Press Release

Distance Learning Continues to Grow at U.S. Higher Educational Institutions while the Number of On-Campus Students was Already Declining Pre-Pandemic
Data Reported for Fall 2019 Shows Higher Educational Enrollment Declined 1.1 Million from Fall 2012, while the Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Courses Grew by 2 Million

Oakland, CA April 16, 2021 – The latest reports from Bay View Analytics, based on U.S. Department of Education IPEDS data, show enrollments at degree-granting higher education institutions declined 5.0% for Fall 2019 compared to 2012. Undergraduate student enrollment dropped by 6.8% for this period, while the number of graduate students grew by 5.7%. Students studying at a distance increased by 33%, and the number of national institutions offering distance courses increased by 9.8%.  1.9 million fewer students were studying on-campus in Fall 2019 than in 2012.

Not all institutions were equally prepared to switch to remote instruction during the pandemic. Those with no or minimal online programs would need to build out all of their online support systems, while those with substantial online enrollments could expand their existing systems. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of institutions were not prepared. However, the large majority of students (87%) were enrolled at institutions better prepared to transition to distance learning.

“With eight years of longitudinal data, these reports show the trends in online education overall and at the state level. This report also provides a definitive benchmark for measuring the impact of the pandemic,” said Dr. Julia Seaman, Research Director of Bay View Analytics. “However, there is a wide range across states for institutions offering distance enrollment, from New Hampshire with 71.7% students taking any distance course to Rhode Island with only 15.4%, and that may have provided vastly different experiences depending on where a student was enrolled.”

The 2019 Distance Learning Almanac, published by Bay View Analytics with support from Online Learning Consortium and Pearson, describes the current state and trends from 2012 on overall student enrollment across institutions nationally and within states. The report details the trend in enrollment for students taking at least one distance course and students who are exclusively distant.

The complete reports are available at as a full national compendium and individual reports for all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

About Bay View Analytics

Bay View Analytics is a statistical research firm focusing on survey design, implementation, and analysis. Formerly known as the Babson Survey Research Group, the scope of Bay View Analytics’ consulting engagements includes scientific statistical analyses, clinical trial statistics, and survey designs for a range of topics, with a particular focus on online education. Bay View Analytics has been conducting research and publishing annual reports on the state of online education in U.S. higher education for thirteen years. Visit for more information.

About Online Learning Consortium

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including, best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. Visit for more information.

About Pearson

We are the world’s leading learning company with more than 22,500 employees operating in 70 countries. We provide content, assessment and digital services to learners, educational institutions, employers, governments and other partners globally. We are committed to helping equip learners with the skills they need to enhance their employability prospects and to succeed in the changing world of work. We believe that wherever learning flourishes so do people. Visit

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