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Digest of Education Statistics
2019 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest


Table 311.22. Number and percentage of undergraduate students enrolled in distance education or online classes and degree programs, by selected characteristics: Selected years, 2003-04 through 2015-16
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Selected characteristic Percent of undergraduate students taking distance education or online classes 2015-16
2003-04 2007-08 2011-12 Number of undergraduate students (in thousands) Percent of undergraduate students taking online classes
Total, any distance education classes Entire degree program through distance education1 Total, any distance education classes Entire degree program through distance education1 Total, any online classes Entire degree program is online1 Total, all students Number taking any online classes Total, any online classes Entire degree program is online1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Total 15.6   (0.29) 4.9   (0.17) 20.6   (0.23) 3.8   (0.16) 32.0   (0.33) 6.5   (0.18) 19,308 8,319 43.1   (0.31) 10.8   (0.21)
Sex                                                    
Male 13.6   (0.31) 4.3   (0.19) 18.8   (0.31) 3.4   (0.16) 28.5   (0.45) 4.9   (0.24) 8,406 3,340 39.7   (0.42) 9.2   (0.27)
Female 17.0   (0.40) 5.4   (0.23) 21.9   (0.28) 4.2   (0.22) 34.5   (0.39) 7.7   (0.21) 10,903 4,979 45.7   (0.42) 12.1   (0.28)
                                                     
Race/ethnicity                                                    
White 16.2   (0.33) 5.0   (0.19) 21.9   (0.29) 3.9   (0.19) 33.5   (0.41) 6.8   (0.21) 10,276 4,671 45.5   (0.39) 11.1   (0.27)
Black 14.9   (0.59) 4.9   (0.37) 19.9   (0.66) 5.1   (0.48) 32.7   (0.70) 9.1   (0.56) 3,006 1,278 42.5   (0.72) 14.9   (0.47)
Hispanic 13.4   (0.54) 4.1   (0.27) 16.5   (0.53) 2.7   (0.23) 27.9   (0.57) 4.3   (0.24) 3,723 1,431 38.4   (0.68) 7.7   (0.32)
  Asian 14.0   (0.92) 5.2   (0.58) 18.1   (0.86) 2.9   (0.40) 26.0   (1.06) 2.9   (0.35) 1,399 544 38.9   (1.10) 7.8   (0.63)
  Pacific Islander 19.1   (2.37) 6.9   (1.69) 17.0   (1.89) 1.2 ! (0.53) 29.9   (3.18) 3.1 ! (1.29) 83 35 42.2   (4.02) 12.0   (2.44)
  American Indian/Alaska Native 15.5   (1.85) 6.2   (1.41) 21.9   (2.41) 1.8 ! (0.55) 32.6   (2.56) 7.0   (1.43) 160 76 47.5   (3.08) 12.2   (1.71)
  Two or more races 16.5   (1.33) 5.1   (1.16) 20.4   (1.08) 3.6   (0.86) 30.6   (1.48) 5.5   (0.69) 661 283 42.8   (1.39) 10.4   (0.89)
                                                     
Age                                                    
15 to 23 11.7   (0.26) 3.1   (0.13) 15.2   (0.22) 1.4   (0.09) 26.5   (0.36) 3.2   (0.13) 11,368 4,157 36.6   (0.38) 3.5   (0.13)
24 to 29 18.4   (0.46) 6.7   (0.41) 25.7   (0.56) 5.6   (0.45) 36.5   (0.67) 8.0   (0.41) 3,536 1,793 50.7   (0.69) 17.5   (0.52)
30 or older 22.4   (0.65) 8.3   (0.42) 30.0   (0.55) 9.0   (0.40) 40.9   (0.64) 13.0   (0.50) 4,404 2,369 53.8   (0.58) 24.9   (0.58)
                                                     
Attendance status                                                    
  Full-time, full-year2 12.7   (0.32) 3.8   (0.20) 16.7   (0.33) 3.2   (0.29) 28.8   (0.41) 6.5   (0.20) 7,239 2,789 38.5   (0.44) 6.0   (0.28)
  Part-time only, for only part of year 18.7   (0.46) 6.9   (0.32) 24.8   (0.39) 5.2   (0.22) 35.3   (0.62) 7.4   (0.38) 5,059 2,398 47.4   (0.62) 14.7   (0.44)
  Mixed attendance status3 17.4   (0.53) 4.7   (0.23) 22.5   (0.42) 2.9   (0.20) 35.0   (0.62) 5.0   (0.28) 7,010 3,131 44.7   (0.47) 13.2   (0.38)
                                                     
