FACTBOX: American Education and the Computer

Online education is a growing industry in the United States with estimated revenues of $12 billion at a dozen or so for-profit companies that provide primarily online learning.

Here are some facts and statistics:

– Leading for-profit purveyors of online education: University of Phoenix, a unit of Apollo Group Inc; Kaplan, a unit of Washington Post Co; Capella Education Co; Strayer Education Inc; ITT Education Services Inc; Corinthian Colleges; Lincoln Educational Services Corp; Grand Canyon Education; Career Education Corp.

– Of more than 18 million U.S. college students, 3.9 million were enrolled in at least one online college course in fall 2007, an increase of 13 percent from 2006. Traditional on-campus enrollment increased 1 percent over that period.

– 85 percent of students who take courses online live in the same region as the campus offering the course.

– 15 percent of kindergarten through high school students may be educated online by 2011, up from 4 percent in 2006.

– 87 percent of children aged 12 to 17 use the Internet. Two-thirds of nursery school children use computers. Just about every U.S. school is connected to the Internet.

– 40 percent of U.S. high schools do not offer any advanced placement courses, many serving low-income, minority students.

– 44 percent of U.S. high school students studied a foreign language in 2002 (it is compulsory in EU and elsewhere).

– 70 percent of public high school students graduate. Two-thirds of graduates are seen as unprepared for college.

– 47 percent of drop-outs said a major reason for leaving school was "classes were not interesting" and they were "bored." Eighty-eight percent of drop-outs had passing grades.

Sources: National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The American Digital Schools Survey, Pew Internet Project, Manhattan Institute.


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