Aug 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

New results from a recent study show that despite the "anywhere" appeal of online learning, most students stick close to home.

Forbes recently reported on the May 2018 report, Online College Students 2018published by The Learning House and Aslanian Market Research.

The report explained that about two-thirds of online undergraduates took online classes within 50 miles from their school campus. About 45 percent studied online within 25 miles of their campus, and 78 percent of online students enrolled at a school within 100 miles from their home.

Only 8 percent of all undergraduate college students take classes over 250 miles from their campuses. 

Forbes quotes Learning House CEO Todd Zipper: "It’s an important point to understand. Many people may think of online programs as amorphous, everywhere things but they are actually closely connected to the schools and the campuses – both in the minds of students and in reality.”


The report speculates that online students stay close to home because it “may be that students and their employers are familiar with and value these schools.” 

Another reason posits that online students may need to use the resources on their campus. The report said that "76 percent [of online students] visit their campus at least once a year, and 45% do so three or more times per year.” Why? To "meet face-to-face with a teacher (40%)." About a third said that they went to the campus to use the library or lab, or to meet with a study group.  

Zipper explained that the fear of global online schools taking local students away may not be so bad. He said,  “There is and will be competition for online students. If a local school does not offer the flexible, quality online options a student needs, they will look for those elsewhere. But the strong pull of online students to want local, on-campus resources means that local schools can keep their students and even expand their enrollments with good, flexible online programs.”

Learn more about online studies. 


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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