oversight

Distance Education: More Data Could Improve Education's Ability to Track Technology at Minority Serving Institutions

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-09-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




September 2003
                 DISTANCE
                 EDUCATION

                 More Data Could
                 Improve Education’s
                 Ability to Track
                 Technology at
                 Minority Serving
                 Institutions




GAO-03-900 

Contents 



Letter         
                                                                           1
               Results in Brief 
                                                          4
               Background
                                                                 6
               There Are Some Variations in the Use of Distance Education at 

                 Minority Serving Institutions Compared to Other Schools 
               15
               Teaching Preference and Resources Available for Distance 

                 Education Affect the Extent to Which Minority Serving 

                 Institutions Offer Distance Education 
                                 24
               Education Can Further Refine Its Programs for Monitoring
                 Technology Usage at Minority Serving Institutions 
                       30
               Conclusions                                                                
34
               Recommendations                                                           
34
               Agency Comments 
                                                           35

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                      36



Appendix II    Historically Black Colleges and Universities                               39



Appendix III   Hispanic Serving Institutions                                              44



Appendix IV    Tribal Colleges                                                            48



Appendix V     Comments from the Department of Education                                  53



Appendix VI    GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                     56 

               Contacts                                                                  56

               Staff Acknowledgments                                                     56



Tables
               Table 1: Selected Characteristics of Minority Serving Institutions          7





               Page i                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
          Table 2: Characteristics of Grants for Minority Serving Institutions
                   under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as Amended                               14
          Table 3: Differences in the Types of Activities Monitored by
                   Education in Minority Serving Institution Annual Reports                         32


Figures
          Figure 1: Distribution of Historically Black Colleges and
                   Universities, by State                                                            8
          Figure 2: Distribution of Hispanic Serving Institutions, by State                         10
          Figure 3: Distribution of Tribal Colleges, by State                                       12
          Figure 4: Percentage of Minority Serving Institutions That Offer
                   Distance Education Is about the Same as the Percentage
                   for Other Schools                                                                17
          Figure 5: Higher Percentage of Larger Historically Black Colleges
                   and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions Offer
                   Distance Education                                                               19
          Figure 6: Higher Percentage of Public Minority Serving Institutions
                   Offer Distance Education                                                         20
          Figure 7: Percent of Minority Serving Institutions Offering Degree
                   Programs Is about the Same or Less Than Other Schools                            22
          Figure 8: Distance Education Generally Ranks Lower in Relation to
                   Other Technology Goals                                                           27
          Figure 9: Percentage of Minority Serving Institutions That Have
                   Strategic and Financial Plans for Expanding Their
                   Technology Infrastructure                                                        29



          Abbreviations
          IPEDS       Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
          NPSAS       National Postsecondary Education Data System
          PEQIS       Postsecondary Education Quick Information System



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          Page ii                                                  GAO-03-900 Distance Education
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   September 12, 2003 


                                   The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy 

                                   Ranking Minority Member 

                                   Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 

                                   United States Senate 


                                   The Honorable George Miller 

                                   Ranking Minority Member 

                                   Committee on Education and the Workforce 

                                   House of Representatives 


                                   The Honorable Rubén Hinojosa 

                                   House of Representatives 


                                   The Honorable Major Owens 

                                   House of Representatives 


                                   For over 100 years, the Congress has recognized that some postsecondary 

                                   institutions have roles to play in providing minority students with help in 

                                   attaining their educational goals and developing skills necessary to move 

                                   into all facets of the American economy. In the 2000-01 school year, 

                                   465 schools, or about 7 percent of postsecondary institutions in the 

                                   United States,1 served about 35 percent of all Black, American Indian, and

                                   Hispanic students. These schools have special designation under federal 

                                   law as Minority Serving Institutions.2


                                   Like other postsecondary institutions, over the last decade, Minority 

                                   Serving Institutions have faced the challenge of trying to keep pace with 

                                   rapidly changing technology usage in education. Part of keeping pace with 

                                   technology involves using it in traditional classroom education, but one 

                                   growing area—distance education—has commanded particular attention.

                                   As defined in federal law, distance education is, “an educational process 




                                   1
                                   These include institutions in territories of the United States, such as Puerto Rico and
                                   Guam, that are authorized to distribute federal student financial aid.
                                   2
                                     The three main types of Minority Serving Institutions are Historically Black Colleges and
                                   Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Other types of Minority
                                   Serving Institutions include Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian serving institutions.



                                   Page 1                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
that is characterized by the separation, in time or place, between
instructor and student.”3 Some examples of course delivery methods
include the Internet, videoconferencing, and videocassettes. Distance
education offers opportunities for students to take classes without
considering where they live or when classes may be available. In the
1999-2000 school year, about one in every 13 postsecondary students
enrolled in at least 1 distance education course, and the Department of
Education (Education) estimates that the number of students involved in
distance education has tripled in just 4 years. For the most part, students
taking distance education courses can qualify for student financial aid in
the same way as students taking traditional courses. As the largest
provider of student financial aid to postsecondary students (an estimated
$60 billion in fiscal year 2003), the federal government has a substantial
interest in distance education. Under Title IV of the Higher Education Act
of 1965, as amended, the federal government provides grants, loans, and
work-study wages for millions of students each year.

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, provides specific federal
support for Minority Serving Institutions through Titles III and V. In
2002, grants funded under these two titles provided over $300 million for
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions,
and Tribal Colleges to improve their academic quality, institutional
management, and fiscal stability. Technology is one of the many purposes
to which these grants can be applied. As the Congress prepares to
reauthorize the act, you asked us to examine several issues related to
Minority Serving Institutions and technology—and particularly to distance
education. We focused our work on determining (1) whether the use of
distance education varies between Minority Serving Institutions and non-
Minority Serving Institutions; (2) what factors Minority Serving
Institutions consider when deciding whether to offer distance education;
and (3) what steps Education could take, if any, to improve its monitoring
of technological progress, including distance education, at Minority
Serving Institutions under Titles III and V. In September 2002, we testified
on some of these issues before the Senate Committee on Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions.4 Additionally, you asked us to look at the
quality of distance education and examine any statutory and regulatory


3
 20 U.S.C. 1093(h).
4
 U.S. General Accounting Office, Distance Education: Growth in Distance Education
Programs and Implications for Federal Education Policy, GAO-02-1125T (Washington,
D.C.: Sept. 26, 2002).




Page 2                                               GAO-03-900 Distance Education
issues related to distance education. We plan to issue a report on those
topics later this year.

Our findings are based on questionnaires that were developed and sent to
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions,
and Tribal Colleges. Seventy-eight percent, 75 percent, and 82 percent of
the schools responded, respectively. We compared the results of our
survey with Education’s July 2003 report entitled Distance Education at
Degree-Granting Postsecondary Education Institutions: 2000-2001. This
survey was sent to over 1,600 2-year and 4-year degree granting institutions
that were eligible for federal student aid programs and provided
information on distance education offerings by these schools. However,
the data from our survey and the survey conducted by Education are not
completely comparable because they cover two different time periods. We
also analyzed two databases produced by Education’s National Center for
Education Statistics. We analyzed data from the National Postsecondary
Student Aid Study (NPSAS)5 to examine the characteristics of
postsecondary students, including those who attended Historically Black
Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, involved in
distance education programs. We analyzed data from the Integrated
Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)6 to examine the
characteristics of postsecondary institutions. Additionally, we conducted
site visits to selected schools drawn from these three types of Minority
Serving Institutions. We interviewed Education officials involved in
programs aimed at improving the quality of education at Minority Serving
Institutions. Finally, we interviewed numerous experts on distance
education. A more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology is
included in appendix I. We performed our work between October 2002 and
September 2003 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards.




5
 NPSAS is a nationwide survey conducted every 3 to 4 years that collects demographic
information on postsecondary students, as well as information on how postsecondary
students fund their education. NPSAS randomly samples about 19 million students
attending over 6,000 institutions eligible for the federal student aid programs. The most
recent NPSAS covers the 1999-2000 school year.
6
  IPEDS is a system of surveys designed to collect data from all primary providers of
postsecondary education. These surveys collect institution-level data in such areas as
enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances. Data are collected annually
from approximately 9,600 postsecondary institutions, including over 6,000 institutions
eligible for the federal student aid programs.




Page 3                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                   There are some variations in the use of distance education at Minority
Results in Brief   Serving Institutions compared to other schools. It is difficult to generalize
                   across the Minority Serving Institutions, but available data indicate that
                   while Minority Serving Institutions tend to offer at least one distance
                   education course at the same rate as other schools, they differ in how
                   many courses are offered and which students take the courses. Overall,
                   the percentage of schools offering at least one distance education course
                   in the 2002-03 school year was 56 percent for Historically Black Colleges
                   and Universities, 63 percent for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and
                   63 percent for Tribal Colleges, based on data from our questionnaire.
                   Similarly, 56 percent of 2- and 4-year schools across the country offered at
                   least one distance education course in the 2000-01 school year, according
                   to a separate survey conducted by Education. Minority Serving Institutions
                   also tended to mirror other schools in that larger schools were more likely
                   to offer distance education than smaller schools, and public schools were
                   more likely to offer distance education than private schools. Tribal
                   Colleges were an exception; all of them were small, but the percentage of
                   schools offering distance education courses was relatively high compared
                   to other smaller schools. The greater use of distance education among
                   Tribal Colleges may reflect their need to serve students who often live in
                   remote areas. In two respects, however, the use of distance education at
                   Minority Serving Institutions differed from other schools. First, of those
                   institutions offering at least one distance education course, Historically
                   Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges generally offered
                   fewer distance education courses—a characteristic that may reflect the
                   smaller size of these two types of institutions compared to other schools.
                   Second, to the extent that data are available, they indicate that minority
                   students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic
                   Serving Institutions participate in distance education to a somewhat lower
                   degree than other students. For example, in the 1999-2000 school year,
                   fewer undergraduates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities took
                   distance education courses than students at non-Minority Serving
                   Institutions—6 percent v. 8.4 percent of undergraduates—a condition that
                   may reflect the fact that these schools offer fewer distance education
                   courses. Also, at Hispanic Serving Institutions, Hispanic students had
                   lower rates of participation in distance education than non-Hispanic
                   students attending these schools. These differences were statistically
                   significant.

