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Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001
NCES 2003017
July 2003

Selected Findings

This report presents key findings from the survey Distance Education at Higher Education Institutions: 2000–2001. The findings are organized as follows:

  • institutions offering distance education courses;
  • enrollments and course offerings;
  • degree and certificate programs;
  • distance education technologies;
  • participation in distance education consortia;
  • accommodations for students with disabilities;
  • distance education program goals; and
  • factors keeping institutions from starting or expanding distance education offerings.

Institutions Offering Distance Education Courses

Institutions indicated whether they offered any distance education courses during the 12-month 2000–2001 academic year. Institutions that did not offer distance education indicated whether they planned to offer distance education in the next 3 years (2001–02 through 2003–04), and whether they had offered any distance education in the previous 5 years (1995–2000). In addition, all institutions indicated whether they offered any distance education courses during the 2001–02 academic year (i.e., the year of the survey administration).

  • Fifty-six percent of all 2-year and 4-year Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions offered distance education courses in 2000–2001, representing an estimated 2,320 institutions (figure 1 and table 1). Twelve percent of all institutions indicated that they planned to start offering distance education courses in the next 3 years, and 31 percent of the institutions did not offer distance education courses in 2000–2001 and did not plan to offer these types of courses in the next 3 years.
  • Public institutions were more likely than private institutions to offer distance education courses in 2000–2001 (table 1). Ninety percent of public 2-year and 89 percent of public 4-year institutions offered distance education courses, compared with 16 percent of private 2-year and 40 percent of private 4-year institutions.
  • Among private institutions, 23 percent of private 2-year and 16 percent of private 4-year institutions planned to start offering distance education in the next 3 years; 62 percent of private 2-year and 44 percent of private 4-year institutions reported that they do not plan to start offering distance education courses in the next 3 years (table 1).
  • Large and medium-sized institutions were more likely than small institutions to offer distance education courses (95 and 88 percent vs. 41 percent, respectively) (table 1). Forty-three percent of small institutions reported that they did not offer distance education courses in 2000–2001 and did not have plans to start offering distance education courses in the next 3 years.
  • Fifty-nine percent of all the institutions indicated that they offered distance education courses in the 2001–02 academic year (i.e., the year of the survey administration) (table 2), an increase of 3 percentage points from the previous year. Five percent of institutions that did not offer distance education courses in 2000–2001 indicated that they had offered these courses within the previous 5 years (1995–2000).3

Type and Level of Distance Education Offerings

Institutions indicated what type of distance education courses they offered and at what level these courses were offered in 2000–2001. Distance education courses for all levels and audiences include courses designed for all types of students, including elementary and secondary, college, adult education, continuing and professional education, etc. College-level, credit-granting courses include only courses designed for college students at the undergraduate or graduate/first-professional level,4 and for which college credits are awarded for completion.

  • Among all 2- and 4-year institutions, 56 percent offered distance education courses for any level or audience (tables 1 and 3). Distance education courses for any level or audience were offered by 57 percent of institutions with undergraduate programs, and by 63 percent of institutions with graduate programs (table 3).5
  • Institutions that offered distance education courses for any level or audience also tended to offer college-level, credit-granting distance education courses. Thus, 55 percent of all 2- and 4-year institutions offered college-level, credit-granting distance education courses at either the undergraduate or graduate/first-professional level (table 3). College-level, credit-granting distance education courses at either level were offered by 57 percent of institutions that had any undergraduate programs, and by 62 percent of institutions that had any graduate/firstprofessional programs.
  • College-level, credit-granting distance education courses were offered at the undergraduate level by 48 percent of all institutions, by 52 percent of the institutions that had undergraduate programs, and by 44 percent of the institutions that had graduate/first-professional programs (table 3).
  • College-level, credit-granting distance education courses were offered at the graduate/firstprofessional level by 22 percent of all institutions (table 3). Distance education courses at this level were offered by 20 percent of institutions that had undergraduate programs, and by 52 percent of institutions that had graduate/first-professional programs.

