High gas prices spurring enrollment in distance education?

The NY Times finds that

…thousands of students nationwide, including many who were previously reluctant to study online, have suddenly decided to take one or more college classes over the Internet.

“Gas prices have pushed people over the edge,” said Georglyn Davidson, director of online learning at Bucks County Community College, where Mr. Gibbons studies, and where online enrollments are up 35 percent this summer over last year.

The vast majority of the nation’s 15 million college students — at least 79 percent — live off campus, and with gas prices above $4 a gallon, many are seeking to cut commuting costs by studying online. Colleges from Massachusetts and Florida to Texas to Oregon have reported significant online enrollment increases for summer sessions, with student numbers in some cases 50 percent or 100 percent higher than last year. Although some four-year institutions with large online programs — like the University of Massachusetts and Villanova — have experienced these increases, the greatest surges have been registered at two-year community colleges, where most students are commuters, many support families and few can absorb large new expenditures for fuel.

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One response to “High gas prices spurring enrollment in distance education?

  1. I’ve seen numerous articles like this in the past 2-3 weeks as well.

    I wonder how this online enrollment aligns with the regular enrollment of students? Has the surge in online enrollment simply offset the number of students who would have taken courses at each school, or has this surge actually increased the number of students taking courses through the summer? In essence, has the online surge actually offered any increase to these schools or simply shift the revenue stream online?