One advantage of online learning settings relative to conventional classrooms is their anytime, anywhere accessibility. While online education programs provide students with flexible learning opportunities free from the restrictions of geographic location, a consistently growing number of students who prefer to learn exclusively online still choose nearby colleges. The choice to attend a local college by exclusively online learners is an interesting phenomenon, because most of these students rarely visit campus at any point in the process of obtaining their degrees. This study aims to explain this localized distance student enrollment pattern using Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data and Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data from the fall of 2016. This research uses a multiple regression technique to explain the relationship between institutional factors and localized distance student enrollment patterns in the US. This study utilizes the C2Q (cost, convenience, and quality) model to explain the local orientation of e-learners. The findings show that convenience and quality of education are significantly associated with each local institution’s share of exclusively online learners in the same state.
- online education,
- college choice,
- human capital theory,
Download the article in PDF to read it.
- Abel, J. R., & Deitz, R. (2012). Do colleges and universities increase their region’s human capital? Journal of Economic Geography, 12(3), 667-691. doi: 10.1093/jeg/lbr020
- Bastedo, M. N., & Bowman, N. A. (2010). U.S. News & World Report college rankings: Modeling institutional effects on organizational reputation. American Journal of Education, 116(2), 163-183. doi: 10.1086/649437
- Becker, G. (1964). Human capital (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
- Cao, Y., & Habash, T. (2017, November 8). College complaints unmasked: 99 percent of student fraud claims concern for-profit colleges. The Century Foundation. Retrieved from https://tcf.org/content/report/college-complaints-unmasked/?session=1
- Carr, S. (2000, February 11). As distance education comes of age, the challenge is keeping the students. The Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A39-A41. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Distance-Education-Comes-of/14334
- Chokshi, N. (2014, June 5). Map: The states college kids can’t wait to leave. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/06/05/map-the-states-college-kids-cant-wait-to-leave/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ebe8d77f5e06
- Chronicle of Higher Education. (2012, December). The role of higher education in career development: Employer perceptions. Retrieved from https://chronicle-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/5/items/biz/pdf/Employers%20Survey.pdf
- Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2016). Online college students 2016: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
- Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2017). Online college students 2017: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
- Columbaro, N. L., & Monaghan, C. H. (2009). Employer perceptions of online degrees: A literature review. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(1). Retrieved from https://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring121/columbaro121.html
- Cottom, T. M. (2017). Lower ed: The troubling rise of for-profit colleges in the new economy. New York, NY: The New Press.
- Dache-Gerbino, A. (2016). College desert and oasis: A critical geographic analysis of local college access. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 11(2), 97-116. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000050
- de Souza Briggs, X. (Ed.) (2005). The geography of opportunity: Race and housing choice in metropolitan America. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
- Engstrom, C., & Tinto, V. (2008). Access without support is not opportunity. Change the Magazine of Higher Learning 40(1), 46-50.
- Fishman, R., Ezeugo, E., & Nguyen, S. (2018). Varying degrees 2018: New America’s annual survey on higher education. Washington, DC: New America. Retrieved from https://d1y8sb8igg2f8e.cloudfront.net/documents/Varying_Degrees_2018_Final_PDF.pdf
- Fox, J. (2016). Applied regression analysis and generalized linear models (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Griffith, A. L., & Rothstein, D. S. (2009). Can’t get there from here: The decision to apply to a selective college. Economics of Education Review, 28(5), 620-628. doi: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2009.01.004
- Gujarati, D. N., & Porter, D. C. (2009). Basic econometrics (5th ed.). New York, NY: Mc Graw-Hill Education.
- Hanover Research. (2014). Trends in higher education marketing, recruitment, and technology. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/Trends-in-Higher-Education-Marketing-Recruitment-and-Technology-2.pdf
- Helgesen, Ø. (2008). Marketing for higher education: A relationship marketing approach. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 18(1), 50-78. doi: 10.1080/08841240802100188
- Hillman, N. W. (2016). Geography of college opportunity: The case of education deserts. American Educational Research Journal, 53(4), 987-1021. doi: 10.3102/0002831216653204
- Hlavac, M. (2018). Stargazer : Well-formatted regression and summary statistics tables. R package version 5.2.2. Retrieved from http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=stargazer
- Hossler, D., & Gallagher, K. S. (1987). Studying college choice: A three-phase model and the implications for policy-makers. College and University, 62(3), 207-221.
- Hossler, D., Schmit, J., & Vesper, N. (1999). Going to college: How social, economic, and educational factors influence the decisions students make. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Jaggars, S. S. (2014). Choosing between online and face-to-face courses: Community college student voices. American Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 27-38. doi: 10.1080/08923647.2014.867697
- Jenkins, R. (2011, May 22). Why are so many students still failing online? The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Are-So-Many-Students-Still/127584
- Kizilcec, R., Davis, D., & Wang, E. (2019). Online degree stigma and stereotypes: A new instrument and implications for diversity in higher education. Social Science Research Network (SSRN). doi: 10.2139/ssrn.3339768
- Kim, D., & Rury, J. L. (2011). The rise of the commuter student: Changing patterns of college attendance for students living at home in the United States, 1960-1980. Teachers College Record, 113(5), 1031-1066.
