Community colleges see growth in students seeking online education

Community colleges have seen growth in enrollment in their online education programs.
Community colleges have seen growth in enrollment in their online education programs.

According to a recently released study by the Instructional Technology Council, community colleges across the country saw a 9 percent increase in their online education programs between the fall 2009 and fall 2010 semesters, Inside Higher Ed reports. This number can be compared with the 7 percent increase in overall higher education during the same time period.

Individuals who were surveyed said that there were several factors that could have influenced the growth of web-based education at community colleges. For example, approximately 37 percent said that it was was caused by the economic downturn. Still, 39 percent of people said that the growth merely reflects typical increases in distance education.

The survey results also show that online classes attract students of all ages. Enrollment in these programs was split 50-50 between people ages 18 to 25 and those who are older than 26.

When researchers include two- and four-year institutions across the country in their studies, online education is still showing signs of growth. According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, web-based enrollment grew by about 1 million students last year.

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