HBCU’s Offer More Online Programs –

An increasing number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) are offering blended or online degree programs to non-traditional students, according to a recent study released by the Digital Learning Lab of Howard University.

Twenty-four of the 105 HBCUs offered these types of programs in July 2012, compared to 19 in November 2010, the date the last report was released. Of those schools offering blended/online degree programs, 75% of them were public institutions.

Though findings from the report show only a slight increase in addition of these programs, the trends are consistent with those found in Babson Survey Group’s 2011 Survey of Online Learning. Online enrollments are increasing at a rapid pace, with nearly one-third of all students in higher education taking at least one online course.

Other findings from the Howard University report show that 11 of the 24 HBCUs – including four of the largest schools, based on enrollment – have sought out partnerships with online service providers. This can account, in part, for the increase in online programs. These strategic partnerships allow for providers to offer the schools services such as conducting market research, restructuring face-to-face courses into online formats, and training faculty to effectively teach online courses. In addition to these services, providers front most of the money necessary to launch these online programs. In return, they receive an agreed-upon share of tuition revenue from student enrollments.

This is the fifth report since 2005 conducted by DLL of Howard University that summarizes distance learning programs by HBCUs for non-traditional students. In this report, “blended” programs are defined as those that deliver between 30 and 80 percent of their content online, while “online” programs deliver between 80 and 100 percent of their content through the web.

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