                   Minority Serving Institutions take into account two key factors in deciding
                   whether to offer distance education, according to our questionnaire
                   responses. One is their preferred teaching method. About half of
                   Historically Black Colleges and Universities that currently do not offer


                   Page 4                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
distance education to undergraduates indicated that a primary reason for
not offering distance education was that they prefer teaching in the
classroom. For example, even though Howard University, a Historically
Black University in Washington, D.C., has substantial technology such as
multimedia rooms and sophisticated network capabilities, the school does
not offer distance education courses for undergraduates and has no plans
to do so because it prefers teaching undergraduates in the classroom. The
second factor reported by schools as a reason for not providing distance
education was limited resources for technology. Some Minority Serving
Institutions said they wanted to offer more distance education but had
limited technology to do so. For example, officials from the 10 Tribal
Colleges that do not offer any distance education indicated that
improvements in technology would be helpful. Officials at one Tribal
College told us that some residents of reservations tend to be place-bound
because of tribal and familial responsibilities; distance education would be
one of the few realistic postsecondary options for this population, if
technology were available. Technological limitations for Tribal Colleges
involve a lack of resources to purchase needed technologies and
difficulties in accessing technology, such as high-speed Internet, due to the
rural and remote location of many reservations. All three types of schools
identified the lack of resources—for investment in technology and for
technology support staff—as particular limitations. In addition, from a
broader context, Minority Serving Institutions reported that they view
distance education as just one of many goals for technology—with varying
degrees of priority depending on the college. In response to our survey,
officials from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic
Serving Institutions more frequently indicated, for example, that relative to
goals such as increasing the use of technology in the classroom, distance
education ranks lower. At these schools, training faculty in the use of
technology and improving the use of information technology in the
classroom are higher priorities than distance education. By contrast,
officials at Tribal Colleges more frequently placed distance education as a
higher priority, reflecting their struggle to provide educational
opportunities to populations across large geographic areas. However, they
too identified other goals related to technology as important.

Education could improve its monitoring of technological progress—
including distance education—at Minority Serving Institutions under Titles
III and V by collecting more data on technology, including baseline data, at
these institutions. Education is taking steps to monitor the extent to which
its grant programs are improving the use of technology by Minority
Serving Institutions, but it has opportunities to track the expanding use of
technology—including distance education—by capturing information in a


Page 5                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
               more complete fashion across the three major types of Minority Serving
               Institutions. While Education’s tracking system appears to include
               sufficient information on technology at Hispanic Serving Institutions, it
               contains less information on the usage of grant funds for technology
               improvements for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal
               Colleges. Additionally, although Education has set a goal of improving
               technology capacity at Minority Serving Institutions, it has not established
               a baseline against which progress can be measured. If Education is to be
               successful in measuring progress in this area, it may need to take a more
               proactive role in modifying existing research efforts to include information
               on the extent to which technology, including such basic information as
               student access to computers, is available at all schools. Having such
               information would provide policymakers and program managers an
               improved basis for making budget and program decisions.

               In this report, we are making recommendations to the Secretary of
               Education to (1) direct managers of the Title III and V programs to
               broaden their tracking systems so that they are applied in a more complete
               manner to the different types of Minority Serving Institutions and (2) study
               the feasibility of adding questions on distance education and information
               technology to existing research efforts carried out by Education.

               We provided Education with a draft of this report for its review and
               comment. In commenting on our draft report, Education generally agreed
               with our findings and recommendations. Education’s written comments
               are in appendix V.


               In general, Minority Serving Institutions vary in size and scope and serve a
Background 	   high percentage of minority students, many of whom are financially
               disadvantaged. In size, for example, they range from Texas College, a
               Historically Black College with about 100 students, to Miami-Dade
               Community College, a Hispanic Serving Institution with more than
               46,000 students. In scope, they range from schools with certificate or
               2-year degree programs to universities with an extensive array of graduate
               and professional degree programs. Table 1 briefly compares the three
               types of Minority Serving Institutions in terms of their number, type, and
               size. Appendixes II to IV provide additional information about the three
               types of institutions.




               Page 6                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                              Table 1: Selected Characteristics of Minority Serving Institutions

                                                                                                        Type of Institution
                                                                           Historically Black
                                                                               Colleges and Hispanic Serving
                                  Characteristics                               Universities     Institutions                        Tribal Colleges
                                                         a
                                  Number of schools                                              102                         334                 29
                                  Percent of each type of
                                  institution
                                  Public                                                           50                          45               100
                                  Private nonprofit                                                50                          23                 0
                                  Private for-profit                                                0                          32                 0
                                  Average number of students
                                  per institution                                             2,685                        5,141                467
                                  Number of students served in
                                  2000-01                                                  274,000                     1.7 million           13,500
                              Source: Department of Education and GAO analysis of IPEDS for the 2000-01 school year.
                              a
                              This figure represents the number of schools eligible for the federal student aid programs in the
                              2000-01 school year based on our analysis of IPEDS.


Historically Black Colleges   Historically Black Colleges and Universities are the oldest of the Minority
and Universities              Serving Institutions. While the first Historically Black University, Cheyney
                              University of Pennsylvania, was founded in 1837, most of the colleges and
                              universities were founded between 1865 and 1890. In the 2000-01 school
                              year, there were 102 Historically Black Colleges and Universities that were
                              eligible for federal student aid programs, including Xavier University in
                              New Orleans, Louisiana; Howard University in Washington, D.C.; and
                              Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Our analysis of the 2000-01 IPEDS,
                              shows that while Historically Black Colleges and Universities represented
                              2 percent of all public and nonprofit postsecondary institutions, they
                              enrolled about 14 percent (223,359) of Black non-Hispanic students in the
                              United States. In all, the schools were in 20 states, the District of
                              Columbia, and the Virgin Islands (see fig. 1). About 85 percent of the
                              students enrolled at these institutions were black Americans. Their
                              students and parents have lower incomes, on average, than students and
                              parents at non-Minority Serving Institutions.




                              Page 7                                                                           GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 1: Distribution of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, by State




                                                                                            1

                                                                                                                  2
                                                                                                2                     4
                                                                                                                          1
                                                                                                      2               3
                                                                            2                                 5
                                                                                            1

                                                                                                              11
                                                                    1                  5
                                                                             3                            8

                                                                                   7   14        10
                                                                9            6



                        Historically Black Colleges
                        and Universities                                                                  4
                        Alabama -14        Ohio - 2
                        Arkansa - 3        Oklahoma -1
                        District of        Pennsylvania - 2
                        Columbia - 3       South Carolina -8
                        Delaware -1        Tennessee - 5
                        Florida - 4        Texas - 9                                                                          1
                        Georgia - 10       Virginia - 5
                        Kentucky - 1       Virgin Islands - 1
                        Louisiana -6       West Virginia - 2
                        Maryland - 4
                        Michigan -1
                        Missouri - 2
                        Mississippi - 7
                        North Carolina -11

Source: GAO analysis of IPEDS data.




                                                     Page 8                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Hispanic Serving Institutions   Hispanic Serving Institutions were recognized as such under the
                                1992 amendments to the Higher Education Act7 and some of the schools
                                first received funding through the Higher Education Act in 1995. Under the
                                definition established by the Congress, a Hispanic Serving Institution must
                                have a student body that is at least 25 percent Hispanic, and at least half of
                                the Hispanic students must be low-income. In the 2000-01 school year,
                                there were 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions, including Long Beach City
                                College in California; the University of Miami in Florida; and the University
                                of New Mexico. Our analysis of the 2000-01 IPEDS shows that while
                                Hispanic Serving Institutions represented only 5 percent of all
                                postsecondary institutions, they enrolled 48 percent (798,489) of all
                                Hispanic students. These schools were located in 14 states and Puerto
                                Rico (see fig. 2). About 51 percent of the students enrolled at these
                                institutions are Hispanic. Compared to the two other major categories of
                                Minority Serving Institutions, Hispanic Serving Institutions are generally
                                larger and have more racial diversity in their student body. They are also
                                the only type to include private for-profit schools, such as ITT Technical
                                Colleges. Their students and parents have lower incomes, on average, than
                                students and parents at non-Minority Serving Institutions.