Undergraduate field of study                                                    
Business/management 18.7   (0.58) 7.0   (0.43) 24.2   (0.55) 6.4   (0.45) 39.3   (0.75) 11.4   (0.45) 2,973 1,525 51.3   (0.72) 17.0   (0.67)
Computer/information science 19.5   (0.96) 7.2   (0.71) 26.9   (1.53) 8.4   (1.17) 40.8   (1.37) 9.8   (0.81) 852 415 48.6   (1.60) 16.1   (1.10)
Education 17.1   (0.89) 4.6   (0.45) 22.8   (0.81) 3.2   (0.33) 33.8   (1.17) 6.4   (0.59) 841 384 45.7   (1.35) 9.7   (0.81)
Engineering 12.1   (0.83) 3.3   (0.40) 16.1   (0.77) 2.3   (0.36) 23.2   (0.93) 2.3   (0.48) 1,140 380 33.3   (0.91) 5.1   (0.51)
Health 17.4   (0.48) 5.6   (0.30) 21.9   (0.60) 4.2   (0.33) 33.3   (0.67) 6.7   (0.43) 3,438 1,547 45.0   (0.72) 13.3   (0.53)
Humanities 14.0   (0.53) 3.9   (0.26) 19.7   (0.53) 2.6   (0.22) 30.8   (0.65) 4.1   (0.33) 3,083 1,274 41.3   (0.66) 7.8   (0.40)
Life sciences 11.0   (0.81) 2.7   (0.39) 15.8   (0.68) 1.8   (0.21) 26.7   (0.92) 3.3   (0.37) 1,413 540 38.2   (0.91) 5.0   (0.53)
Mathematics 12.8   (2.48) 3.8 ! (1.42) 15.1   (2.51)   (†) 20.4   (3.02) 2.2 ! (1.05) 118 50 42.2   (3.98) 9.7   (2.80)
Physical sciences 9.8   (2.02) 0.9 ! (0.41) 12.8   (1.56) 0.3 ! (0.16) 22.1   (1.93) 1.2 ! (0.46) 214 70 32.8   (2.45) 2.0 ! (0.67)
Social/behavioral sciences 12.5   (0.63) 3.4   (0.33) 17.1   (0.68) 2.3   (0.31) 31.8   (0.93) 7.0   (0.48) 1,323 556 42.0   (1.05) 9.1   (0.54)
Vocational/technical 13.1   (0.96) 4.2   (0.60) 18.5   (1.26) 3.3   (0.50) 22.3   (1.54) 2.8   (0.59) 594 188 31.7   (1.67) 6.0   (0.75)
Undeclared/no major 15.0   (0.61) 4.6   (0.34) 20.5   (0.56) 3.1   (0.45) 27.6   (1.16) 5.2   (0.81) 449 148 33.0   (1.71) 9.5   (1.12)
Other 14.4   (0.68) 4.3   (0.29) 19.0   (0.69) 3.9   (0.38) 30.5   (0.83) 6.9   (0.50) 2,279 983 43.1   (0.93) 11.4   (0.55)
                                                     
Had job during academic year4                                                    
  Yes 16.8   (0.34) 5.5   (0.22) 22.2   (0.25) 4.2   (0.16) 36.2   (0.42) 7.6   (0.24) 11,812 5,563 47.1   (0.39) 12.9   (0.28)
  No 11.9   (0.32) 3.3   (0.17) 15.8   (0.37) 2.8   (0.25) 24.9   (0.42) 4.8   (0.20) 7,496 2,756 36.8   (0.44) 7.6   (0.25)
                                                     
Dependency status                                                    
Dependent 11.1   (0.24) 2.9   (0.13) 14.4   (0.24) 1.0   (0.08) 25.5   (0.36) 2.7   (0.12) 9,772 3,428 35.1   (0.37) 1.9   (0.10)
  Independent, no dependents,                                                    
not married5 15.6   (0.50) 5.1   (0.37) 23.6   (0.56) 4.8   (0.30) 33.6   (0.64) 6.7   (0.33) 3,978 1,840 46.2   (0.69) 14.9   (0.45)
  Independent, no dependents, married 19.6   (0.78) 6.9   (0.52) 28.6   (0.96) 7.2   (0.84) 37.4   (1.22) 10.1   (0.72) 953 528 55.4   (1.30) 20.8   (1.09)
  Independent, with dependents,                                                    
not married5 20.5   (0.70) 6.9   (0.49) 25.3   (0.61) 7.4   (0.52) 38.2   (0.67) 10.7   (0.45) 2,618 1,375 52.5   (0.80) 22.9   (0.74)
  Independent, with dependents, married 25.1   (0.79) 9.7   (0.53) 32.9   (0.71) 9.4   (0.51) 44.9   (0.92) 14.7   (0.75) 1,987 1,148 57.8   (0.89) 27.1   (0.84)
                                                     
