Price and Cost of Distance Education

In talking to legislators, administrators, faculty, students, and the public in general, WCET identified a need to better understand the economics of distance education courses. What do we charge students (the “price”)? How much does the institution spend to create the course (the “cost”)?

In 2017, WCET released a “Price and Cost of Distance Education” report that included a survey of distance education institutional leaders, interviews with experts on the economics of distance education, and highlights of the political and practical ramifications in one state – Florida.

In 2018, Change Magazine published a WCET opinion piece (“The Economics of Distance Education: Boxing Match or Productive Dialogue”) by Russ Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut. They report on the growing rift between policymakers (who steadfastly hold that distance education must be cheaper) and the distance education community. They recommend more dialogue to better align expectations.

WCET previously conducted research on this topic in the spring of 2012.

Graph from report.