                                7
                                 Pub. L. No. 102-325, § 302(d) (1992).




                                Page 9                                           GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 2: Distribution of Hispanic Serving Institutions, by State




                                      1



                               1



                                                                                                          1
                                                                                           22
                                                                                                1

                                                                                                 6
                                                             6            13
                       102




                                          17
                                                        23            1




                                                                 52
                       Hispanic Serving Institution
                       Arizona-17
                       California-102
                                                                                  25
                       Colorado-6
                       Connecticut-1
                       Florida-25
                       Illinois-13
                       Massachusetts-1
                       New Jersey-6
                       New Mexico-23                                                                 63
                       New York-22
                       Oklahoma-1
                       Oregon-1
                       Puerto Rico-63
                       Texas-52
                       Washington-1




Source: GAO analysis of IPEDS data.




                                                      Page 10                  GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Tribal Colleges   Most Tribal Colleges were founded in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1998, the
                  Higher Education Act8 was amended to create a grant program for Tribal
                  Colleges to improve educational quality offered to their students, and
                  some of the schools first received funds in 1998. In the 2000-01 school
                  year, there were 29 Tribal Colleges located in 12 states (see fig. 3). They
                  included Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona; Salish Kootenai College in Pablo,
                  Montana; and Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota. Our analysis of
                  the 2000-01 IPEDS shows that while Tribal Colleges were less than 1
                  percent of all public and private nonprofit postsecondary institutions, they
                  enrolled 8 percent (11,262) of all American Indian/Alaska Native students
                  in the United States. Tribal Colleges are the smallest of the three major
                  types of Minority Serving Institutions, averaging less than 500 students,
                  and nearly all are 2-year schools. About 85 percent of the students
                  attending Tribal Colleges in the fall of 2000 were American Indian/Alaska
                  Native. The percentage of students at Tribal Colleges who receive Pell
                  Grants—a type of financial aid made available to the neediest students—
                  was more than double that of students at non-Minority Serving Institutions
                  (60 percent v. 24 percent).9




                  8
                   Pub. L. No. 105-244, § 303(e) (1998).
                  9
                   Although NPSAS contained data allowing us to develop information on the economic
                  status of students and families at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic
                  Serving Institutions, this database contained data on students at only one Tribal College.
                  The Pell Grant information is the only other information we were able to develop from
                  Education’s databases.




                  Page 11                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 3: Distribution of Tribal Colleges, by State



                                      1


                                                  7
                                                                5

                                                                        2
                                                            3                  2
                                                                                        1
                                                             2
                      1

                                                                    1

                                          1
                                              3
    Tribal Colleges
    Arizona - 1
    California - 1
    Kansas - 1
    Michigan - 1
    Minnesota - 2
    Montana - 7
    North Dakota - 5
    Nebraska - 2
    New Mexico - 3
    South Dakota - 3
    Washington - 1
    Wisconsin - 2

Source: GAO analysis of IPEDS data.




Federal Aid to Minority                       Through certain provisions in the Higher Education Act, the Congress has
Serving Institutions 	                        recognized the role that Minority Serving Institutions play in serving the
                                              needs of students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
                                              These provisions authorize grants for augmenting the limited resources
                                              that many Minority Serving Institutions have for funding their academic
                                              programs. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are eligible for
                                              grants funded through Title III, part B; Hispanic Serving Institutions




                                              Page 12                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
through Title V, part A; and Tribal Colleges through Title III, part A10 of the
Higher Education Act. These grants seek to improve the academic quality,
institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions. More
specifically, according to Title III, part B, Historically Black Colleges and
Universities receive grants, in part, to remedy discriminatory action of the
states and the federal government against Black colleges and universities.
Hispanic Serving Institutions receive funds to expand educational
opportunities for and improve the academic attainment of Hispanic
students. Finally, the grants for Tribal Colleges seek to improve and
expand the colleges’ capacity to serve American Indian students. The
Congress has identified as many as 14 areas in which institutions may use
funds for improving their academic programs. Authorized uses include
purchase or rental of telecommunications equipment or services, support
of faculty development, and purchase of library books, periodicals, and
other educational materials. Table 2 provides more information on each
type of grant.11




10
  All Tribal Colleges also receive a majority of their operating funds from various federal
sources, such as the Tribally Controlled College or University Assistance Act of 1978,
Pub. L. No. 95-471 (1978). Whether they receive state funding, however, varies from state
to state.
11
   Federal aid also flows to these institutions in a number of other forms. For example,
students at these colleges or universities are eligible for the federal student aid programs,
including Pell Grants and other funding for low-income students, such as student loans and
work-study funds. In addition, other federal entities, such as the National Science
Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense have programs
that Minority Serving Institutions could use to improve information technology on their
campuses.




Page 13                                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Table 2: Characteristics of Grants for Minority Serving Institutions under the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as Amended

                                                                             Type of grant
                                                      Title III, part B            Title V, part A
                                                Historically Black                         Hispanic Title III, part A
                                                    Colleges and                             Serving           Tribal
    Characteristics                                  Universities                       Institutionsa     Colleges
    Amount of funding in 1999                             $136 million                   $28 million       $3 million
    Number of schools funded in
    1999                                                               98                         39               8
    Amount of funding in 2002                             $206 million                   $86 million    $17.5 million
    Number of schools funded in
                                                                                                   b
    2002                                                               99                       172               27
    Type of grant                                     Formulaic/non-                    Competitivec    Competitivec
                                                                    c
                                                         competitive
    Duration of individual grants                               5 yearsd                    5 yearsd         5 yearsd
    Wait-out period (minimum
    number of years between
    grants)                                                        None                      2 years           None
Source: The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended and the Department of Education.
a
 Hispanic Serving Institutions are the only Minority Serving Institutions that include private for-profit
schools. Private for-profit schools are not eligible for funding under Title V, part A.
b
 In 2002, 172 Hispanic Serving Institutions received 191 grants. Nineteen of the 172 institutions
received 2 grants—an individual grant and a cooperative development grant.
c
 Tribal Colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions receive grants based on a ranking of applications
from a competitive peer review evaluation. Historically Black Colleges and Universities receive grants
based on a formula that considers, in part, the number of Pell Grant recipients, the number of
graduates, and the number of students that enroll in graduate school within 5 years after earning an
undergraduate degree.
d
 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges are
required to prepare and submit a 5-year comprehensive development plan when they participate in
Title III, part A, Title V, part A, or Title III, part B programs.


One area to which such funds can be directed is technology, both inside
the classroom and, in the form of distance education, outside the
classroom. Both inside and outside the classroom, technology is changing
how institutions educate their students, and Minority Serving Institutions,
like other schools, are grappling with how best to adapt. Through such
methods as E-mail, chat rooms, and direct instructional delivery via the
Internet, technology can enhance students’ ability to learn any time, any
place, rather than be bound by time in the classroom or in the library. For
Minority Serving Institutions, the importance of technology takes on an
additional dimension in that available research indicates their students
may arrive with less prior access to technology, such as computers and the



Page 14                                                                         GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                        Internet, than their counterparts in other schools.12 These students may
                        need considerable exposure to technology to be fully equipped with job-
                        related skills.

Distance Education      Distance education is one major application of this new technology.
                        Although distance education is not a new concept, it has assumed
                        markedly newer forms and greater prominence over the past decade.
                        Distance education can trace its history to the 1870s when correspondence
                        courses—a home study course generally completed by mail—were first
                        offered. Now, distance education is increasingly delivered in electronic
                        forms, such as videoconferencing and the Internet. Through these
                        approaches, distance education provides postsecondary education access
                        to students who may live in remote locations or whose schedules require
                        greater flexibility. For example, schools such as the University of Phoenix
                        Online and the University of Maryland University College target entire
                        distance learning degree programs to working adults who take their
                        classes largely at home. Distance education’s effect on helping students
                        complete their courses of study is still largely unknown. Although there is
                        some anecdotal evidence that distance education can help students
                        complete their programs or graduate from college, school officials that we
                        spoke to did not identify any studies that evaluated the extent to which
                        distance education has improved completion or graduation rates.


                        It is difficult to generalize across the Minority Serving Institutions, but
There Are Some          available data indicate that while Minority Serving Institutions tend to
Variations in the Use   offer at least one distance education course at about the same rate as
                        other schools, they differ in how many courses are offered and which
of Distance Education   students take the distance education courses. Minority Serving Institutions
at Minority Serving     tend to be similar to non-Minority Serving Institutions in the percentage of
                        schools that offer distance education, and to a considerable degree, they
Institutions Compared   also mirror other schools in that distance education is more prominent at
to Other Schools        larger schools and at public schools. However, there are also differences
                        between Minority Serving Institutions and other schools, and between the
                        three categories of Minority Serving Institutions we reviewed. We found
                        that Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges
                        offered fewer distance education courses than other schools, which may
                        be a reflection of their generally smaller size. The limited data available



                        12
                          The Web-Based Education Commission, The Power of the Internet for Learning: Moving
                        from Promise to Practice. (Washington D.C.: December 2000).




                        Page 15                                              GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                           about student participation in distance education indicates that minority
                           students may be somewhat less involved in distance education than other
                           students. In the 1999-2000 school year, for example, 6 percent of students
                           at Historically Black Colleges and Universities were involved with distance
                           education, compared with 8.4 percent at non-Minority Serving
                           institutions—perhaps reflecting the fewer number of distance education
                           courses that Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer. This result
                           is statistically significant.