Enrollments and Course Offerings

Institutions were asked about the number of distance education enrollments and course offerings during the 12-month 2000–2001 academic year. Institutions reported the number of distance education courses and enrollments for all levels and audiences, the number of courses and enrollments for all college-level, credit-granting courses, and the number of courses and enrollments at the undergraduate and graduate/first-professional levels.

Enrollment in Distance Education Courses

Institutions reported the total enrollment in all distance education courses and the enrollment in college-level, credit-granting distance education courses, both overall and by course level (i.e., undergraduate or graduate/first-professional). If a student was enrolled in multiple courses, institutions were instructed to count the student for each course in which he or she was enrolled. Thus, enrollments may include duplicated counts of students.

  • In the 12-month 2000–2001 academic year, there were an estimated 3,077,000 enrollments in all distance education courses offered by 2- and 4-year institutions (table 4).6 There were an estimated 2,876,000 enrollments in college-level, credit-granting distance education courses, with 82 percent of these at the undergraduate level (figure 2 and table 4).
  • Consistent with the distributions of institutions that offered distance education courses, most of the distance education course enrollments were in public 2-year and public 4-year institutions. Public 2-year institutions had the greatest number of enrollments in distance education courses, with 48 percent of the total enrollments in distance education (figure 3 and table 4). Public 4- year institutions had 31 percent of the total, and private 4-year institutions had 19 percent of the total.7 This distribution by institutional type was similar for the number of distance education course enrollments in all college-level, credit-granting courses, and for distance education course enrollments at the undergraduate level. At the graduate/first-professional level, public 4-year institutions had a larger number of enrollments than did private 4-year institutions (60 percent compared with 40 percent).
  • About half of the institutions that offered distance education courses in 2000–2001 had 500 or fewer enrollments in those courses; 22 percent had 100 or fewer enrollments (figure 4 and table 5). The distribution is similar for enrollments in college-level, credit-granting distance education courses.

Number of Distance Education Courses

Institutions reported the total number of different distance education courses and the total number of different college-level, credit-granting distance education courses, both overall and by course level (i.e., undergraduate or graduate/first-professional). If a course had multiple sections or was offered multiple times during the academic year, institutions were instructed to count it as only one course.

  • An estimated 127,400 different distance education courses for any level or audience were offered by 2- and 4-year institutions during the 12-month 2000–2001 academic year (table 6). An estimated 118,100 different college-level, credit-granting distance education courses were offered, with most (76 percent) at the undergraduate level.
  • Consistent with the distributions of institutions that offered distance education courses and the enrollments in these courses, most of the distance education courses were offered by public 2- and 4-year institutions. Public 2-year institutions offered the greatest number of distance education courses, with 55,900 out of 127,400 courses, or 44 percent of the total number of distance education courses (table 6). Public 4-year institutions offered 43,100 courses (34 percent of the total), and private 4-year institutions offered 26,500 courses (21 percent of the total).8 This pattern of variation by institutional type was also similar for all college-level, credit-granting distance education courses and for courses at the undergraduate level. Public 4- year institutions offered more different distance education courses at the graduate/firstprofessional level than did private 4-year institutions (17,600 compared with 9,800).
  • About half of the institutions that offered distance education courses in the 2000–2001 academic year offered 30 or fewer distance education courses; 27 percent offered 10 or fewer courses, and 25 percent offered 11 to 30 courses (figure 5 and table 7). The distribution is similar for the number of college-level, credit-granting courses.

Degree and Certificate Programs

Institutions indicated whether they offered undergraduate and graduate/first-professional degree or certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education, and the number of such programs that they offered during the 2000–2001 academic year.9 Respondents were instructed to include only degree or certificate programs based on credit-granting courses.