- Kramarae, C. (2001). The third shift: Women learning online. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
- Lansing, J. (2017). A new model of college choice for distance learners. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 45(3), 365-389. doi: 10.1177/0047239516673183
- Lee, Y., & Choi, J. (2011). A review of online course dropout research: Implications for practice and future research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(5), 593-618. doi: 10.1007/s11423-010-9177-y
- Levine, A. (2001). The remaking of the American university. Innovative Higher Education, 25(4), 253-267. doi: 10.1023/a:1011094507049
- Magda, A. J., & Aslanian, C. B. (2018). Online college students 2018: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
- McFarland, J., Hussar, B., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Wang, K., Rathbun, A.,... Mann, F. B. (2018). The condition of education 2018 (NCES 2018-144). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
- McMurtrie, B. (2017, October 23). Controversy at George Washington U. highlights challenges of diving deeply into online education. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/Controversy-at-George/241528
- Mincer, J. (1958). Investment in human capital and personal income distribution. Journal of Political Economy, 66(4), 281-302.
- Ortagus, J. C. (2017). From the periphery to prominence: An examination of the changing profile of online students in American higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 32, 47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.09.002
- Ovink, S., Kalogrides, D., Nanney, M., & Delaney, P. (2018). College match and undermatch: Assessing student preferences, college proximity, and inequality in post-college outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 59(5), 553-590. doi: 10.1007/s11162-017-9482-y
- Patterson, B., & McFadden, C. (2009). Attrition in online and campus degree programs. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 12(2). Retrieved from https://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer122/patterson112.html
- Paulsen, M. B., & St. John, E. P. (2002). Social class and college costs: Examining the financial nexus between college choice and persistence. Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 189-236. doi: 10.1353/jhe.2002.0023
- Perna, L. W. (2006). Studying college access and choice: A proposed conceptual model. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 99-157). Netherlands, Dordrecht: Springer.
- Perna, L. W. (2010). Understanding the working college student: New research and its implications for policy and practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
- Radford, A. W. (2011 ). Learning at a distance: Undergraduate enrollment in distance education courses and degree programs (NCES 2012-154). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
- Radford, A. W., Cominole, M., & Skomsvold, P. (2015). Demographic and enrollment characteristics of nontraditional undergraduates: 2011-2012 Web tables. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
- R Core Team. (2016). R [Computer program]. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Retrieved from https://www.R-project.org
- Rosenbaum, J. E. (1995). Changing the geography of opportunity by expanding residential choice: Lessons from the Gautreaux program. Housing Policy Debate, 6(1), 231-269. doi: 10.1080/10511482.1995.9521186
- Seaman, J. E., Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2018). Grade increase: Tracking distance education in the United States. Oakland, CA: Babson Survey Research Group.
- Shin, J. C., Toutkoushian, R. K., & Teichler, U. (Eds.). (2011). University rankings: Theoretical basis, methodology and impacts on global higher education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
- Tate, W. F. (2008). “Geography of opportunity”: Poverty, place, and educational outcomes. Educational Researcher, 37(7), 397-411. doi: 10.3102/0013189x08326409
- Thomas, S. L., & Zhang, L. (2005). Post-baccalaureate wage growth within four years of graduation: The effects of college quality and college major. Research in Higher Education, 46(4), 437-459. doi: 10.1007/s11162-005-2969-y
- Toutkoushian, R. K., & Paulsen, M. B. (2016). Economics of higher education: Background, concepts, and applications. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
- Toutkoushian, R. K., & Smart, J. C. (2001). Do institutional characteristics affect student gains from college? The Review of Higher Education, 25(1), 39-61. doi: 10.1353/rhe.2001.0017
- Turley, R. N. L. (2009). College proximity: Mapping access to opportunity. Sociology of Education, 82(2), 126-146. doi: 10.1177/003804070908200202
- U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Table 311.15. Number and percentage of students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by distance education participation, location of student, level of enrollment, and control and level of institution: Fall 2015 and fall 2016. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_311.15.asp
- Wessel, D. (2015, June 18). High stakes and a potential standoff over student-loan debt relief. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/06/18/high-stakes-and-a-potential-standoff-over-student-loan-debt-relief/
- Xu, D., & Jaggars, S. S. (2011). The effectiveness of distance education across Virginia’s community colleges: Evidence from introductory college-level math and English courses. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(3), 360-377. doi: 10.3102/0162373711413814