Percentage of Minority     The percentage of Minority Serving Institutions that offered at least one
Serving Institutions       distance education course is about the same as the percentage for all
Offering at Least One      degree granting postsecondary institutions eligible for the federal student
                           aid programs. Education’s July 2003 report indicates that about 56 percent
Distance Education         of 2-year and 4-year institutions whose students were eligible for federal
Course Is about the Same   student aid programs offered distance education courses during the
as the Percentage for      2000-01 school year.13 The results from our questionnaire showed that
Other Schools              about 56 percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
                           63 percent of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and 63 percent of Tribal
                           Colleges offered at least one distance education course (see fig. 4).
                           However, the data from our survey and the survey conducted by
                           Education are not completely comparable because they cover two
                           different time periods. Education’s survey covered the 2000-01 school
                           year while our survey covered the 2002-03 school year.14




                           13
                            Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Distance Education
                           at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001. (Washington D.C.: July 2003).
                           14
                             Our survey and Education’s survey are also different in the way that information was
                           summarized. For example, Education’s survey aggregates all private nonprofit schools and
                           private for-profit schools as private schools. Our survey breaks out these types of schools
                           into separate categories.




                           Page 16                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
     Figure 4: Percentage of Minority Serving Institutions That Offer Distance Education
     Is about the Same as the Percentage for Other Schools

      Percentage
      80


      70


      60


      50


      40


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      Source: Department of Education and GAO’s Minority Serving Institution survey.




     According to our survey, Minority Serving Institutions offered distance
     education courses15 for two main reasons: (1) it improves access to
     courses for some students who live away from campus and (2) it provides
     convenience to older, working, or married students. The following
     examples illustrate these conditions.

•	   Northwest Indian College, a Tribal College in Bellingham, Washington, has
     over 10 percent of its 600 students involved in distance education. It offers
     distance education by videoconference equipment or correspondence. The
     College offers over 20 distance education courses, such as mathematics
     and English to students at seven remote locations in Washington and
     Idaho. According to College officials, distance education technology is


     15
       The two most common modes of delivering distance education for Minority Serving
     Institutions were (1) on-line courses using a computer and (2) live courses transmitted via
     videoconference.




     Page 17                                                                           GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                                  essential because it provides access to educational opportunities to
                                  students who live away from campus. For example, some students taking
                                  distance education courses live hundreds of miles from the College in
                                  locations such as the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho and the Makah
                                  Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington. According to school officials,
                                  students involved in distance education tend to be older with dependents,
                                  and therefore, find it difficult to take courses outside of their community.
                                  Also, one official noted that staying within the tribal community is valued
                                  and distance education allows members of tribes to stay close to their
                                  community and still obtain skills or a degree.

                             •	   The University of the Incarnate Word is a private nonprofit Hispanic
                                  Serving Institution with an enrollment of about 6,900 students. The school,
                                  located in San Antonio, Texas, offers on-line degree and certificate
                                  programs, including degrees in business, nursing, and information
                                  technology. About 2,400 students are enrolled in the school’s distance
                                  education program. The school’s on-line programs are directed at
                                  nontraditional students (students who are 24 years old or older), many of
                                  whom are Hispanic. In general, the ideal candidates for the on-line
                                  program are older students, working adults, or adult learners who have
                                  been out of high school for 5 or more years, according to the Provost and
                                  the Director of Instructional Technology.

Distance Education at             For the most part, those Minority Serving Institutions that offered at least
Most Minority Serving             one distance education course tended to be similar to other schools
Institutions Follows              offering at least one distance education course with regard to size and type
                                  of school. Our survey results showed that Historically Black Colleges and
National Trends with              Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions with 3,001 to 9,999 students
Regard to Size and Type of        were more than twice as likely to offer distance education courses as
School Offering at Least          schools with 2,000 or fewer students (see fig. 5). Similarly, in July 2003,
One Distance Education            Education reported that a higher percentage of larger schools eligible for
Course                            federal student aid programs offered distance education compared with
                                  smaller schools. Education reported its results using somewhat different
                                  size categories than the ones we used in our questionnaire, so the results
                                  cannot be presented side by side for comparative purposes. However,
                                  according to Education’s report, the distribution was much the same:
                                  41 percent of the schools with an enrollment of less than 3,000 offered
                                  distance education courses, compared with 88 percent of the schools with
                                  an enrollment of 3,000 to 9,999 and 95 percent of the schools with an
                                  enrollment of greater than 10,000.




                                  Page 18                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 5: Higher Percentage of Larger Historically Black Colleges and Universities
and Hispanic Serving Institutions Offer Distance Education

Percentage offering distance education
100



 80



 60



 40



 20



  0
         0-2,000          2,001-3,000        3,001-9,999
      Enrollment at Minority Serving Institutions

                 Historically Black Colleges and Universities

                 Hispanic Serving Institutions

Source: GAO’s Minority Serving Institution survey.




Our survey disclosed that Tribal Colleges, even though all have fewer than
2,000 students, were noticeably different from Historically Black Colleges
and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions in the extent to which
they were involved with distance education. Among Tribal Colleges,
65 percent offered at least one distance education course, compared with
34 percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 33 percent
of Hispanic Serving Institutions with 2,000 or fewer students. Our site
visits to these schools raised several possible explanations. Potential
students of many Tribal Colleges live in communities dispersed over large
geographic areas—in some cases, potential students might live over a
hundred miles from the nearest Tribal College or satellite campus—
making it difficult or impossible for some students to commute to these
schools. In these cases, distance education is an appealing way to deliver
courses to remote locations. Also, officials at one Tribal College told us
that some residents of reservations may be place-bound due to tribal and
familial responsibilities, making distance education one of the few realistic
postsecondary education options. Also important, according to some



Page 19                                                         GAO-03-900 Distance Education
officials, is that tribal residents have expressed an interest in enrolling in
distance education courses.

With regard to type of school, Minority Serving Institutions mirrored the
national trend in that the percentage of Minority Serving Institutions
offering distance education was higher among public than private
institutions (see fig. 6). Among public Historically Black Colleges and
Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, about 80 percent or more
offered distance education; these percentages dropped by 20 percent or
more for private nonprofit schools and was even lower for private for-
profit schools. Similarly, Education’s survey showed that about 90 percent
of 4-year public institutions offered distance education, compared with
40 percent of private institutions.

Figure 6: Higher Percentage of Public Minority Serving Institutions Offer Distance
Education




Page 20                                              GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Historically Black Colleges   While roughly the same percentage of Minority Serving Institutions offered
and Universities and Tribal   at least one distance education course as non-Minority Serving
Colleges Tend to Offer        Institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal
                              Colleges tended to offer fewer courses. For example, of the schools that
Fewer Distance Education      offered at least one distance education course, 52 percent of the
Courses                       Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 61 percent of Tribal
                              Colleges offered 10 or fewer undergraduate distance education courses.
                              By contrast, only 27 percent of 2-year and 4-year institutions that offered
                              at least one distance education course and that were eligible for the
                              federal student aid programs offered 10 or fewer distance education
                              courses, according to Education’s survey. Similarly, about 25 percent of
                              Hispanic Serving Institutions that offered at least one distance education
                              course also offered 10 or fewer courses. To some extent, these differences
                              may reflect the fact that Historically Black Colleges and Universities and
                              Tribal Colleges, as a group, are smaller than other institutions. The
                              relationship discussed earlier about an institution’s enrollment and the
                              size of its distance education program may help explain why the number
                              of courses offered via distance education are generally smaller at these
                              two types of Minority Serving Institutions.

                              While the overall size of the distance education programs was smaller, the
                              percentage of Minority Serving Institutions offering degree programs
                              through distance education was close to that of other schools. Education
                              reported that about 19 percent of 2-year and 4-year institutions eligible for
                              the federal student aid programs offered degree or certificate programs
                              that could be earned entirely through distance education. Similarly, about
                              19 percent of Hispanic Serving Institutions and about 17 percent of
                              Historically Black Colleges and Universities offered degree or certificate
                              programs through distance education (see fig. 7). The percentage was
                              lower for Tribal Colleges (11 percent).




                              Page 21                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                               Figure 7: Percent of Minority Serving Institutions Offering Degree Programs Is
                               about the Same or Less Than Other Schools

                               Percentage
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                                    Minority Serving Institutions
                               Source: Department of Education and GAO Minority Serving Institution survey.




Fewer Minority Students        By analyzing Education’s NPSAS database, we were also able to make
Take Distance Education        some comparisons of the number of students taking distance education
Courses                        courses at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving
                               Institutions, and non-Minority Serving Institutions. We were unable to
                               develop data on the extent that Tribal College students use distance
                               education because NPSAS included data from only one Tribal College.
                               There appears to be a difference between minority students and other
                               students in the extent to which they are involved with distance education
                               courses. More specifically:

                          •	   Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities tend to use
                               distance education to a lesser extent than students at other schools. In
                               school year 1999-2000, about 6 percent of undergraduate students at
                               Historically Black Colleges and Universities enrolled in at least one
                               distance education course and about 1.1 percent took their entire program
                               through distance education. By comparison, 8.4 percent of undergraduates
                               at other schools enrolled in at least one distance education course, and



                               Page 22                                                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
     2.5 percent took their entire program through distance education. These
     differences may reflect the fact that Historically Black Colleges and
     Universities generally offer fewer distance education courses than non-
     Minority Serving Institutions.

