Posted in HS4CC

Online College in 2023+

Education Dynamics just published their 2023 Online College Report and I have a copy! Over 5 million students took online college credit courses last year, and there are 2 things I found interesting.

The purpose of the annual report is to help COLLEGES serve and recruit students, so keep that in mind as you read further. Obviously a college wants to reach their target student, so this report helps them do that. Within that context, however, we can get a lot of useful information as our teen’s guidance counselor! I enjoyed the full report and found a lot of it interesting, but 2 important data points caught my attention. State of residence and majors selected.

This was their marketing email sent to me. You can download the report from that link:

We surveyed over 3,000 current and soon-to-enroll undergraduate and graduate students in online programs to help higher ed leaders better engage and serve online college students. Our findings will change the way you think about and engage with your future online students. Download the 12th annual Online College Students Report today and start growing your online program enrollment.

State of Residence

REPORT: Over 80% of students taking online courses are enrolled in a college in their state of residence.

I found this very interesting in the HS4CC context because it means that students don’t always pursue distance learning to attend colleges “far” from home. In early years of distance learning, people attended remotely because there may have only been a handful of “online” colleges offering their chosen major and they had no choice. Seeing numbers like this means that far more colleges ARE offering a wide enough variety that a student can stay in-state and still get access to online classes. Attending remotely but staying in-state has several BIG advantages for the HS4CC family:

  • If the student is accessing dual enrollment in high school, they can keep doing that after high school and have a seamless transition as well as improved credit transfer opportuinities.
  • Instate rates are usually much lower cost than out of state rates.
  • Attending remotely means a student may be able to live at home instead of on campus. On campus dorm averages $11,000 per year ($44,000 total) which is a significant cost to students.
  • Brand recognition of a “local” name or instate college can not be ignored, especially if the student intends to work in that state after college.

Field of Study

REPORT: Online college students most often study business (22%), followed by health, nursing,
& medicine (19%), and computers & IT (17%.) Together, these three fields comprise almost 60 percent of the online college student market.

The noteworthy takeaway is that students who intend to study business, health/nursing/medicine, and computers are going to be the first groups to break through the “online stigma” that other fields may still hold on to. Since these fields all allow strong job opportunities, you can not only expect to see these programs being offered by more colleges, but with strong enrollment, you should expect the quality of the programs to increase and employers to embrace graduates. The fields that represent the lowest online enrollment, and thus will still likely carry strong “online education stigma” for a few more years include:

  • Counseling / Human Services
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Social Sciences
  • Education/ Teaching


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit