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Illinois and Missouri Colleges Respond to Dropping Enrollment Rates with Online Degree Offerings

Getting an online education is no longer the novel pursuit it once was. Recent data prove this: Close to 30 percent of higher education students are enrolled in at least one online course. As online schooling becomes mainstream and its value for adult students is made increasingly apparent, a greater number of higher education institutions are now offering online degree options to reach students.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in regions like Illinois and Missouri, where online courses are being offered to help offset flagging enrollment rates—which have dropped 8.7 and 6.1 percent, respectively.

Meeting the needs of today’s “new normal” students, CAEL’s Beth Doyle believes that offering online education opportunities will serve as a boon for institutions looking to attracting the growing population of adult learners.  

“A lot of colleges look at (the growing number of nontraditional students) as a market opportunity, and they see online as a way of achieving that,” Doyle told St. Louis Public Radio’s Ryan Delaney. 

Though now well established as a viable alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom experience, online schooling still has its detractors. Yet as both the population of adult students and number of colleges that offer online courses continue to grow, it’s clear that online learning serves as a practical solution for students who balance full-time work and efforts toward degree or credential completion. 

To read the full article and/or listen to the interview from St. Louis Public Radio, click here.


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