•	   Hispanic students attending Hispanic Serving Institutions use distance
     education at a lower rate than other students at the same schools. About
     51 percent of the undergraduates at Hispanic Serving Institutions are
     Hispanic, but they comprise only about 40 percent of the undergraduate
     students enrolled in distance education classes. This difference is
     statistically significant. Similarly, our analysis also shows that the greater
     the percentage of Hispanic students at the institution, the lower the overall
     rate of distance education use at that school.

     We analyzed student characteristics, such as their age and income, to
     determine if these characteristics could explain why these students were
     less involved in distance education, but our analysis did not establish such
     a link. The analysis showed that distance education students are more
     likely to be older, married, independent, a part-time student, and have a
     higher income than the average postsecondary student. Conversely, the
     average student at Historically Black Colleges and Universities is more
     likely to be younger, single, dependent, a full-time student, and have a
     lower income than the average postsecondary student, and to a somewhat
     lesser degree, the characteristics of students at Hispanic Serving
     Institutions tend to follow the same pattern. When we conducted a logistic
     regression analysis16 to analyze these differences more carefully, we did
     not find that these characteristics tended to explain the extent to which a
     student is involved in distance education. Among the characteristics that
     we describe above, only a single student characteristic—marital status—
     was associated with whether a student enrolls in distance education, and
     this relationship was limited. This suggests that there may be other
     reasons, such as fewer courses being offered, that help explain why a
     smaller percentage of students at Historically Black Colleges and Hispanic
     students at Hispanic Serving Institutions enroll in distance education
     courses.




     16
      Logistic regression procedures are often used to estimate the size and significance of the
     associations of different factors, such as marital status, age, and family income with a
     discrete or categorical outcome, such as whether a student did (or did not) take a distance
     education course in the past year.




     Page 23                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                                   According to officials of Minority Serving Institutions, there are two
Teaching Preference                factors that explain why some Minority Serving Institutions do not offer
and Resources                      distance education. First, nearly half of Historically Black Colleges and
                                   Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions did not offer any distance
Available for Distance             education because they preferred to teach their students in the classroom
Education Affect the               rather than through distance education. Limited resources is the second
                                   factor reported by schools for not providing distance education. In
Extent to Which                    addition, when placed within a broader context of technology
Minority Serving                   improvements, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic
Institutions Offer                 Serving Institutions viewed distance education as a relatively low priority
                                   when compared to other purposes, such as increasing the use of
Distance Education                 information technology in the classroom. Most Tribal Colleges also viewed
                                   expanding technology usage on campus as a high priority, but they more
                                   frequently considered distance education a higher priority than
                                   Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving
                                   Institutions.


By Design, Some Minority           To a great degree or very great degree, nearly half of Historically Black
Serving Institutions Prefer        Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions indicated that
Not to Offer Distance              they do not offer distance education because classroom education best
                                   meets the needs of their students.17 Conversely, only 10 percent of Tribal
Education                          Colleges that are not involved in distance education indicated that
                                   classroom education best meets the needs of their students. Here are
                                   examples from two schools that prefer teaching their students in the
                                   classroom rather than by the use of distance education.

                              •	   Howard University, an Historically Black University in Washington, D.C.,
                                   with about 10,000 students, has substantial information technology;
                                   however, it prefers to use the technology in teaching undergraduates on
                                   campus rather than through developing and offering distance education.
                                   The University has state-of-the-art hardware and software, such as
                                   wireless access to the school’s network; a digital auditorium; and a
                                   24-hour-a-day Technology Center, which support and enhance the
                                   academic achievement for its students. Despite its technological
                                   capabilities, the University does not offer distance education courses to
                                   undergraduates and has no plans to do so. According to the Dean of
                                   Scholarships and Financial Aid, the University prefers teaching
                                   undergraduates in the classroom because more self-discipline is needed


                                   17
                                    Forty-four percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 37 percent of Hispanic
                                   Serving Institutions, and 39 percent of Tribal Colleges do not offer any distance education.




                                   Page 24                                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                               when taking distance education courses. Also, many undergraduates
                               benefit from the support provided by students and faculty in a classroom
                               setting.

                          •	   Robert Morris College is a private nonprofit Hispanic Serving Institution
                               located in Chicago, Illinois, that offers bachelor degrees in business,
                               computer technology, and health sciences. About 25 percent of its
                               6,200 undergraduates are Hispanic. Although the College has one
                               computer for every four students, it does not offer distance education
                               courses and has no plans to do so. School officials believe that classroom
                               education best meets the needs of its students because of the personal
                               interaction that occurs in a classroom setting.

Some Schools Would Like        Among Minority Serving Institutions that do not offer distance education,
to Offer More Distance         over 50 percent would like to offer distance education in the future, but
Education, but Have            indicated that they have limited resources with which to do so. About half
                               of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving
Limited Resources to Do        Institutions that do not offer distance education indicated that they do not
So                             have the necessary technology—including students with access to
                               computers or the Internet at their residences—for distance education. A
                               higher percentage of Tribal Colleges (67 percent) cited limitations in
                               technology as a reason why they do not offer distance education.
                               Technological limitations are twofold for Tribal Colleges. The first, and
                               more obvious limitation is a lack of resources to purchase and develop
                               needed technologies. The second is that due to the remote location of
                               some campuses, schools do not have access to needed technology—that
                               is, schools may be limited to the technology of the surrounding
                               communities. For example, a school cannot purchase certain technologies
                               that are not provided in those communities. All 10 Tribal Colleges that did
                               not offer distance education indicated that improvements in technology,
                               such as videoconference equipment and network infrastructure with
                               greater speed, would be helpful. Here are some examples of how resource
                               limitations impact development of distance education programs at
                               Minority Serving Institutions.

                          •	   Little Priest Tribal College, located on the Winnebago Indian Reservation
                               in northeastern Nebraska, does not offer any distance education courses,
                               but would like to do so in the future. The college serves about 160
                               undergraduates and the Academic Dean indicated that two-way
                               videoconference equipment and support personnel would be needed in
                               order to offer distance education courses. She said that the school would
                               like to offer courses in the native language (called Ho Chunk) of the
                               Winnebago Tribe. Currently, a native speaker capable of teaching the



                               Page 25                                         GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                            language resides in Wisconsin–hundreds of miles from the Winnebago
                            reservation. Having such equipment would allow the instructor to teach
                            the native language to students who attend classes on campus, according
                            to the Academic Dean.

                       •	   Fisk University, an Historically Black University in Nashville, Tennessee,
                            serves about 800 undergraduates and about 30 graduate students. The
                            school does not offer distance education courses, but hopes to do so in the
                            future. The Director, Academic Computing, indicated that distance
                            education would help supplement the curriculum that the school currently
                            offers to students. The school would also like to offer on-line courses in
                            African-American History, however, it currently does not have the
                            information technology equipment for distance education.

For Many Institutions,      Minority Serving Institutions generally indicated that offering more
Expanding Technology on     distance education was a lower priority than using technology to educate
Campus is More Important    their classroom students. All of the institutions reported that their highest
                            priority was providing more training for faculty in the use of information
Than Applying It to         technology as a teaching method. Other priorities included improving
Distance Education          network infrastructure, increasing the use of technology in classrooms,
                            and guaranteeing that all students have access to a computer. (See fig. 8
                            for a comparison of how distance education compares to other selected
                            technology goals.)




                            Page 26                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 8: Distance Education Generally Ranks Lower in Relation to Other Technology Goals

Priorities

Providing more training for faculty in the
     use of information technology as a
                       teaching method


         Increasing the use of information
              technology in the classroom



         Improving network infrastructure



     Guaranteeing that all students have
                  access to a computer


 Increasing the number of students who
             have access to the Internet


Providing more training to faculty in the
use of distance education as a teaching
                                 method


              Providing more training for
         students in the use of computers


       Increasing the number of distance
                     education programs

                                                     0                      20                        40                   60            80               100
                                                     Percentage

                                                                            Historically Black Colleges and Universities

                                                                            Hispanic Serving Institutions

                                                                            Tribal Colleges

Source: GAO’s Minority Serving Institution survey.




                                                                  Minority Serving Institutions indicated that they expect to have difficulties
                                                                  in meeting their goals related to technology. Eighty-seven percent of Tribal
                                                                  Colleges, 83 percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and
                                                                  82 percent of Hispanic Serving Institutions cited limitations in funding as a
                                                                  primary reason for why they may not achieve their technology-related
                                                                  goals. For example, the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in
                                                                  Albuquerque, New Mexico, serves about 670 students and it uses distance
                                                                  education to provide courses for an associates degree in early childhood
                                                                  development to about 100 students. The school uses two-way satellite



                                                                  Page 27                                                       GAO-03-900 Distance Education
communication and transmits the courses to 11 remote locations.
According to a technology specialist at the school, this form of distance
education is expensive compared to other methods. As an alternative, the
Institute would like to establish two-way teleconferencing capability and
Internet access at the off-site locations as a means of expanding
educational opportunities. School officials noted, however, that many of
the locations have no telephone or Internet service because they are in
such remote areas of the state.

