profit sector, probably affected by federal pressure on the use of student loans and congressional pressure for greater regulation of for-profit institutions under the Obama administration.

Assessing Kaplan-Purdue -- Revolution or Evolution??


The announcement that Purdue University, a Big Ten public institution, has agreed to acquire Kaplan University, a 30,000-student for-profit online institution, has sent shock waves across the entire higher education community.

On-Campus Enrollment Shrinks While Online Continues its Ascent

Campus Technology

More than 6 million students took at least one online course in 2015, representing more than a quarter (29.7 percent) of all higher education enrollments that year, according to a new report from Digital Learning Compass. Among that 29.7 percent, it's almost evenly split between students who took some but not all courses online (15.4 percent) and those who took every class online (14.3 percent). In contrast, total online enrollments in 2002 came in just under 10 percent.

Study: Online Course Enrollment Rising Rapidly at Private Nonprofits

U.S. News

Even as fewer students overall pursue a higher education, online courses are rising in popularity – including at private nonprofits, which historically were slower to embrace them, according to a report released yesterday.

Distance learning enrollment ticks up, though for-profits see declines

Education DIVE

Distance learning continues to grow, with more than six million higher ed students taking at least one distance education course in 2015, according to a report from Digital Learning Compass.

6 Million Students Took Distance Education Courses in 2015, Up 3.9 Percent from…


MORE THAN SIX MILLION students were enrolled in at least one online distance education course in Fall 2015, according to a recent study by the Digital Learning Compass, a new partnership between Babson Survey Research Group, e-Literate and WCET.