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ERIC Number: ED596296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Mar
Pages: 41
Abstractor: ERIC
The Promises and Limits of Online Higher Education: Understanding How Distance Education Affects Access, Cost, and Quality
Xu, Di; Xu, Ying
American Enterprise Institute
While the supply and demand for online higher education is rapidly expanding, questions remain regarding its potential impact on increasing access, reducing costs, and improving student outcomes. Does online education enhance access to higher education among students who would not otherwise enroll in college? Can online courses create savings for students by reducing funding constraints on postsecondary institutions? Will technological innovations improve the quality of online education? This report finds that, to varying degrees, online education can benefit some student populations. However, important caveats and trade-offs remain. Existing experimental and quasi-experimental studies on semester-length college courses typically find negative effects on student course persistence and performance. Research suggests that students in online courses are between 3 percent and 15 percent more likely to withdraw, compared to similar students in face-to-face classes at community colleges. This report examines distance learning's effect on access, cost, and quality and concludes with a discussion about how strategies and policies can improve the effectiveness of online learning in higher education.
American Enterprise Institute. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A