Online Degrees And Certificates Growth Rate

Over the past 5 years, there has been a surge in the number of online degrees and certificates being offered by universities. There are two reasons to it. Firstly, more and more universities today are offering professional certificates instead of degrees. According to GeorgeTown University Center, professional degrees are a $140 billion business which was hitherto catered to primarily by community colleges. Most of the students who take up certificates are in mid-career positions who can afford the costs unlike the typical degree students.

The second reason why there is a surge is because of the booming internet education industry. MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is a massive industry where an unlimited number of students are provided education via the internet. Examples of such courses include those offered on websites like Udemy and Khan Academy. Besides these services offered by non-educational organizations, regular universities too offer MOOCs today. In the United States, MOOC-based degrees and certificates are offered by a number of universities including Stanford, University of Michigan, Princeton and GeorgeTown.

A number of courses, particularly those targeting entrepreneurs and business owners are now available online. For example, a Business essentials and planning course offered by Butler university extends over a 32 week period and is targeted at mid-career professionals.

According to a research conducted by Babson Survey Research Group, the growth rate of online degrees has been on the rise. In 2003, just around 2 million students enrolled in online courses (11.7% of total enrollments). By 2011, this number had surged well beyond 7 million (32% of total enrollments). In terms of perception of education quality too, online courses seem to be improving.

The Babson Survey of academic leaders in 2003 revealed than 15% of them felt online courses had a superior quality than traditional courses. By 2012, this figure had breached 20% figure with another 60% opining that these courses at least had the same quality as regular courses.

However, one of the biggest hurdles to greater popularity of online courses appear to be in their overall acceptance. The survey showed that the percentage of academics accepting online courses as a valuable alternative has stayed around the 25% mark through this past decade.

With wider proliferation of the internet and the general popularity of services like Udemy and Codecademy, it will be interesting to see how much popularity online courses gain over the next decade or two. This could be a defining moment in the way the students of tomorrow gain education. What are your thoughts?

Online MBA – Demographic Profile & Growth Trend

With a slowing economy, the demand for higher education has been on the rise since more and more people seek to hone their academic profile. Considering that the current physical infrastructure of educational institutions may not be sufficient to cater to this ever-growing demand, more and more universities are now looking at online courses to reach out to a wider base of students. According to the 2012 Application Trends Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), over 66% of the surveyed institutions have reported an increase in applications to their online MBA program in 2012 compared to 2011. This is in stark contrast to the Full time courses where only 42% of the surveyed institutions have reported a growth in applications.

Demographic Profile:

Interestingly, domestic applications have shown a higher growth in demand compared to foreign applications. According to the report, over 45% of the surveyed institutions reported a growth in applications from domestic candidates where as only 41% of those reported a similar increase from foreign applications. The report also says that the number of applications from men was seen to have risen in the case of 45% of the institutions.

Most MBA institutions, including those offering full time conduct special outreach programs targeting specific segments of candidates to their programs. For example, an institution offering healthcare MBA might want to specifically target health professionals for their MBA program. The GMAC survey notes the following three segments as the most popular categories in the outreach programs conducted by online MBA institutions.

1. Working professionals
2. Military
3. Undergraduate students

Tuition Assistance For Online MBA Programs

GMAC also studied the kind of tuition assistance offered to these students. For online MBA, here is how the various options stacked up (numbers may not add up to 100% since some students may be offered more than one kind of assistance):

No assistance : 52%
Scholarships : 30%
Assistantships : 19%
Reduced tuition : 4%
On-campus work study : 4%

Summary

Here is a gist of the online MBA landscape as reported by the GMAC survey.

Work Experience

No experience : 6%
< 1 year : 4%
1-3 years : 13%
3-6 years : 24%
6-10 years: 25%
> 10 years: 30%

Age

<= 22 years : 2%
22-25 years : 18%
26-30 years : 28%
31-34 years : 17%
35-39 years : 15%
>= 40 years : 19%

Geographical Location

Local : 32%
National : 58%
International : 10%

Gender

Male : 57%
Female : 43%

Citizenship

Domestic : 87%
Foreign : 13%