Online College Students 2018

Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences

Published May 23, 2018

Are your online programs designed with today’s students in mind?

Each year, more students take college classes online, but that may soon change. In fact, enrollment growth for online students will slow by 2019, according to Eduventures. Meanwhile competition in online education is heating up. To be successful, your institution must demonstrate that its online programs can help students achieve their goals — and follow through after they enroll. If not, you risk losing students to schools that offer in-demand programs and services.

The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research surveyed 1,500 current, future and recently graduated online students to identify the programs and services they want most. The results are presented in the seventh-annual Online College Students report. Do you know how many students use mobile devices to finish coursework? Or how often online students use career services? Read the report for answers to these questions and many more.

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Top Key Findings

  • Mobile-friendly content is critical. Virtually every online college student owns a smartphone or tablet. Most students use mobile devices not only to search for their online program of study (87 percent), but also to complete online course work (67 percent). Optimizing course content and websites for mobile is vital for colleges and universities that strive to grow their online student population.
  • Online students need career services. As three-quarters of online college students pursue a degree for career-focused reasons, career services are increasingly applicable to their post-graduation success. Online students report utilizing services such as working with a career advisor (50 percent), resume help (48 percent) and job search assistance (40 percent). Online access to career services is an integral part of a high-touch institution’s value, and students are taking advantage of the opportunity.
  • Online learning is providing a positive return on students’ investment. Sixty percent of survey respondents who recently searched for an online program had completed an online course or program in the past. Eighty-six percent of online students feel the value of their degree equals or exceeds the cost they paid for it. For students who have experienced both in-person and virtual classrooms, 85 percent feel that learning online is as good or better than attending courses on campus.
  • Online programs are becoming more diversified. While business and education are still programs of high interest for both undergraduate and graduate online students, our survey showed increased interest in many fields of study. Particularly in the graduate student segment, areas such as computers and IT, health & medicine, and STEM have seen steady growth compared to 2014 data. Institutions that diversify their online offerings may be able to take advantage of new segments of students they could not access previously.

Read the 2018 Online College Students report for the complete set of findings.

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We help schools become what students want

As the Online College Students report shows, online learners — and their needs — are evolving. As a result, many institutions are struggling to position their programs and services so they resonate with those pursuing an online education. If your institution is exploring ways to change the game and grow enrollments, Learning House is here to help.

Contact us to discuss your institution and the ideas our new report has inspired. Together, we can turn your ideas into more students.

Let’s Talk



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Published May 24, 2018
This free webinar shares insights from the 2018 Online College Students report. Discover the needs of today’s online learners from the authors of the report.
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