About half of the schools also noted that they might experience difficulty
in meeting their goals because they did not have enough staff to operate
and maintain information technology and to help faculty apply technology.
For example, officials at Diné College, a Tribal College on the Navajo
Reservation, told us they have not been able to fill a systems analyst
position for the last 3 years. School officials cited their remote location
and the fact that they are offering relatively low pay as problems in
attracting employees that have skills in operating and maintaining
technology equipment.

Having a systematic approach to expanding technology on campuses is an
important step toward modernizing and evaluating technology at
postsecondary schools. About 75 percent of Historically Black Colleges
and Universities, 70 percent of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and only
48 percent of Tribal Colleges had completed a strategic plan for expanding
their technology infrastructure. Fewer schools had completed a financial
plan for funding technology improvements. About half of Historically
Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, and
19 percent of Tribal Colleges have a financial plan for expanding their
information technology (see fig. 9).




Page 28                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Figure 9: Percentage of Minority Serving Institutions That Have Strategic and
Financial Plans for Expanding Their Technology Infrastructure




Studies by other organizations describe challenges faced by Minority
Serving Institutions in expanding their technology infrastructure. For
example, an October 2000 study by Booz, Allen, and Hamilton determined
that historically or predominantly Black colleges identified challenges in
funding, strategic planning, and keeping equipment up to date. An October
2000 report by the Department of Commerce found that most Historically
Black Colleges and Universities have access to computing resources, such
as high-speed Internet capabilities but individual student access to campus
networks is seriously deficient due to, among other things, lack of student
ownership of computers or lack of access from campus dormitories. An
April 2003 Senate Report noted that only one Tribal College has funding
for high-speed Internet.




Page 29                                              GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                            Education is taking steps to monitor the extent to which its grants are
Education Can               improving the use of technology by Minority Serving Institutions; however,
Further Refine Its          its efforts could be improved in two ways. First, as Education creates a
                            new system for measuring the outcomes of its grants, it has opportunities
Programs for                to more completely capture technology-related information, including
Monitoring                  distance education, across the three major types of Minority Serving
                            Institutions. Second, although Education has set a goal of improving
Technology Usage at         technology capacity at Minority Serving Institutions, it has not yet
Minority Serving            developed a baseline against which progress can be measured. If
Institutions                Education is to be successful in developing such baseline data, it may need
                            to examine the potential use of its existing research efforts, such as
                            IPEDS. IPEDS is currently used to capture information on the different
                            characteristics of institutions involved in the federal student aid programs.
                            Education has studied the possibility of including technology-related
                            information in IPEDS, but so far, has yet to make a decision on this matter.


Education Has Made          Increasing the technological capacity of Historically Black Colleges and
Progress in Tracking        Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges is one goal
Outcomes of Title III and   Education has identified in its 2002-03 annual performance plan.
                            Education’s efforts are part of a larger effort by the administration to
Title V Programs, but       emphasize the outcomes of federal programs. According to the Office of
Additional Improvements     Management and Budget, improving programs by focusing on results is an
May Be Needed to Ensure     integral component of the administration’s budget preparation process. In
More Complete Coverage      this regard, Education has made progress in tracking outcomes of its Title
Across the Major Types of   III and Title V programs, but additional improvements may be needed to
Minority Serving            make its efforts more complete across the three major types of Minority
                            Serving Institutions.
Institutions
                            In spring 2000, Title III and Title V program staff began an effort to
                            improve the program monitoring system. As part of these efforts,
                            Education wanted to develop a system that can capture information to
                            demonstrate how grants improve the education of students that Minority
                            Serving Institutions serve. Among the activities that Education and
                            grantees discussed were how grants are being used to improve
                            information technology on campuses and how best to collect information
                            on how such efforts improve the education of students. For example,
                            program staff held a series of four meetings with about 200 schools and
                            conducted telephone conferences with another 90 institutions to obtain
                            feedback on the format and effectiveness of the draft annual performance
                            report. The Office of Management and Budget reviewed and approved the
                            annual performance report and commended Education for “substantial
                            revisions” made to its performance reporting system and “meaningful


                            Page 30                                         GAO-03-900 Distance Education
interaction with stakeholders.” In March 2003, Education received the first
set of data from its grantees for its annual performance report. According
to staff responsible for the annual performance report, the new monitoring
effort is a “work in progress” and continued improvements and revisions
will likely occur later this year.

In this regard, the progress Education has made in developing an annual
performance report that focuses on results is a major step toward
improving program performance, however, additional improvements may
be needed. More specifically, we found that the way Education tracks the
usage of grant funds for technology improvements among Minority Serving
Institutions may not completely reflect how Historically Black Colleges
and Universities and Tribal Colleges use their grants. The tracking of
technology-related information appears to be adequate for Hispanic
Serving Institutions. (See table 3.) For example, Education’s tracking
effort for Hispanic Serving Institutions includes the extent to which
program funds (1) improve student and faculty access to the Internet,
(2) increase the number of computers available to students outside of
classrooms, and (3) expand the number of new distance education courses
and students. Similar information is not collected for Historically Black
Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges even though a substantial
number of these schools use grant funds to expand distance education
offerings or to improve technology on campus. Eight of the 11 Tribal
Colleges that received new Title III grants in 2001 stated that funds would
be used to develop or expand technology usage, including distance
education. Similarly, between 1999-2001, about 23 percent of Historically
Black Colleges and Universities that responded to our survey indicated
that they used Title III funds on distance education.




Page 31                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Table 3: Differences in the Types of Activities Monitored by Education in Minority
Serving Institution Annual Reports

                                                                   Minority Serving Institution reports
    Activities monitored by                                                                   Hispanic
    Education in annual                                  Historically Black                   Serving                    Tribal
    performance reports for                                Colleges and                     Institutions               Colleges
    Title III (part B), Title V (part A),                Universities (Title                   (Title V                 (Title III
    and Title III (part A)                                  III (part B))                     (part A))                (part A))
    Increase in the number of “wired”                               Yesa                          Yes                      Yes
    classrooms
    Offer training to faculty in the use                            Yes                           Yes                      Yes
    of technology
    Increase student access to the                                  Noa                           Yes                       No
    Internet
    Increase the number of computers                                 No                           Yes                       No
    available to students outside of
    the classroom
    Increase the number of courses                                   No                           Yes                       No
    using technology
    Increase the number of students                                  No                           Yes                       No
    taking courses using technology
    Increase the number of students                                  No                           Yes                       No
    using distance learning
Source: Department of Education and GAO analysis of Education’s Annual Performance Reports for Title III, part A, Title III, part B, and
Title V, part A of the Higher Education Act, as amended.
a
 A “yes” response indicates that the information was collected in the report. A “no” response indicates
that the information was not collected in the report.


According to managers of the Titles III and V programs, the differences in
the types of information on activities and outcomes that are captured for
each report stems from differences in the titles themselves. Title V, part A,
under which funds are provided to Hispanic Serving Institutions, explicitly
allows program funds to be used for “creating or improving facilities for
Internet or other distance learning academic instruction capabilities,
including purchase or rental of telecommunications technology equipment
or services.” The program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(Title III, part B) and Tribal Colleges (Title III, part A) does not specifically
address the use of funds in this manner, however, using grant funds for
expanding distance education offerings or technology usage are
authorized activities, according to Education staff. Inasmuch as Minority
Serving Institutions indicated in their questionnaire responses that they
have an interest in expanding both the use of technology in the classroom
and distance education, it may be appropriate to make the annual
performance reports as inclusive as possible.



Page 32                                                                               GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Education Does Not Have     One difficulty that Education will encounter in attempting to judge the
Baseline Data to Measure    extent to which Minority Serving Institutions are increasing their
Technological Capacity at   technological capacity is that it has no baseline to measure against.
                            Education may have opportunities to fill this void by expanding its existing
Minority Serving            research efforts to include data on technology usage and capabilities at all
Institutions                schools, including Minority Serving Institutions.18 One vehicle for
                            accomplishing this could be through IPEDS, a product of one of
                            Education’s research efforts that is conducted annually and that contains
                            data on the characteristics of institutions and their students’ eligibility for
                            federal student aid programs.

                            Although Education has researched the usage of distance education19 at
                            postsecondary institutions, it does not collect data from postsecondary
                            institutions on the capacity of or improvements in their technology
                            infrastructure. The growing use of technology by postsecondary
                            institutions has surfaced as an important area of research in recent years
                            and Education has held meetings on how to measure technology capacity
                            at postsecondary institutions. Staff from the Title III and Title V programs
                            indicated that having such data for Minority Serving Institutions and other
                            institutions would provide a national perspective on technology
                            infrastructure at these schools. However, according to other Education
                            officials, two issues need to be addressed before such a change can be
                            made. First, there are different views on how to accurately measure
                            technology infrastructure at postsecondary institutions. For example, in
                            determining how many computers are available to students at a school,
                            there is no agreement on whether personal computers, computers in the
                            library, and computers for faculty should be included in total or in part.
                            Second, before Education expands any of its data collection efforts, Office



                            18
                              Education recognizes the importance of its research to policymakers and other users.
                            Education stated in its 2002-03 annual plan that it will focus Education’s research activities
                            on topics of greatest relevance. In this regard, the Congress has expressed interest in
                            information technology at Minority Institutions. In April 2003, the Senate passed S. 196,
                            Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act of 2003 to
                            strengthen technology infrastructure at Minority Serving Institutions. If enacted, this
                            statute would create a new grant program at the National Science Foundation for funding
                            technology improvements at institutions that serve a high percentage of minority students.
                            19
                             The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics has produced
                            several reports on distance education, including Distance Education at Degree-Granting
                            Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001 (Washington D.C.: July 2003) and Distance
                            Education Instruction by Postsecondary Faculty and Staff: Fall 1998 (Washington D.C.:
                            February 2002). While the reports provide aggregate data on distance education, they do
                            not provide data on distance education at Minority Serving Institutions.




