Home News Online Enrollments Grow, but Pace Slows – Inside Higher Ed

Online Enrollments Grow, but Pace Slows – Inside Higher Ed


New federal data show that more than a third of all 2018 college and university students took at least one online course, and that online enrollments continue steady growth as overall numbers dip.

The proportion of all enrolled college students who took at least one online class continues to rise, edging up to 34.7 percent in fall 2018 from 33.1 percent the previous year. The rate of increase appears to be slowing ever so slightly, although online education remains the main driver of growth in postsecondary enrollments.

These are among the conclusions one might glean from the latest federal data on distance education enrollments, drawn from the Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

The data generally show more students studying online, at virtually all types of institutions and at all levels of post-high school learning. The table below shows the basic trends:

  • Overall enrollment at institutions that receive federal financial aid dropped by 1.1 percent from 2016 to 2018, reflecting the continued strength of the job market and declines in the number of young people of traditional college age.

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