This kind of goes counter to the popularity of online education. Of course it's true that adult students often have limited options for higher education since they're place bound. And many of them prefer traditional formats over online. And in some area, the lack of high speed internet isolates potential students even more. From The Atlantic.
The paper points out that more than 57 percent of incoming first-year students who enroll in public four-year schools attend college within 50 miles of home. Students of color and those from lower-income families are even more likely to stay nearby.
Where there are good, affordable, and accessible (not highly selective) options within close range, that’s not a bad thing.
But the paper finds that between 6 and 12 percent of the nation’s adult population lives in an education desert, and between 1.29 and 2.86 million students attend college in education deserts. Most are in the Midwest and Great Plains states, but education deserts are everywhere, and their residents tend to have lower-than-average educational attainment levels. Many are home to colleges, but not broadly accessible public institutions.
“As we talk about equity going forward and we talk about post-traditional students, I do think it’s really an important dynamic and we are going to have to consider it,” said Sarita Brown, the president of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit that has looked extensively at ways to expand college access. “Does every student have access to a quality education, if, in fact, the distribution of educational institutions by happenstance or by taxpayer investments sidesteps areas where population growth is occurring?”