Institutions Offering Degree and Certificate Programs

  • In 2000–2001, 19 percent of all 2- and 4-year institutions had degree or certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education (table 8). Among the 56 percent of institutions that offered distance education courses, 34 percent had degree or certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education.
  • Institutions were more likely to offer distance education degree programs than certificate programs. Among the institutions that offered distance education courses in 2000–2001, 30 percent offered degree programs and 16 percent offered certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education (table 8). Among the institutions that had undergraduate programs of any type and offered distance education courses, 21 percent offered undergraduate degree programs through distance education, and 12 percent offered undergraduate certificate programs through distance education. Among the institutions that had any graduate programs and offered distance education, 35 percent offered graduate/firstprofessional degree programs through distance education, and 13 percent offered graduate/firstprofessional certificate programs through distance education.
  • Among institutions that offered distance education courses, public 4-year institutions were more likely to offer degree programs designed to be completed through distance education than private 4-year institutions, which in turn were more likely to offer these type of degree programs than public 2-year institutions (48 percent, 33 percent, and 20 percent, respectively) (table 8). With regard to certificate programs, 25 percent of public 4-year institutions that offered distance education courses had certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education, compared with 15 percent of public 2-year and 14 percent of private 4-year institutions.
  • Among institutions offering distance education courses, large institutions were more likely to offer degree programs designed to be completed totally through distance education than were medium-sized institutions, which in turn were more likely to offer them than were small institutions (47 percent, 34 percent, and 22 percent, respectively) (table 8). Further, large institutions offering distance education courses more often reported that they offered certificate programs designed to be completed totally through distance education than did either mediumsized or small institutions (30 percent compared with 14 and 12 percent, respectively).

Number of Degree and Certificate Programs

  • In 2000–2001, 2- and 4-year institutions offered an estimated 2,810 college-level degree programs that were designed to be completed totally through distance education (table 9). Of these, 1,570 (56 percent) were undergraduate degree programs and 1,240 (44 percent) were graduate/first-professional degree programs.
  • Four-year institutions offered more distance education degree programs than 2-year institutions, with private 4-year institutions offering 1,160 degree programs and public 4-year institutions offering 1,090 degree programs, compared with public 2-year institutions offering 520 degree programs (table 9).
  • Of the 1,090 distance education degree programs at public 4-year institutions, 410 (38 percent) were undergraduate degree programs and 680 (62 percent) were graduate/first-professional degree programs (table 9). For private 4-year institutions, 600 out of 1,160 (52 percent) were undergraduate degree programs and 560 (48 percent) were graduate/first-professional.
  • Institutions reported a total of 1,330 college-level certificate programs that were designed to be completed totally through distance education courses (table 9). Of these, 850 (64 percent) were at the undergraduate level and 470 (35 percent) were at the graduate/first-professional level.
  • For distance education certificate programs, about half were at the undergraduate level for both public 4-year institutions (220 out of 480 or 46 percent) and private 4-year institutions (200 out of 420 or 48 percent) (table 9).

Distance Education Technologies

Institutions indicated the types of technology that were used as a primary mode of instructional delivery for distance education courses in the 12-month 2000–2001 academic year. The institutions also reported their plans for the next 3 years concerning the number of distance education courses expected to be offered using various technologies as the primary mode of instructional delivery. The types of technologies included two-way video with two-way audio (two-way interactive video), one-way video with two-way audio, one-way live video, one-way prerecorded video (including prerecorded videotapes provided to students, and television broadcast and cable transmission using prerecorded video), two-way audio transmission (e.g., audio/phone conferencing), one-way audio transmission (including radio broadcast and prerecorded audiotapes provided to students), Internet courses using synchronous (i.e., simultaneous or "real time") computer-based instruction (e.g., interactive computer conferencing or Interactive Relay Chat), Internet courses using asynchronous (i.e., not simultaneous) computer-based instruction (e.g., e-mail, listservs, and most World Wide Web-based courses), CD-ROM, multi-mode packages (i.e., a mix of technologies that cannot be assigned to a primary mode), and other technologies.