                            Page 33                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                  of Management and Budget regulations20 that implement the Paperwork
                  Reduction Act require agencies to evaluate, among other things, the need
                  for collecting data and the costs to respondents of generating, maintaining,
                  or providing the data. Education would need to determine how best to
                  resolve these issues before moving forward with any changes.


                  Minority Serving Institutions view the use of technology as a critical tool
Conclusions       in educating their students. Technology allows greater access to the latest
                  research and to a broader array of information. Ultimately, Minority
                  Serving Institutions, like other schools, face stiff challenges in keeping
                  pace with the rapid changes and opportunities presented by information
                  technology.

                  In creating the Title III and Title V programs, the Congress acknowledged
                  that Minority Serving Institutions have historically had limited resources
                  to invest in educating their students when compared to other institutions.
                  More complete data on how Historically Black Colleges and Universities
                  and Tribal Colleges use Title III funds for improving technology on
                  campus, and thus, the education of students, would help inform program
                  managers and policymakers about progress that has been made and
                  opportunities for improvement. Additionally, as Education examines the
                  many research efforts it has, it may find it beneficial to collect information
                  on distance education and technology capacity at postsecondary
                  institutions. Doing so would provide baseline data on Minority Serving
                  Institutions and the progress they make in improving their technology
                  capacity.


                  We recommend that the Secretary of Education (1) direct managers of the
Recommendations   Title III and Title V programs to further improve their annual performance
                  report for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges
                  by including areas such as student access to computers and the number of
                  distance education courses that were offered and (2) study the feasibility
                  of adding questions on distance education and information technology to
                  an existing study at Education, such as IPEDS, to develop baseline data on
                  technology capacity at Minority Serving Institutions and to judge the
                  extent to which progress is being made.




                  20
                       5 C.F.R., part 1320.




                  Page 34                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                  In commenting on a draft of this report, Education generally agreed with
Agency Comments   our findings and recommendations. Specifically, Education agreed to
                  broaden its monitoring of Title III and Title V programs to ensure that
                  appropriate information about the needs of institutions in the area of
                  distance learning and technology for course delivery are considered.
                  Education generally agreed with our second recommendation to study the
                  feasibility of adding questions on distance education and information
                  technology to existing research efforts that it carries out. Education stated
                  that it would explore expanding the sample of the Postsecondary
                  Education Quick Information System (PEQIS) to include more Minority
                  Serving Institutions. According to Education, PEQIS is used to collect
                  information on topics of national importance from postsecondary
                  institutions. Education used PEQIS to collect data for three distance
                  education studies, including the most recent, Distance Education at
                  Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001, data from
                  which we used in this report. Also, Education stated that it would consider
                  our specific suggestion related to what data could be collected from
                  institutions under IPEDS. In addition to commenting on our
                  recommendations, Education offered some technical comments on the
                  report and we revised the draft report when appropriate. Education’s
                  written comments are reprinted in appendix V.

                  As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents 

                  earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 24 days from its 

                  issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this report to appropriate 

                  congressional committees, the Secretary of Education, and other 

                  interested parties. In addition, this report will be available at no charge on

                  GAO’s Web site at http://www.gao.gov. 


                  If you or members of your staffs have any questions regarding this report, 

                  please call me on (202) 512-8403. Other contacts and acknowledgments 

                  are listed in appendix VI.





                  Cornelia M. Ashby 

                  Director, Education, Workforce, 

                   and Income Security 





                  Page 35                                           GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology 



              To determine whether the use of distance education varies between
              Minority Serving Institutions and non-Minority Serving Institutions, we
              developed and sent questionnaires to a fall 2000 list of 108 Historically
              Black Colleges and Universities,1 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions, and
              32 Tribal Colleges2 that we received from Education. Each type of school
              received a distinct questionnaire. The questionnaires had questions on
              whether the institution offered distance education, and if so, how many
              courses and degree programs were offered. The response rate to each
              questionnaire was 78 percent for Historically Black Colleges and
              Universities, 75 percent for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and 82 percent
              for Tribal Colleges. We compared the results of the survey with a July
              2003 report from Education’s National Center for Education Statistics
              entitled Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary
              Education Institutions: 2000-2001. This survey was sent to over
              1,600 2-year and 4-year degree granting institutions that were eligible for
              the federal student aid programs and provided information on distance
              education offerings by these schools. We also analyzed the National
              Postsecondary Student Aid Survey (NPSAS) to determine the extent that
              students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic
              Serving Institutions enrolled in distance education courses. NPSAS
              contains information on characteristics of students who attended
              postsecondary institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and
              Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions in the 1999-2000 school year.
              NPSAS contained information on students at only one Tribal College, so
              we were unable to develop similar information for students attending
              Tribal Colleges. Finally, we analyzed IPEDS to develop data on the
              institutional characteristics of Minority Serving Institutions.




              1
               When we analyzed the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we
              limited our work to the 102 Historically Black Colleges and Universities that were eligible
              for the federal student aid programs. For our survey instrument, we received a list of
              108 Historically Black Colleges and Universities from Education. Five of the schools were
              not eligible for federal student aid programs in 2000-01 (Carver State Technical College;
              Selma University; Shorter College; Natchez College, and Knoxville College). A sixth school,
              Hinds Community College-Utica Campus had reported itself as part of the main campus by
              the time we conducted our analysis of IPEDS.
              2
                When we analyzed IPEDS, we limited our work to the 29 Tribal Colleges eligible for the
              federal student aid programs. For our survey instrument, we received a list of 32 Tribal
              Colleges from Education. Three of the schools were not eligible for the federal student aid
              program in 2000-01 (Si Tanka College; White Earth Tribal and Community College, and
              Medicine Creek Tribal College).




              Page 36                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




To determine what factors account for any differences in usage of distance
education between Minority Serving Institutions and non-Minority Serving
Institutions, we developed statistics from NPSAS on the characteristics of
students enrolled in distance education and those that were not. We
conducted logistic regression—a type of analysis that is designed to show
the influence of one or several variables on another variable to see
whether student characteristics, such as age and income influenced their
involvement in distance education at Minority Serving Institutions. We
also used the results from our survey to see if different characteristics of
Minority Serving Institutions, such as their size, location in rural or urban
areas, and type of funding sources, such as whether the school was public
or private nonprofit, had any bearing on whether the school offered
distance education. Additionally, we used the results of our survey to see
whether institutional strategies for teaching students may have had any
effect on whether schools offered distance education.

To determine what factors Minority Serving Institutions consider when
deciding whether to offer distance education, we used the results from our
survey. To determine what steps Education could take, if any, to improve
its monitoring of the results of their Title III (part A) and (part B) and Title
V (part A) programs as it relates to improvements in technology, including
distance education, we also used the results from our survey. Additionally,
we reviewed the statutes that created programs for Historically Black
Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal
Colleges. We interviewed managers of these programs and obtained and
reviewed documents related to Education’s performance measures and
goals.

To develop our survey instruments, we interviewed officials at
organizations that represent Minority Serving Institutions, including the
United Negro College Fund, the National Association for Equal
Opportunity in Higher Education, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and
Universities, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. We
developed and pretested our questionnaire during visits to 6 Historically
Black Colleges and Universities—Morgan State University in Baltimore,
Maryland; Howard University in the District of Columbia; Johnson C.
Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina; Xavier University in New
Orleans, Louisiana; Wiley College in Marshall, Texas; and Texas College in
Tyler, Texas. Also, we developed and pretested our survey at 5 Hispanic
Serving Institutions—San Antonio Community College in San Antonio,
Texas; University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas; Rio Hondo
College in Whittier, California; East Los Angeles College in Monterrey
Park, California; and National Hispanic University in San Jose, California.


Page 37                                           GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




We also developed and pretested our survey at 4 Tribal Colleges—
Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington; Diné College in
Tsaile, Arizona; Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque,
New Mexico; and D-Q University in Davis, California. In addition, to obtain
additional information based on the results provided by Minority Serving
Institutions, we visited and interviewed officials at Delaware State
University in Dover, Delaware; Gavilan College in Gilroy, California; and
Salish-Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana. To obtain additional
information on how non-Minority Serving Institutions fund their distance
education programs, we visited Cabrillo College in Aptos, California;
Montana Tech in Butte, Montana; and the University of Delaware in
Newark, Delaware.

Finally, we reviewed studies on the history and use of technology at
Minority Serving Institutions. The studies included Historically Black
Colleges and Universities (An Assessment of Networking and
Connectivity), Department of Commerce, October 2000; Historically
Black Public Colleges and Universities: An Assessment of Current
Information Technology Usage, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund,
October 2000; Latinos and Information Technology—The Promise and
the Challenge, The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, February 2002; Tribal
Colleges: An Introduction, American Indian Higher Education
Consortium, February 1999; and The Power of the Internet for Learning:
Moving From Promise to Practice, Report of the Web-Based Education
Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States,
December 2000.

