11% of Undergrads Take Distance Education Courses Exclusively, Latest Condition of Education Report Co-Written by AIR Finds

Washington, D.C. – The Condition of Education 2014, the latest edition of a congressionally mandated annual report on the developments and trends in all levels of U.S. education, finds that about 11 percent of undergraduates take distance education courses exclusively. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) played a major role in producing the report, which is published by the National Center for Education Statistics and submitted to Congress and the President of the United States.

The 2014 report is the first in this series that looks at distance education, which uses one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor, such as online course-taking, audio-conferencing, or DVDs and CD-ROMs.  Using data from 2012—the latest available—the authors found that 4.6 million undergraduate students participated in distance education, with 2 million taking distance education courses exclusively. The share of students who exclusively took online distance education courses was higher for those enrolled at private for-profit institutions (46 percent) than for those at either public (8 percent) or private nonprofit institutions (10 percent).

This year’s report reflects trends in achievement in reading and mathematics, in high school graduation rates, in rates of immediate transition to college, and in economic outcomes of graduates. The report presents 42 indicators in four main areas: population characteristics; participation in education; elementary and secondary education; and postsecondary education.

Other notable findings include:

  • In 2012, the percentage of children under 18 living in poverty was highest for black children (39 percent) and lowest for white children (13 percent) and Asian children (14 percent).
  • Ninety percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had received at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, and 34 percent had earned a bachelor’s or more advanced degree in 2013.
  • The percentage of public school students who were English language learners was higher in school year 2011–12 (9.1 percent) than in 2002–03 (8.7 percent).
  • In school year 2011–12, about 81 percent of public high school students graduated on time. Asians/Pacific Islanders had the highest graduation rate (93 percent), followed by whites (85 percent), Hispanics (76 percent), and American Indians/Alaska Natives and blacks (68 percent for each group).
  • For first-time, full-time college students in 2011-12, the average net price (total cost minus grants) of attendance was $12,410 at public, in-state four-year institutions; $21,330 at private for-profit four-year institutions; and $23,540 at private nonprofit four-year institutions.
  • About 59 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution in fall 2006 completed coursework within six years. The graduation rate for women was 61 percent compared with 56 percent for men.
  • From academic years 2006–07 to 2011–12, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at four-year degree-granting institutions receiving any financial aid increased from 75 percent to 85 percent.
  • Of the 4.7 million students who entered the repayment phase on their student loans in fiscal year 2011, about 10 percent defaulted before the end of fiscal year 2012.
  • Average annual student loan amounts for first-time, full-time undergraduate students enrolled in student aid programs also increased 36 percent between 2000–01 and 2011–12: from $5,000 to $6,800, after adjusting for inflation.
  • For young adults (25 to 34 years old) working full time, higher educational attainment was associated with higher median earnings. For example, in 2012, young adults with bachelor’s degrees earned more than twice as much as those without a high school credential ($46,900 compared with $22,900).
  • The median of earnings for young adult men (25 to 34 years old) was higher than the median for young adult women at every education level. For example, in 2012 men with a bachelor’s degree earned $50,000, while their female counterparts earned $42,900.

AIR experts worked with data from complex survey designs, conducted statistical analysis and testing, wrote key findings, and authored many of the indicators found in the report. AIR also developed tools to centralize communication among the report’s authors and reviewers. AIR has co-written the Condition of Education reports since 2000.

To read The Condition of Education 2014, visit http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe.

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit www.air.org.


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