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Online Advising Still a Rarity in Higher Ed

Few institutions of higher education perform academic advising online or have specially trained or equipped counselors ready to help distance learning students with their advising needs. Those are some of the findings in an extensive report from Primary Research Group, which recently published the "Survey of Best Practices in Academic Advising."

Across a sample of 43 colleges and universities, 15 percent reported that they used online means to deliver advising sessions; the median was 8.5 percent. The practice is more prevalent in private schools than public ones: 21 percent vs. 13 percent, respectively. Schools with annual tuition costs of $8,000 to $25,000 saw the highest level of use at 30 percent. Two in 10 colleges with an enrollment of fewer than 1,200 students had online advising. The use of online advising surfaced more frequently in institutions running specific schools, such as a nursing program, where the average was 28 percent.

Only 21 percent of institutions reported having advisors who were trained to work with online students. More than four in 10 community colleges (42 percent) said they have dedicated counselors to work with distance attendees. In four-year colleges the count drops to 16 percent; at research universities, it's 11 percent. Where enrollment exceeds 6,000 students, three in 10 schools have dedicated advisors. The same is true at only one in 10 at institutions with 3,000 to 6,000 students.

The full report, priced at $109 in print or PDF, is available on Primary Research Group's site.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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