Technologies Used in 2000–2001

  • Among 2- and 4-year institutions offering distance education courses in 2000–2001, the Internet and two of the video technologies were most often used as primary modes of instructional delivery for distance education courses. The majority of these institutions (90 percent) reported that they offered Internet courses using asynchronous computer-based instruction as a primary mode of instructional delivery (table 10). In addition, 51 percent reported using two-way video with two-way audio, 43 percent offered Internet courses using synchronous computer-based instruction, and 41 percent used one-way prerecorded video as a primary mode of instructional delivery for distance education courses.10
  • Twenty-nine percent of institutions offering distance education courses used CD-ROM as a primary mode of instructional delivery, and 19 percent of institutions used multi-mode packages (table 10). The remaining technologies were used as a primary mode of instructional delivery by 3 to 11 percent of these institutions.
  • Use of the various technologies as a primary mode of instructional delivery for distance education courses showed some variation by institutional type (table 10). For example, twoway video with two-way audio was used as a primary mode of instructional delivery more often by public 4-year (80 percent) than public 2-year (60 percent) or private 4-year institutions (22 percent), and by public 2-year more often than private 4-year institutions. Use of multimode packages followed this same pattern of differences. One-way prerecorded video showed a somewhat different pattern by institutional type. Public 2-year institutions were more likely to use one-way prerecorded video than were either public or private 4-year institutions (57 percent compared with 40 percent and 24 percent), and public 4-year institutions were more likely to use this mode of delivery than were private 4-year institutions. Internet courses using synchronous computer-based instruction were more likely to be used as a primary mode of instructional delivery by public 4-year (55 percent) than by public 2-year (40 percent) or private 4-year institutions (35 percent), while Internet courses using asynchronous computerbased instruction were more likely to be used as a primary mode of delivery by public 2-year (95 percent) than by public 4-year (87 percent) or private 4-year institutions (86 percent).

Plans for Use of Technologies

Institutions that offered distance education in 2000–2001 or that planned to offer distance education in the next 3 years indicated their plans concerning the number of distance education courses that would be offered using the various technologies as a primary mode of instructional delivery.

  • Eighty-eight percent of the institutions indicated plans to start using or increase the number of Internet courses using asynchronous computer-based instruction as a primary mode of instructional delivery for distance education courses (table 11). Sixty-two percent of institutions planned to start using or increase the number of Internet courses using synchronous computer-based instruction as a primary mode of delivery, 40 percent planned to start using or increase the number of courses using two-way video with two-way audio, 39 percent planned to start using or increase the number of courses using CD-ROMs, and 31 percent planned to start using or increase the number of courses using multi-mode packages. About a quarter (23 percent) planned to start using or increase the number of courses using one-way prerecorded video. From 5 to 13 percent of institutions had plans to start using or increase the number of courses using the other listed technologies.
  • Thirteen percent of institutions indicated that they planned to keep the same number of courses using two-way video with two-way audio, while 4 percent reported plans to reduce the number of courses with this technology (table 11). For one-way prerecorded video, a similar pattern was observed. Fifteen percent of institutions indicated that they planned to keep the same number of courses using one-way prerecorded video, and 6 percent planned to reduce the number of courses using this technology.
  • Institutions that offered distance education in 2000–2001 were more likely than institutions that planned to start offering distance education in the next 3 years to indicate that they planned to start using or increase the number of courses using two-way video with two-way audio (43 percent compared to 26 percent) and multi-mode packages (35 percent compared to 14 percent) (table 12).

Participation in Distance Education Consortia

Institutions indicated whether they participated in any type of distance education consortia (a cooperative arrangement among institutions), and if so, the types of consortia in which they participated: system (e.g., within a single university system or community college district), state (i.e., within a single state), regional (i.e., multi-state), national, and international.

