With its public universities struggling to meet student demand, California has become a prime target for out-of-state colleges and universities looking to offset dwindling enrollment numbers by marketing online offerings, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
College enrollment has fallen by about 1.2 million students in less than a decade—a decline expected to continue, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. Online education, meanwhile, is on the upswing, especially among adult learners; about one-third of college students took one or more online courses in 2016.
California an appealing market for colleges’ online degree programs
With a population expected to hit 40 million this year, 2.5 million residents between the ages of 25 and 34, and a growing number of high school graduates, California is especially attractive to colleges looking to grow their online programs. In addition, the state has 180,000 residents affiliated with the military, which encourages online education.
Calling the competition for California students a “feeding frenzy,” the Union-Tribune says San Diego alone is blanketed in advertising for online programs offered by Penn State University, the University of Maryland, Purdue, Arizona State University, Old Dominion University, and Colorado State University, among other schools.
“The state has had difficulty meeting all of the student demand it’s had at its public universities,” Inside Higher Ed editor Scott Jaschik told the Union-Tribune. “There’s a market for this.”