Which Way is Online Higher Education Enrollment Trending?

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Eduventures, a research and consulting firm serving the higher education industry, has released its annual Online Higher Education Market Update 2012/2013, asking the question: Is the online growth run coming to an end?

After years of strong growth, overall higher education enrollment is slowing down. Given the enrollment slowdown among traditional-age and adult students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, how is online fairing? This question is at the core of the Online Higher Education Market Update 2012/2013 recently released by Eduventures.

The report’s author, Eduventures Vice President and Principal Analyst Richard Garrett, argues that 2012 was a watershed year for online higher education. The market became more crowded at the same time that higher education enrollment overall shrank for the second year in a row. The regulatory environment is more conservative and uncertain. Whether the school is for-profit or non-profit, tougher questions are being asked about the online student experience and program outcomes. New competition has burst onto the scene, most notably Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), offering an array of alternative providers, credentials, and business models.

These factors combine to pose the question: Is the online growth run coming to an end? As Garrett explained in a recent public webinar, “One thesis is that the online market isn’t so much slowing down as diversifying. We’re seeing a move away from a few large for-profit schools that pioneered online to online being embraced by a wide range of schools... But, we are now seeing an overall growth rate for online that’s in the single digits, where historically, it’s been in double-digits. The key question is whether there are enough online enrollments to satisfy the objectives of the hundreds of schools now in the market.”

To learn more about the Online Higher Education Market Update 2012/2013, visit http://www.eduventures.com.

About Eduventures, Inc.
Eduventures is the industry leader in research, data, consulting, and advisory services for the higher education community. For nearly 20 years, college and university leaders and education industry providers have looked to Eduventures for innovative and forward-thinking ideas, for insights into best practices, and for help with making the strategic and operational decisions vital to their success.

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Megan Carter

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