The Survey of Distance Learning Programs in Higher Education

October 13, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Distance learning revenues grew by a mean of 15.52% in 2006, according to The Survey of
Distance Learning Programs in Higher Education, 2007-2008 edition, just published by Primary
Research Group. More than a third of the enrollment increase came from increased enrollment
from students that pursue traditional classes. The study is based on data from 45 higher
education distance learning programs, with mean revenues of approximately $2.35 million. Data
is broken out by size and type of college, for public and private colleges and for high, medium and
low growth enrollment distance learning programs. The 200 page report presents more than 750
tables of data exploring many facets of distance learning programs, including revenues, cost
structure, rates of pay, student demographics, program growth rates, current and planned use of
new technologies, catering to special populations, and many other financial and business aspects
of managing distance learning programs.

Just a few of the study’s hundreds of findings are:

•#Most colleges in the sample—more than two-thirds—view their distance learning program
as a financial resource that is expected to produce a surplus for the college, while for 28.57%
of the colleges in the sample it was merely expected to pay for itself, and one college viewed
it as an educational luxury, subsidized by the college.
•#At public colleges, a mean of more than 62% of students were female, while less than
47% at the private colleges.
•#More than 57% of the students in the sample live within 75 miles of the college that offers
them the distance learning courses.
•#The programs in the sample had a mean of 3.74% of their students who are foreign
nationals on a student visa, though only a median of one percent.
•#Less than 10% of the programs in the sample require all students to pay full “sticker
price” tuition without tuition reductions, rebates or grants.
•#A bit more than 45% of the programs in the sample had their own enrollment of market
director, as did more than 62% of the PHD granting or research universities.
•#More than 26% of the programs in the sample have used an e-mail newsletter to market
their courses within the past year. Use was much higher among the private than public
•#One-sixth of the programs in the sample use paid advertising services from Google.
•#Only 8.7% of participants plan to increase TV advertising, while 17.4% elect to hold it
constant and 4.35% plan to decrease spending.
•#Nearly 23% of the programs in the sample provide tailor-made distance leaning courses
to some arm of the U.S. armed forces.
•#Only 6.9% of the programs in the sample plan to change their course
management/authoring/maintenance program within the next two years,
•#Private colleges use adjunct faculty for 64.5% of the courses that they offer, with a low of 20% to a high of 100%
•#Nearly 70% of the colleges in the sample offer payments routinely to instructors who
develop distance leaning courses, and more than 17% occasionally offer such payments.
•#The overwhelming majority of colleges that offer or plan to offer courses in healthcare
found growth prospects to be excellent or good. Public colleges were far more enthusiastic
about their growth prospects in this area than were the private colleges

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