Applications for Online Degrees Up 59%

Sun Mar 3, 2013 12:00pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

COVENTRY, England, March 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

    Online learning provider RDI has reported a 59% increase in applications for
undergraduate degrees.  

    The figures are based on RDI's January intake and represent a year on year
comparison. Total applications for all online courses - including degrees, diplomas,
masters and MBAs - were up over 40%.  

    It is the surge in undergraduate degree applications that is most notable -
particularly when compared to UCAS figures which showed applications for traditional
university places were up only 3.5% (based on the January 15th deadline for 2013 cycle),
on the back of a decline in 2012.  

    Dr Philip Hallam, Chief Executive of RDI, believes the figures reflect a new era in

    He said: "The increased interest we've had in our UK university accredited degrees
is unprecedented, and I think reflects a combination of factors spanning finance,
lifestyle and consumer trends."  

    A key financial factor is changes to the student funding structure in favour of
distance learners which, since September 2012, gives them the same entitlement to
tuition fee loans as campus based learners.  

    Dr Hallam continued: "Although distance learning degrees are significantly more
affordable than campus-based degrees - around a third of the cost with RDI - the fact
that distance learners had to raise cash themselves to pay for courses upfront was a
hurdle too far for many. With that obstacle now removed, online learning has become even
more accessible."  

    Jonathan Smith (20) joined RDI in January 2013 to study for a BA (Hons) Business
degree. He said: "I left college in 2010 with A Levels in History, Politics and
Economics. Going to university wasn't even a consideration for me. My friends were at
home, I didn't want to be burdened with debt and I wanted to get straight into a career.
I'm now doing a degree on my terms, in a way that suits me."  

    2012 saw RDI introduce its free taster module to allow people to find out if online
learning will suit them. RDI has also been working to make its course materials
multiplatform compatible - extending resources to iPad and Kindle users.  

    Dr Hallam believes this too has had a significant impact on interest in online
learning. He concluded: "Consumer trends do impact on learning - people want services
that fit around their life, not the other way around, and that is why distance learning
continues to go from strength to strength."  


        Claire Hawes

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