Within states, though, things are a little different, as there are far fewer institutions focused on serving in-state (or same-state as it is referred to in the report) students through distance education programs.

However, one exception to this rule is Maryland. University of Maryland’s University College enrolls 20,000 students from Maryland as undergraduate distance education students, “making it the largest institution in terms of same-state students by a wide margin.”

Florida has almost 56,000 residents enrolled in undergraduate four-year distance education programs. Also, though the numbers are not large due to population size, Alaska and South Dakota boast a fairly high percentage of in-state students enrolled in same-state distance education students. Rhode Island had the fewest same-state distance education enrollments with only 242.

One state that is an interesting case study is California. With less total students enrolled in distance education than the far smaller Ohio by about 33%, California has the fewest students enrolled in online same-state institutions relative to population size. This issue is particularly pertinent within the University of California system, as Governor Jerry Brown recently advocated for more online courses to help alleviate budget deficits at a recent regent’s committee meeting.

And all of this information perhaps only scratches the surface of what can be extrapolated from the map. With this new tool in the hands of distance education programs, potential student identification can potentially be made easier, and with that achieved, schools can aim to give even greater attention towards improving the quality of their education.

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