BestColleges.Com Releases Two New Studies About the Growth of Online Higher Education

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2017 Online Education Trends Report and 2017 Student Guide to Online Education Provide New Insight Into Administrative and Student Opportunities in Online Education

This year’s report offers a snapshot of online education issues as they currently relate to demographics, program management, and student expectations.

BestColleges.com, a leading provider of higher education information and resources, today announced the availability of two new reports: 2017 Online Education Trends Report and 2017 Student Guide to Online Education.

2017 Online Education Trends Report:

BestColleges.com conducted a proprietary survey with more than 300 school administrators and 1,500 student respondents. 2017 Online Education Trends Report is designed to help school administrators make the best decisions possible about the online programs under their management, as well support future opportunities. The results include detailed information about their current experiences in online education.

“Online education is a dynamic industry, with new technologies and instructional strategies always on the horizon. Marketing and program maintenance also need to keep pace with this changing landscape. Last year, we provided a look at existing research related to online students, technology, learning environments, and college costs (BestColleges, 2016). This year’s report offers a snapshot of online education issues as they currently relate to demographics, program management, and student expectations,” said Stephanie Snider, General Manager for BestColleges.com

The report highlights three categories:

The State of Online Learning:

  • Students Care About Careers: 72% of online students report job and employment goals as a reason for enrolling, including transitioning to a new career field (36%) and earning academic credentials in a current field of work (32%).
  • Cost is the most prominent concern: Students report their biggest challenges in making decisions about online education related to cost estimates, finding funding sources, and navigating the financial aid process.

Developing and Managing Online Programs:

  • Online program demand is on the rise: 98% of administrators indicate that demand for online education has increased or stayed the same over the past few years. However, 60% do not plan to change their budgets for online program development in the next year.
  • Local Options Matter: 65% of administrators consider “needs of local employers” and/ or “general employment/job market trends or forecasts” when designing a new online program.
  • Recruitment is still an obstacle, even with increased demand: Marketing new online programs to prospective students and meeting recruitment goals is seen as the biggest challenge to offering an online program.

Meeting Online Student Needs and Expectations:

  • Students want more outcomes data: 77% of schools report that students are asking for “placement/employment” rates in addition to other outcome data, such as completion rates (58%) and post-graduation salaries (48%).

The 2017 Online Education Trends Report can be found here: http://www.bestcolleges.com/wp-content/uploads/2017-Online-Education-Trends-Report.pdf

2017 Student Guide to Online Education:

This report uses the feedback we received from more than 300 schools and 1,500 students to help students decide if online education is a smart choice for them, how to pick a program, and what to expect as an online student, both now and in the future.

A crucial component to identifying online programs that are a match for students is gathering information about a range of academic, learning support, financial, and other important college questions. The 2017 Student Guide to Online Education survey results include feedback from current, past, and prospective students about their process for choosing a program. Many students relied on multiple sources for gathering information about online programs, but the most frequently selected options were reading online reviews from students and researching college websites:

  • 31% - Contacted schools directly
  • 36% - Researched college websites
  • 20% - Talked to students or graduates
  • 20% - Visited Campus(es)
  • 38% - Read online reviews from students
  • 28% - Researched rankings websites

“Ultimately, students considering online education want to know if their degrees will pay off. Each school collects data about student performance. Many schools now provide this information openly so you can get a better idea of how success is measured and achieved at the institutions you are interested in attending. Our findings highlighted that 77% of schools report that students are asking for “placement/employment” rates, which may come as no surprise given the employment focus of most students’ education goals,” said, Snider.

2017 Student Guide to Online Education also provides comprehensive information and survey results about:

  • Online Campus vs. Offline
  • Student Support
  • Student Success Information
  • Career Development Opportunities
  • What Mistakes to avoid in research
  • Maximizing your chance for success

For more information about 2017 Student Guide to Online Education, please visit: http://www.bestcolleges.com/wp-content/uploads/2017-Student-Guide-to-Online-Education.pdf

BestColleges.com helps prospective students find the school that best meets their needs through proprietary research, user-friendly guides, and hundreds of unique college rankings. They also provide a wide array of college planning, financial aid, and career resources to help all students get the most from their education and prepare them for the world after college.

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Snider, General Manager, BestColleges.com
stephanie(at)bestcolleges(dot)com

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Stephanie Snider
@BestCollegesCom
since: 09/2014
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