  • Sixty percent of 2- and 4-year institutions that offered distance education courses in 2000–2001 reported participating in some type of distance education consortium in 2002 (table 13). Of those institutions that participated in any consortia, 75 percent indicated that they participated in a state consortium and 50 percent participated in a system consortium (figure 6 and table 13).
  • Public 2-year institutions were more likely than public 4-year institutions, which in turn were more likely than private 4-year institutions to participate in a distance education consortium (83 percent, 68 percent, and 25 percent, respectively) (table 13).
  • Participation in vario us types of consortia differed by institutional type. Participation in a system consortium was reported more often by public 4-year (62 percent) than by public 2-year (49 percent) or private 4-year institutions (30 percent), and more often by public 2-year than by private 4-year institutions (table 13). Participation in a state consortium was reported more often by public 2-year (87 percent) than by public 4-year (67 percent) or private 4-year (56 percent) institutions, and by public 4-year more often than private 4-year institutions. Public 4- year institutions were more likely than public 2-year institutions to participate in regional consortia and international consortia (30 vs. 23 percent, and 9 vs. 2 percent, respectively). Participation in a national consortium was most likely to be reported by private 4-year institutions (37 percent) compared with public 4-year (20 percent) and public 2-year institutions (6 percent) and least likely to be reported by public 2-year institutions.
  • The size of the institution was related to participation in distance education consortia. Large institutions were more likely to participate in distance education consortia than medium institutions, which in turn were more likely to participate than small institutions (78 percent, 67 percent, and 48 percent, respectively) (table 13). Large institutions were more likely than medium institutions to participate in regional consortia (33 percent compared with 25 percent), and more likely than either medium or small institutions to participate in national consortia (21 percent compared with 12 and 13 percent, respectively) or international consortia (9 percent compared with 3 and 3 percent, respectively).

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Institutions that offered distance education were asked to indicate how often in the last 3 years they had received requests to provide accommodations for students with disabilities in their distance education courses.11 In addition, institutions indicated the extent to which their web sites for distance education courses followed established accessibility guidelines or recommendations for users with disabilities (e.g., guidelines/recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education or the World Wide Web Consortium).

Requests to Provide Accommodations

  • Forty-five percent of 2- and 4-year institutions that offered distance education courses in 2000– 2001 had occasionally received requests in the last 3 years to provide accommodations for students with disabilities in distance education courses (table 14). Thirty-seven percent reported never receiving this type of request in the last 3 years, 15 percent did not know if they had received requests for accommodations, and 3 percent had received requests frequently.
  • Public institutions were more likely than private institutions to occasionally receive requests to provide accommodations for students with disabilities in distance education courses. Fifty-two percent of public 2-year and 49 percent of public 4-year institutions reported occasionally receiving requests, compared with 35 percent of private 4-year institutions (table 14). About half (51 percent) of private 4-year institutions had never received requests for accommodations, compared with 29 and 30 percent of public 4-year and 2-year institutions.
  • The likelihood of receiving requests to provide accommodations for students with disabilities in distance education courses increased with institutional size, with 59 percent of large, 49 percent of medium, and 37 percent of small institutions reporting occasionally having received requests for accommodations in the last 3 years, while 48 percent of small, 32 percent of medium, and 18 percent of large institutions reported never receiving such requests in the last 3 years (table 14).

Web Site Accessibility

  • Almost all (95 percent) of the 2- and 4-year institutions that offered distance education courses in 2000–2001 indicated that they had used web sites for their distance education courses (table 15). Of the institutions that had used web sites for distance education courses, 18 percent indicated that they followed established accessibility guidelines or recommendation for users with disabilities to a major extent, 28 percent followed the guidelines to a moderate extent, 18 percent followed the guidelines to a minor extent, 3 percent did not follow the guidelines at all, and 33 percent did not know if the web sites followed accessibility guidelines.
  • Public institutions were more likely than private institutions to follow accessibility guidelines to a major extent. Twenty-two percent of public 4-year and 20 percent of public 2-year institutions followed these guidelines to a major extent, compared with 11 percent of private 4- year institutions (table 15). Private 4-year institutions indicated more often than either public 2-year or public 4-year institutions that they did not know whether their web sites for distance education courses followed accessibility guidelines (42 percent vs. 28 and 23 percent, respectively).
  • Large institutions were more likely than medium institutions, which in turn were more likely than small institutions to indicate that their web sites followed accessibility guidelines to a major extent (30 percent, 19 percent, and 12 percent, respectively) (table 15). The same pattern by institutional size was present for those that indicated the web sites followed accessibility guidelines to a moderate extent (37 percent, 32 percent, and 22 percent, respectively).

