September 21, 2021
Last week I shared a profile of US online education enrollment based on the new IPEDS Fall Enrollment 2020 data set – the first mid-pandemic national distance education (DE) profile. Let’s look at the institutions with the top online enrollments along with some of the trends.
As a reminder on the data usage:
There are multiple ways to filter and select data. For this set (as with previous analyses for consistency’s sake), I have limited to U.S. degree-granting institutions in six sectors – public 4-year, private 4-year, for profit 4-year, public 2-year, private 2-year, and for profit 2-year. For undergraduate totals I have included degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking students (degree-granting institutions can offer non-degree programs). This will give different totals than other reporting methods. In particular, note that the IPEDS data view summary typically includes less than 2-year degrees and also includes non degree-granting institutions, leading to slightly higher numbers than shown below.
For the most part distance education (DE) and online education terms are interchangeable, but they are not equivalent as DE can include courses delivered by a medium other than the Internet (e.g. correspondence course). In this post I use both terms.
Exclusively DE is for students taking all courses online; Some DE is for students taking some courses online but not all; At Least One DE, or ALO DE is a combination of exclusive and some DE.
Fall Enrollment does not capture all students within a year, as it is a census approach. I am using the Fall Enrollment metric since that is where IPEDS captures DE data.