A Guide on How to Go Back to College: Part Four (Page 4)

Bachelors Programs

It may come as a surprise, but traditional campuses no longer hold forth as the largest system for students pursuing a higher education. In fact, the largest in terms of enrollment is the University of Phoenix, a hybrid program, offering both online and traditional course offerings and degrees. In fact, the University of Phoenix Online Campus’ total enrollment for Fall of 2009 was 380,232 students9 – over 5 times the number of the next largest enrollment. And those students include both traditional and non-traditional students.

Some colleges are more selective in admitting students than others. Many more, however, are not overly selective and admit at least 75% of students who apply. Students earning a bachelors degree, depending on the type and location of institution they attend (online, regional, etc.) vary in terms of on-campus or off-campus living choices. The growth away from attending traditional campuses has less to do with the amenities these colleges provide, and more to do with the flexibility and low-cost that online programs offer. For some students, the ability to take classes anywhere and at anytime is a scheduling must. For others with fewer obligations, a traditional campus can work.

Here are some interesting statistics about 4-year programs:

  • 44% of full-time undergraduate students attend a public 4-year college*
  • 36% of all undergraduate students (including part-time and full-time) attend a public 4-year institutions*10
  • 40% of full-time dependent students at public colleges live on campus11
  • 40% of full-time dependent students at public colleges live in off-campus housing
  • 20% of full-time dependent students at public 4-year colleges live with their parents
  • 70% of full-time dependent students at private nonprofit colleges live on campus
  • 17% of full-time dependent students at private nonprofit colleges live off-campus
  • 12% of full-time dependent students at private nonprofit colleges live with their parents
  • In the past decade (1999-2009) the percentage of all bachelor’s degrees awarded by for-profit institutions increased from 2% to 5% – many of which are online programs12

(*These statistics apply to Fall 2009 for students enrolled at degree-granting institutions)

Choose the Right Program for You

Some students may think college is college. That going back to get your degree is a matter of picking any college, signing up, and starting. In some cases, and at some institutions, it may be that easy to enroll – and just as easy to fail. But at what cost? College should be seen as an investment. The end goal of a college education is to obtain your college degree. The path you need take to reach that goal successfully depends greatly on your past academic record, your current lifestyle, including any family and job obligations, and your end goals. Be honest with yourself and invest wisely.


9 National Cent for Education Statistics, Fast Facts: Which colleges have the highest enrollment?, 2011
http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=74

10 College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, Trends in College Pricing, 2011, p.26
http://trends.collegeboard.org/downloads/College_Pricing_2011.pdf

11 College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, Trends in College Pricing, 2011, p.13
http://trends.collegeboard.org/downloads/College_Pricing_2011.pdf

12 College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, Trends in College Pricing, 2011, p.26
http://trends.collegeboard.org/downloads/College_Pricing_2011.pdf