Distance Education Program Goals

Institutions that offered distance education were asked to report on the importance of various goals to their distance education program, and the extent to which the distance education program had met those goals it considered somewhat or very important. Goals included reducing the institution's perstudent costs, making educational opportunities more affordable for students, increasing institution enrollments, increasing student access by reducing time constraints for course taking, increasing student access by making courses available at convenient locations, increasing the institution's access to new audiences, improving the quality of course offerings, and meeting the needs of local employers.

  • A majority of the institutions that offered distance education in 2000–2001 indicated that increasing student access in various ways were very important goals to their institution's distance education program. Sixty-nine percent of the institutions that offered distance education courses indicated that increasing student access by making courses available at convenient locations was very important, and 67 percent reported that increasing access by reducing time constraints for course taking was very important (table 16). In addition, 36 percent reported that making educational opportunities more affordable for students, another aspect of student access, was a very important goal for their distance education program.
  • On issues related to institutional enrollment and cost, 65 percent of institutions offering distance education indicated that increasing the institution's access to new audiences was very important, 60 percent reported that increasing the institution's enrollments was very important, and 15 percent reported that reducing the institution's per-student costs was very important (table 16). In addition, improving the quality of course offerings was considered to be an important goal by 57 percent of the institutions, and meeting the needs of local employers was rated as very important by 37 percent of the institutions.
  • In general, institutions reported that most of the goals they considered to be important were being met to a moderate or major extent (table 16). Increasing student access by making courses available at convenient locations was reported to have been met to a major extent by 37 percent of institutions that considered it an important goal, and increasing student access by reducing time constraints for course taking was reported to have been met to a major extent by 32 percent of institutions that considered it an important goal.
  • The importance of various goals varied by institutional type. Public 2-year institutions were more likely than either public or private 4-year institutions to report that the following goals were very important to their distance education program: making educational opportunities more affordable for students (46 percent compared with 36 and 26 percent), increasing student access by reducing time constraints for course taking (73 percent compared with 66 and 61 percent), improving the quality of course offerings (66 percent vs. 53 and 53 percent,), and meeting the needs of local employers (50 percent vs. 31 and 27 percent) (table 17). In addition, public 2-year institutions were more likely than public 4-year institutions to report that increasing institution enrollments was a very important goal for their distance education program (64 percent vs. 58 percent).
  • Institutions that reported that a particular goal was very important to their distance education program more often indicated that the goal had been met to a major extent compared with institutions that reported the goal was somewhat important, while institutions that reported a goal as somewhat important more frequently indicated that the goal had been met to a minor extent compared with institutions that rated the goal as very important (table 18). For example, of the institutions that indicated that increasing student access by reducing time constraints for course taking was a very important goal, 43 percent had met that goal to a major extent, compared with 8 percent of institutions that indicated the goal was somewhat important. In contrast, 44 percent of institutions reporting that this was a somewhat important goal met the goal to a minor extent, compared with 15 percent that indicated the goal was very important.

Factors That Keep Institutions From Starting or Expanding Distance Education Offerings

All institutions, including those with no future plans to offer distance education courses, were asked to rate the extent to which each of 15 factors was keeping them from starting or expanding their distance education course offerings. The response categories were "not at all," "minor extent," "moderate extent," and "major extent." These responses were then examined by distance education program status, that is, by whether an institution offered distance education courses, or whether the institution planned to offer these courses in the next 3 years.

