2011 Spotlight

A Closer Look at Postsecondary Education by Institution Level and Control

Use of Resources

The changes in postsecondary undergraduate enrollment by institution level and control have been accompanied by changes in how coursework is delivered. Distance education courses, including those delivered by live, interactive audio or videoconferencing; pre-recorded instructional videos; webcasts; CD-ROM or DVD; and computer-based systems delivered over the Internet, can provide flexible learning opportunities for students. In 200708, about one in five undergraduate students, or 4.3 million, took at least one distance education course (see table A-43-1). However, in that year there were differences between institution controls in the percentages of students taking distance education courses and in the percentages who were completing their entire program through distance education. A lower percentage of students at private not-for-profit institutions (14 percent) took distance education courses than did students at public institutions (22 percent) and private for-profit institutions (21 percent) (see figure CL-2). In addition, at private for-profit institutions, 12 percent of students took their entire program through distance education, which was higher than the percentage who did so at both public and private not-for-profit institutions (3 percent each). Students at private for-profit 4-year institutions had the highest rate of distance course taking (30 percent) of all the institution levels and controls, as well as the highest rate taking their entire program through distance education (19 percent).

Differences in the delivery of education can be associated with how institutions distribute their resources. In 200809, total expenses for degree-granting institutions were $273 billion at public institutions, $141 billion at private not-for-profit institutions, and $16 billion at private for-profit institutions (see table A-50-3). Expenses for instruction were 28, 33, and 24 percent of total expenses, respectively, for public, and private not-for-profit, and private for profit institutions (with per FTE student spending in constant 200910 dollars of $9,418, $15,289, and $2,659, respectively) (see figure CL-3).Student services, academic support and institutional support expenses were 20, 30, and 67 percent of total expenses for public, private not-for-profit and private for-profit institutions (with per FTE student spending of $6,647, $14,118, and $9,101, respectively).