About two of ten (22%) of those surveyed strongly agree and an additional 50% agree with the statement “living on campus and experiencing residential life is an important part of a four-year college experience.”

On the other hand, nine percent of the respondents strongly agree and another 50% agree with the statement “some time in the next ten years students who want a college education will take most of their courses over the Internet.” Younger respondents were more likely to agree with this statement.

Observations and Recommendations

At one level, these two responses seem to contradict each other. On the other hand, GDA Integrated Services sees these results as a sign that the public recognizes that learning can take place in many setting and a variety of ways. This suggests that primarily residential colleges and universities, especially the independent ones, must demonstrate that the learning that takes place because of the residential setting (leadership, tolerance, multicultural understanding, social skills, etc.) is valued by your college or university. On the other hand, all colleges and universities may have to provide supplemental learning options, perhaps through the Internet.

A hint for those with degree-completion or part-time graduate programs: At this point in time, GDA Integrated Services research shows that the most attractive format is a classroom setting/video combination. If a student misses a class due to travel, an ill child and so forth, they can request a video of the actual class they missed, and it would be mailed to them the next day. Obviously, your institution would charge a premium for this service. What we have found is that the video option reduces the stress of missing a class. It removes the concern about enrolling if students are afraid they will miss an occasional class.

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