The 2021 Trends in Online Student Demographics Report — our second annual report on online student demographics — provides a look at data collected from 1,300 online students. The participants in this report represent three enrollment categories: current online students, prospective online students, and graduates of online programs. This group does not include remote learners who experienced virtual learning environments as a result of COVID-19-related campus closures in 2020, although our findings suggest that these closures affected online students as well.
Choosing an Online Program
- College websites are the information source prospective online students rely on most (31%) when researching and comparing programs, followed by student reviews (21%).
- Financial challenges, such as estimating actual costs, are a major obstacle when choosing a program. However, the top challenge, as identified by 22% of prospective students, is finding an online option that meets a student’s needs and interests
The Online Learning Experience
- In 2020, two-thirds (66%) of currently enrolled online students said they never visited campus, compared to just 45% in 2019.
- Both online and on-campus classes relied heavily on live, online class meetings (e.g., meetings hosted via Zoom) in 2020, as reported by 89% of currently enrolled online students. This was up from 58% the previous year.
Interested in Learning More About Online Students?
Download the full report for more demographic details.