Online College Students 2014

Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences

Published June 13th, 2014

11 Key Findings About Online College Students

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012 approximately 2.6 million students were enrolled in fully-online degree programs, while 5.5 million were taking at least one online course.  For institutions to fully understand how to best serve this growing population, it is critical to understand who is studying online and what they are looking for in from their degree program.

The “Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” report, a joint project of Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, shares the findings of the third annual survey of 1,500 former, current and future online students.

Explore all 11 key findings of this report.

Download the Report

Key Findings of the Report

  • Online students are studying further away. Fifty-four percent of students attend an institution within 100 miles of where they live, showing a three-year trend of students increasingly willing to attend an institution farther from home. (In 2012, 80% reported attending an institution within 100 miles of where they lived. This declined to 69% in 2013.)
  • Cost and financial aid important, but not critical. Although students reported that cost was a primary selection factor when choosing an online degree program, approximately two-thirds of respondents said they did not choose the most inexpensive program. Only 20% said they would not attend an institution if financial aid was not offered, although approximately half said they would need financial aid.
  • Job placement messaging resonates. When given a choice of 18 marketing messages, the overwhelming favorite was “90% job placement.” This makes sense, given that a large majority of students pursuing an online degree are doing so for job-related reasons.
  • Transfer credit makes a difference. Approximately 80% of students have earned credit elsewhere, and those students want to bring that credit with them. Having a clearly defined, generous, and easy-to-navigate transfer credit policy can help institutions stand apart.

Related Content

Webinar
Published June 13, 2014
Understanding who is studying online and what they are looking for in an online degree is critical for success. This webinar provides some of those answers.
View Resource
Infographic
Published July 8, 2014
See how students make the decision to earn their degree online, what marketing messages appeal to them, what they want to study, and more.
View Resource
Research Report
Published May 10, 2017
Discover who is studying online. “Online College Students 2017: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” explores a survey of 1,500 online students.
View Resource