Distance Learning Statistics

How many postsecondary institutions offer distance learning programs?

In the 2006–07 academic year, 66 percent of the 4,160 2-year and 4-year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the nation offered college-level distance education courses. The overall percentage includes 97 percent of public 2-year institutions, 18 percent of private for-profit 2-year institutions, 89 percent of public 4-year institutions, 53 percent of private not-for-profit institutions, and 70 percent of private for-profit 4-year institutions.

Sixty-five percent of the institutions reported college-level credit-granting distance education courses, and 23 percent reported noncredit distance education courses. There was a total of an estimated 12.2 million enrollments (or registrations) in college-level credit-granting distance education courses in 2006–07. Of these enrollments, 77 percent were reported in online courses, 12 percent were reported in hybrid/blended online courses, and 10 percent were reported in other types of distance education courses.

In 2006–07, there were approximately 11,200 college-level programs that were designed to be completed totally through distance education; 66 percent of these programs were reported as degree programs and the remaining 34 percent were reported as certificate programs.

Total number of 2-year and -year Title IV degree-granting postsecondary institutions, and percent that offered distance education courses, by course type and institutional type: 2006-07
Institution type Total number of institutions Percent offered any distance education courses Percent offered college-level credit-granting distance education courses Percent offered noncredit distance education courses
All institutions 4,200 66 65 23
Institution type
Public 2-year 1,000 97 97 50
Private for-profit 2-year 500 18 16
Public 4-year 600 89 88 42
Private not-for-profit 4-year 1,500 53 53 10
Private for-profit 4-year 300 70 70 2

‡ Reporting standards not met.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2008). Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006–07 (NCES 2009-044), Table 1

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