  • Institutions did not consider most of the listed factors to be keeping them from starting or expanding their distance education course offerings. For example, factors to which institutions frequently responded "not at all" included inability to obtain state authorization (86 percent), lack of support from institution administrators (65 percent), restrictive federal, state, or local policies (65 percent), lack of fit with institution's mission (60 percent), lack of access to library or other resources for instructional support (58 percent), interinstitutional issues (57 percent), legal concerns (57 percent), and lack of perceived need (55 percent) (table 19).
  • Program development costs were perceived by 26 percent of institutions to be keeping them from starting or expanding distance education course offerings to a major extent (table 19). Other factors were reported as keeping the institution from starting or expanding distance education to a major extent by 1 percent to 17 percent of the institutions.
  • Distance education program status was related to the extent to which some factors were perceived to be keeping institutions from starting or expanding their distance education course offerings. For institutions that did not plan to offer distance education in the next 3 years, factors perceived as keeping them from starting distance education to a major extent included lack of fit with the institution's mission (44 percent), lack of perceived need (22 percent), program development costs (33 percent), limited technological infrastructure to support distance education (24 percent), and concerns about course quality (26 percent) (table 20). Except for program development costs, these factors were generally not perceived to be limiting the expansion of distance education courses to a major extent for institutions that offered distance education in 2000–2001, with 3 to 9 percent of institutions offering distance education reporting major extent ratings for these factors. Program development costs were perceived to be a factor limiting the expansion of distance education courses to a major extent by 22 percent of the institutions that offered distance education in 2000–2001. However, program development costs were perceived as a limiting factor to a major extent more often by institutions that did not plan to offer than by institutions that offered distance education (33 percent vs. 22 percent).


3 Data not shown in tables (standard error = 0.9).

4 First-professional degrees are awarded after completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the following professions: chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.); dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.); law (L.L.B. or J.D.); medicine (M.D.); optometry (O.D.); osteopathic medicine (D.O.); pharmacy (Pharm. D.); podiatry (D.P.M., D.P., or Pod. D.); theology (M. Div., M.H.L., B.D., or Ordination); or veterinary medicine (D.V.M.) (Knapp et al. 2001).

5 Institutions can be characterized by whether they have any undergraduate programs or graduate/first -professional programs (either on campus or distance education). These programs are identified by the 2000 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, "Institutional Characteristics Survey" (IPEDS–IC:2000). These programs, as identified by IPEDS, should not be confused with the level of distance education course offerings. Of the estimated 4,130 Title IV degree-granting institutions at the 2-year or 4-year level, 3,810 institutions have undergraduate programs, and 1,700 have graduate/first -professional programs; 1,380 of the institutions have progr ams at both levels.

6 To put these numbers into context, NCES estimates that there were 15.3 million students enrolled in 2- and 4-year degree-granting postsecondary education institutions in fall 2000. It is important to remember that the distance educat ion enrollments collected in the PEQIS survey may include duplicated counts of students, while the NCES estimate of 15.3 million students enrolled is an unduplicated count of students. Information about total course enrollments at postsecondary institutions is not available for comparison to the PEQIS distance education course enrollments (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), spring 2001. Available: http://www.nces.ed.gov/quicktables/).

7 Data for private 2-year institutions are not reported in a separate category because too few private 2-year institutions in the sample offered distance education courses in 2000–2001 to make reliable estimates. Data for private 2-year institutions are included in the totals and in analyses by other institutional characteristics.

8 Data for private 2-year institutions are not reported in a separate category because too few private 2-year institutions in the sample offered distance education courses in 2000–2001 to make reliable estimates. Data for private 2-year institutions are included in the totals and in analyses by other institutional characteristics. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding, missing data, or because too few cases were reported for a reliable estimate for private 2-year institutions. (See appendix A for details.)

9 Degree programs are programs that offer an associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctor's, or first-professional degree. College-level certificate programs are programs that offer post-baccalaureate, post-master's, or first-professional certificates, or certificates of at least 2 but less than 4 years in length (Knapp et al. 2001). Examples of these types of certificate programs include a post -baccalaureate certificate in special education or curriculum and instruction, a post -master's certificate in educational supervision, or a first-professional certificate in optometry or dentistry. Examples of certificate programs that are at least 2 years but less than 4 years in length include cosmetology, nursing, and electrician.

10 Percentages sum to more than 100 because institutions could use different types of technologies as primary modes of instructional delivery for different distance education courses.

11 Postsecondary institutions are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities upon request by the student.

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