Large differences in the impact of distance education seen among the states

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The Distance Education State Almanac 2017, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and the Digital Learning Compass organization, reveals very different patterns of distance enrollments among the fifty states. Distance education enrollments, as a proportion of all higher education students, range from a low of 13 percent in Rhode Island to a high of over 50 percent in Arizona, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. Nevada has the highest proportion of their distance students (93 percent) coming from within the state. 

These and other findings were published today in the report, Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education State Enrollment Report 2017. The report is being released both as a comprehensive single report with information for all fifty states, as well as fifty individual state reports.

This is one in a series of publications from Digital Learning Compass, a research partnership of the Babson Survey Research Group, e-Literate, and WCET. Digital Learning Compass partnered with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, and Tyton Partners to produce this report, providing the first-ever detailed examination of the state-level differences in distance education.

"New for this report are insights into where students are receiving their educations - traditional on-campus, exclusively distance or a combination. Nationally, since 2012, we have seen a slow but steady decline of traditional on-campus students." said study co-author Julia Seaman, Research Director of the Babson Survey Research Group.  "Almost half the states have had negligible changes to their on-campus student enrollment, while another 19 match the national decreasing trend. However, four states - Utah, Idaho, Arizona and New Hampshire - had double digit decreases to their percent of on-campus students in favor of exclusively distant enrollment. "

"Institutions nationwide have made impressive progress offering distance learning programs for students from all stages of life," said Kevin Capitani, president, Pearson North America. "These programs offer students access to flexible, high-quality, education opportunities that prepare them for employment in growing career fields. Pearson is excited to put to use this insightful research report on state-level enrollment patterns to analyze and uncover opportunities to reach and support more students than ever before."

“As the overall higher education landscape continues to shift, it’s helpful to understand how regional trends in digital education are contributing,” said Jill Buban, Ph.D., senior director, research and innovation, for the Online Learning Consortium. “This state-by-state data provides an instructive and comprehensive picture of the state of postsecondary education across the country.”

The complete survey report, “Distance Education State Enrollment Report 2017” and individual state reports are available at


Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide. The member-sustained organization offers an extensive set of resources for professional development and institutional advancement of online learning. Visit for more information.

Tyton Partners provides investment banking and strategy consulting services to companies, foundations, post-secondary institutions, and investors as they navigate the complexities of the global knowledge sector. For more information about Tyton Partners visit or follow us @tytonpartners.

e-Literate is a weblog about educational technology and related topics that is co-published by Michael Feldstein and Phil Hill, who are also partners at MindWires, an educational technology analyst and consulting firm. It covers a broad range of topics related to trends in education—particularly teaching and learning in higher education—that are impacted by technology. Learn more at

WCET is the leader in the practice, policy, & advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET is a national, member-driven, non-profit which brings together colleges and universities, higher education organizations and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of e-learning programs. Visit

The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting. Visit

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

By Brianna Radicioni,, (781) 239-4548 | 12/15/2017 03:00