A Roadmap to Online College Student Decision Making
Understanding what resonates with the online student will help colleges and universities better serve this growing audience. The third annual research report on past, present and prospective online students reveals how they think about online education.
The “Online College Students 2014: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” report, a joint project of Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, shares the findings of the third annual survey of 1,500 former, current and future online students. This third annual report reveals how students make the decision to earn their degree online, what marketing messages appeal to them, what they want to study, and more.
Some key findings of the Online College Students 2014 report
- Online students are studying further away.
Fifty-four percent of students attend an institution within 100 miles of where they live, showing a three-year trend of students increasingly willing to attend an institution farther from home. (In 2012, 80% reported attending an institution within 100 miles of where they lived. This declined to 69% in 2013.)
- Cost and financial aid important, but not critical.
Although students reported that cost was a primary selection factor when choosing an online degree program, approximately two-thirds of respondents said they did not choose the most inexpensive program. Only 20% said they would not attend an institution if financial aid was not offered, although approximately half said they would need financial aid.
- Job placement messaging resonates.
When given a choice of 18 marketing messages, the overwhelming favorite was “90% job placement.” This makes sense, given that a large majority of students pursuing an online degree are doing so for job-related reasons.
- Transfer credit makes a difference.
Approximately 80% of students have earned credit elsewhere, and those students want to bring that credit with them. Having a clearly defined, generous, and easy-to-navigate transfer credit policy can help institutions stand apart.