By Jarrett Carter | November 15, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • Inside Higher Ed reports on a new survey from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House, which suggests surprising trends about the online and distance learning efforts of private schools throughout the United States.
  • Of the more than 160 chief academic officers surveyed, more than 25% reported offering at least five fully online programs, a 10% increase from 2013. The same percentage of respondents reported revenues from the programs exceeding $1 million, and more than 60% say tuition revenue from distance learning has remained steady over the last three years.
  • 44% of institutions are likely to increase marketing efforts for international students in the near future.

Dive Insight:

Several surveys and higher education experts have predicted the demise of small and liberal arts private schools, and with good reason.  Considering the number of schools currently facing financial crisis and ongoing efforts from the federal Department of Education to regulate postgraduate outcomes which may run counter-cultural to school missions and majors, that these institutions have found stability in marketing the same degrees to older or continuing learners shows that there is a future for higher learning models all but pronounced dead 6 months ago.

The next step for private institutions is to connect the degree programs, particularly offerings in the liberal arts, to emerging industries to ensure job skill development and postgraduate success. This will require intensive outreach to graduates and regional corporations who can connect with, or which are looking for qualified employees to bring multi-dimensional skills to a workplace.

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