On-campus delivery of several high-demand profession-focused degree categories is diminishing or disappearing altogether from many public universities. This is driven by the rapid online enrollment growth of mature students and the declining number of traditional students.
90% of these "Professional Degrees" are in education, business and nursing, which appeal almost exclusively to the millions of working adults returning to universities for the higher-level credential that will advance them in their career. Now able to earn their diplomas online without losing up to two years of on-the-job experience and income, mature students have grown online enrollments 56% over the last six years while on-campus population declined 8%.
Today, with more than 60% of business students taking their MBAs digitally, many business schools without an online option and sophisticated marketing capabilities are discontinuing their residential programs. The same trend is affecting several high-demand, non-clinical nursing degrees and some MEds.
Professional Degrees that were on-campus staples only a few years ago will rarely be delivered face-to-face in the future. With more than 2,300 degree granting institutions providing fully online programs, the higher ed market has reached a tipping point.
The good news is that Professional Degrees delivered online can continue growing a university's overall enrollment if advanced marketing techniques are effectively utilized. The same program categories that are declining on campuses are on an upward trajectory at Academic Partnerships' partner institutions where, on average MBAs were up 34%, RN-BSNs were up 27% and MEds up 14% in 2016. In 2017, MBA programs represented by AP were up an average of 67%.
By the end of 2017, the majority of AP's 54 public university partners had reached record overall online enrollment.