Salary increases, flexibility of online learning, and support from advisors cited as key benefits
Jan. 19, 2022 (Hoboken, NJ) — Pearson Online Learning Services (POLS), the division of global education company Pearson that helps colleges and universities deliver online degree and certificate programs, has released a new progress report highlighting adult learner outcomes and attitudes about their online higher education experience. Statistics about POLS' academic partners and students served are also featured.
Headlining the report, and likely the most compelling indicator of student (and institutional) success, are high student retention rates. POLS-supported programs boast 78% retention rates, compared to national averages of 66%1. Enrolled students (who tend to be older, 52% over 35 yrs.) stick with their academic programs and progress to completion; many crediting support from their POLS advisors. Ninety-three percent of students rated their enrollment advisor as very good or good and 86% stated that their advisor had "my best interests at heart."
When it comes to realizing a return on their education investment, these adult learners point to clear career benefits of their online degrees and certificate programs:
- 85% said "My program enabled me to progress with my career goals."
- Alumni report that their salaries increased an average of 24% after completing their program.
- 46% of alumni started new positions within 6 months of graduating.
- 75% of alumni agreed that "The program gave me the opportunity to obtain/develop the skills necessary to perform my current job.”
"This is exactly what we want to see from the programs we help develop and deliver — that people are completing their programs and reaping the personal and financial rewards of their efforts and investment... quickly," said Kees Bol, managing director for Pearson Online Learning Services. "We know that online delivery is key in helping busy working adults cross their academic finish lines."
In fact, flexibility was an overwhelming reason why students selected their online program with nearly all respondents (98%) stating that "I was able to fit the program around my current schedule." Ninety-four percent specifically chose their program because it was delivered online. Beyond this anytime/anywhere benefit, grads value their school's reputation including the quality of the professors and accreditation.
On a personal level, graduates of POLS-supported programs report emotional benefits, including a sense of accomplishment (75%), confidence at work (41%), and optimism about the future (51%).
POLS partners with over 20 colleges and universities in the US to deliver nearly 500 online degree, certificate and short course programs. Popular areas of study include healthcare and nursing, IT, and business.
"Our report is extremely valuable for understanding the efficacy of our work — what we're getting right and where we can improve for our academic partners. It offers meaningful insights and really motivates everyone here at POLS," added Karin Cantrell, Senior Director of Strategy & Insights for POLS, who oversaw the research. "Knowing that we're helping people achieve their goals and dreams is incredibly powerful."
Read the full report online.
The Progress Report reflects three online opt-in quantitative surveys of US students and POLS-supported program alumni conducted by Pearson Online Learning Services (POLS) via Qualtrics.
- Outcomes Survey: Polled recent degree-program graduates (every semester) between Fall 2020 – Spring 2022 and alumni (every 1, 3, and 5 years). Partners that opted-in to this research include Bradley University, Eastern Kentucky University, Maryville University, Ohio University, Regis College, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of California Riverside, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University.
- Enrollment Experience Survey: Polled incoming students between Fall 2018 – Spring 2022, during their first week of class in order to gain insights into who they are, why they enrolled, how they consume information, and their experience during enrollment.
- Non-Applied Survey: Polled prospective students who provided their information when visiting our partners’ websites between Fall 2021 – Spring 2022 but ultimately never applied.
Overall survey samples are shown below; sample sizes for individual questions are provided where these are discussed. Reported frequencies may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Where relevant and when available, benchmark comparison to all US higher education students is included and sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). This benchmark data reflects all undergraduate and graduate programs, on-campus, and online (unless otherwise noted).