Control and level of institution                                                    
Public 16.2   (0.35) 4.7   (0.18) 21.5   (0.25) 2.7   (0.11) 33.2   (0.39) 4.0   (0.16) 14,491 6,362 43.9   (0.37) 6.3   (0.21)
4-year 13.5   (0.54) 3.8   (0.23) 18.4   (0.41) 2.2   (0.19) 32.7   (0.51) 4.3   (0.24) 6,786 2,956 43.6   (0.50) 6.1   (0.40)
2-year 18.2   (0.43) 5.4   (0.25) 23.9   (0.33) 3.1   (0.16) 33.9   (0.54) 3.8   (0.24) 7,640 3,400 44.5   (0.58) 6.6   (0.25)
Less-than-2-year 11.8   (1.19) 3.0   (0.66) 8.1   (1.66) 1.9 ! (0.73) 11.3   (2.24)   (†) 66 6 9.4   (1.89)   (†)
Private nonprofit 12.3   (0.79) 4.1   (0.46) 14.3   (0.43) 2.9   (0.23) 21.0   (0.85) 4.5   (0.57) 2,955 1,060 35.9   (0.68) 17.8   (0.54)
4-year 12.3   (0.83) 4.1   (0.48) 14.2   (0.44) 2.8   (0.23) 21.3   (0.87) 4.6   (0.59) 2,857 1,033 36.2   (0.65) 17.7   (0.47)
2-year 11.2   (2.20) 3.1 ! (1.11) 19.4   (2.30) 5.9   (1.02) 12.7   (3.26) 0.5 ! (0.22) 95 26 27.5 ! (8.33) 21.2 ! (8.99)
Less-than-2-year 17.2   (2.63) 8.1   (1.35) 15.6 ! (4.69) 2.7   (0.66) 13.6 ! (5.68) #   (†) 4 1 28.6   (1.46) 17.0   (2.97)
Private for-profit 15.3   (1.08) 8.6   (1.06) 21.7   (1.18) 12.8   (1.24) 35.5   (0.83) 21.6   (0.82) 1,861 896 48.1   (0.94) 33.5   (1.22)
4-year 26.3   (2.25) 15.6   (2.26) 29.1   (1.95) 19.1   (1.92) 53.0   (1.26) 33.3   (1.30) 1,102 816 74.0   (1.38) 55.0   (1.96)
2-year 12.1   (1.64) 6.3   (1.25) 17.6   (1.49) 8.0   (1.34) 8.4   (1.28) 2.9 ! (1.01) 420 59 14.1   (1.05) 3.0   (0.46)
Less-than-2-year 5.4   (0.26) 1.9   (0.13) 6.2   (0.40) 1.8   (0.28) 3.9   (0.77)   (†) 340 21 6.2   (0.70) 1.1   (0.22)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. Either there are too few cases for a reliable estimate or the coefficient of variation (CV) is 50 percent or greater.
1 Excludes students not in a degree or certificate program.
2 Includes only students enrolled full time for a full academic year (defined as 9 or more months).
3 Includes students enrolled part time for a full academic year as well as students enrolled full time, but for only part of an academic year.
4 Excludes work study/assistantships.
5 Includes separated.
NOTE: In 2011-12 and 2015-16, students were asked whether they took classes that were taught entirely online and, if so, whether their entire degree program was online. In 2003-04 and 2007-08, students were asked about distance education, which was defined in 2007-08 as "primarily delivered using live, interactive audio or videoconferencing, pre-recorded instructional videos, webcasts, CD-ROM, or DVD, or computer-based systems delivered over the Internet." The 2003-04 definition was very similar, with only minor differences in wording. In both years, distance education did not include correspondence courses. Data exclude students attending institutions in Puerto Rico. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2011-12, and 2015-16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, NPSAS:12, and NPSAS:16). (This table was prepared May 2018.)

2019 Tables and Figures All Years of Tables and Figures Most Recent Full Issue of the Digest