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Number Of Students Aiming To Study Online Is Falling, Report Reveals

Business masters students are increasingly shifting from online or blended styles of learning to prefer in-person master's programs, a new report has revealed

Tue Jun 13 2023

Fewer business master’s students are considering online or blended learning compared with last year, according to the latest Tomorrow’s Masters study by CarringtonCrisp. 

The 10th issue of the Tomorrow’s Masters report, produced in association with EFMD, found uncertainties among prospective master’s students regarding the future of online learning. 

The report found just 15% of students preferred blended learning over in-person study, and only 14% preferred to learn fully remote, a significant decrease from last year's report, which found that 38% of students favored online or blended learning environments.

This year’s Tomorrow’s Masters report collected data based on surveys from 1755 prospective business master’s students from over 26 countries. 

In total, 47% of students agreed they would prefer a master’s program that offered full-time, in-campus study while 24% expressed a preference for part-time on-campus study as opposed to online options.

As many as 60% of students agreed that they would be more likely to consider studying most, or even all of their master’s online last year, a number which has now dropped to 52%. 

Last year almost 70% of students agreed that they would be more likely to consider a school with flexible study options, this has also decreased to 62% this year. 

"The shift in students' confidence and the renewed preference for on-campus learning are two key post pandemic trends, said Andrew Crisp, author of the study. 

“Students are looking to business schools to help them specifically prepare for the workplace and are craving the more personal learning experience of face-to-face study,” he added. 

While these figures show demand for online learning—which rose in popularity during the Covid pandemic—remains, a preference for in-person study is on the rise as prospective students see value in being on-campus. 

Elsewhere, the survey revealed only 21% of students can pay their tuition fees without external support. Given the cost-of-living crisis, the report suggested students were unsure if they could afford a master’s degree and were focused on maximizing their value for money.

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