We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards between October 2002 and September
2003.




Page 38                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix II: Historically Black Colleges and
Universities

               In most ways, Historically Black Colleges and Universities provide the
               same educational opportunities found at other schools. The Department of
               Education reported that there were 102 Historically Black Colleges and
               Universities in 20 states as well as the District of Columbia, and one in the
               Virgin Islands that were participating in federal student aid programs in
               the 2000-01 school year. Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer
               a variety of degrees—from associates to doctoral. They are comprised of
               technical colleges, community colleges, public colleges, private colleges,
               and both religious and nonsectarian schools. They range in size from large
               (12,000 students at Florida A&M) to small (under 100 students at Clinton
               Junior College and Texas College). In other ways, there are distinctions to
               be made between Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other
               schools. The clearest distinctions are in the students they serve, and in the
               histories and missions of the institutions.


History        The 102 institutions recognized as Historically Black Colleges and
               Universities were established at various times in the nation’s history in
               response to historical circumstances that limited educational
               opportunities for Black students. The earliest of the Historically Black
               Colleges and Universities precede the Civil War when abolitionists from
               the North founded formal institutions of higher learning for Black
               Americans. This first wave of establishing Historically Black Colleges and
               Universities began in 1837, when Richard Humphreys, a Quaker
               philanthropist, founded Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, with the
               purpose of educating free Blacks and emancipated slaves. Other pre-Civil
               War Historically Black Colleges and Universities that were founded to
               educate freed slaves include Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, founded
               in 1854; Wilberforce University in Ohio, founded in 1856; and Harris-Stowe
               State College in Missouri, founded in 1857.

               The second wave of creating Historically Black Colleges and Universities
               began after the Civil War. More than four million slaves and free Blacks
               were illiterate at the time of emancipation in 1865. Between 1870 and
               1890, 13 public colleges were established, including Virginia State
               University in Virginia and Claflin College in South Carolina. The founding
               of private schools, however, represented the largest portion of the second
               wave of school creation. Between 1865 and 1890, 37 privately supported
               Black colleges were created. Schools such as these were founded and
               funded by missionary philanthropists who supported education for Black
               Americans as a way to bring about racial equality. Included in this group
               are schools such as Morehouse College in Georgia and Stillman College in
               Alabama.


               Page 39                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix II: Historically Black Colleges and
Universities




Federal support for Black institutions of higher education grew in the late
1800s. This support resulted, in part, from the passage of the Morrill Act of
1890—which prompted the third wave of creating Historically Black
Colleges and Universities in this country. Under the Morrill Act of
1890,1 the Congress made available land grants for the establishment of
institutions of higher education under the condition that land-grant
schools could not discriminate in their admissions policies based on race.
States that did not want to create integrated institutions could use the
grants to create racially segregated schools, provided that the funding was
divided equitably between the institutions. Land-grant colleges and
universities were required to teach practical industrial subjects, such as
agriculture and mechanical arts. The Morrill Act of 1890 helped to fund
20 of today’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Alcorn
State University in Mississippi, Florida A&M University, and Tuskegee
University in Alabama.

The Higher Education Act was originally passed in 1965. Title III of this act
provides financial assistance to institutions of higher education with low
per-student expenditures, large numbers of financially disadvantaged
students, or a large proportion of minority students. Title III, part B of the
act provides grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are
determined by the Secretary of Education to meet the statutory definition
of such institutions.2 The purpose of Title III, part B is to provide financial
assistance to establish or strengthen the physical plants, financial
management, academic resources, and endowments of Historically Black
Colleges and Universities. Total funding under Title III, part B for
Historically Black Colleges and Universities has increased from
$136 million, funding 98 institutions in fiscal year 1999, to $206 million,
funding 99 institutions in fiscal year 2002, or an increase of about
51 percent. Additionally, funding for graduate program opportunities at



1
  During the Civil War, in 1862, the Congress passed the First Morrill Act, which provided
funding in the form of land grants to states for founding institutions of higher education.
Land-grant colleges were intended to educate students in agriculture and the mechanical
arts.
2
 The definition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, found at 20 U.S.C. 1061(2)
is threefold. First, Historically Black Colleges and Universities had to be established before
1964. Second, the institution’s principal mission had to be then, as now, the education of
Black Americans. Third, the institution must be accredited by a nationally recognized
accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education to be a reliable
authority as to the quality of training offered, or is, according to such an agency or
association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.




Page 40                                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                            Appendix II: Historically Black Colleges and
                            Universities




                            Historically Black Colleges and Universities has increased 50 percent from
                            $30 million in fiscal year 1999 to $49 million in fiscal year 2002.


Characteristics of          In the 2000-01 school year, there were 102 Historically Black Colleges and
Historically Black          Universities eligible for the federal student aid programs. These schools
Colleges and Universities   were located in 20 states—primarily in the Southern and Eastern portion
                            of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. Our
                            analysis of the 2000-01 IPEDS shows that while Historically Black Colleges
                            and Universities were only 2 percent of all public and nonprofit
                            postsecondary institutions, in the fall of 2000 they enrolled 14 percent
                            (223,359) of Black non-Hispanic students in the United States.3 The
                            percent of Black non-Hispanic students at a Historically Black College or
                            University in the fall of 2000 ranged from 100 percent at 5 institutions
                            (Clinton Junior College and Morris College in South Carolina, Johnson C.
                            Smith University in North Carolina, Tougaloo in Mississippi, and Miles
                            College in Alabama) to 10 percent at Bluefield State College in West
                            Virginia, with an average of 85 percent. In comparison, non-Historically
                            Black Colleges and Universities averaged around 10 percent Black
                            students in the fall of 2000.

                            Historically Black Colleges and Universities offer a range of degrees from
                            different types of institutions. Degrees offered in 2000-01 included
                            associate, bachelor, master, first professional, and doctoral. Eighty-seven
                            percent offered a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of the 102 Historically Black
                            Colleges and Universities, about half were private nonprofit institutions,
                            and about half were public institutions. There are no private for-profit
                            Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Additionally, there are single
                            gender schools, such as Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia—a women’s
                            college—and one Catholic Historically Black University—Xavier
                            University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

                            Historically Black Colleges and Universities are generally smaller in size,
                            have lower tuitions, and smaller endowments than postsecondary
                            institutions overall.4 The average postsecondary institution is 1.4 times


                            3
                             The calculations in this section are based on data for the 2000-01 school year. This was the
                            most current complete dataset available. This section excludes institutions not eligible for
                            the federal student aid programs and for-profit institutions. The for-profit institutions are
                            excluded because there are no for-profit Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
                            4
                             Postsecondary institutions refer to all public and private nonprofit schools eligible for the
                            federal student aid programs.




                            Page 41                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                              Appendix II: Historically Black Colleges and
                              Universities




                              larger than the average Historically Black College or University. While
                              83 percent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities had
                              5,000 students or fewer, the same is true of only 78 percent of other
                              institutions. The largest Historically Black University in the fall of
                              2000 was Florida A&M with 12,126 students, compared to the largest non-
                              Historically Black University, which was the University of Texas at Austin
                              with 50,000 students.

                              Two important sources of revenue for postsecondary institutions—tuition
                              and endowments—were both lower at Historically Black Colleges and
                              Universities than at other institutions. The average in-state, undergraduate
                              tuition at public Historically Black Colleges and Universities was $1,993 in
                              the 2000-01 school year. For private Historically Black Colleges and
                              Universities, the average undergraduate tuition was $7,009. These same
                              statistics for other institutions were $2,067, and $11,480, respectively. The
                              average market value of institutional endowments for public schools at the
                              end of the 2000-01 school year was about $5 million for Historically Black
                              Colleges and Universities, but over $51 million for other public
                              institutions. Endowment data on private nonprofit schools are not
                              available in IPEDS.


Characteristics of Students   Demographic characteristics of students at Historically Black Colleges and
at Historically Black         Universities vary somewhat from national averages for postsecondary
Colleges and Universities     students. According to data from the Department of Education’s
                              1999-2000 NPSAS, the average undergraduate student at a Historically
                              Black College or University was younger than the national average of
                              undergraduate students (24.8 years old versus 26.4 years old).
                              Undergraduates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities were also
                              more likely to be single, dependent, and full-time students when compared
                              to the national average. Eleven percent of students at Historically Black
                              Colleges and Universities were married compared to 23 percent of
                              students overall, and 42 percent of students at Historically Black Colleges
                              and Universities were independent, compared to 49 percent of students
                              overall. Seventy-five percent of students at Historically Black Colleges and
                              Universities were full-time students compared to 52 percent overall.


Economic Characteristics 	    Although tuition is generally lower at Historically Black Colleges and
                              Universities, students who attend these schools are generally able to
                              contribute less to the cost of their education than are students at non-
                              Minority Serving Institutions. Median household family incomes are
                              considerably lower for Black Americans than they are for households


                              Page 42                                          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix II: Historically Black Colleges and
Universities




overall. This is reflected in one measure of a family’s ability to pay for
college—the Expected Family Contribution.5 The Expected Family
Contribution was lower in 2000-01 for families of students at Historically
Black Colleges and Universities than it was for families of students
attending other, non-Minority Serving Institutions. In the 2000-01 school
year, the average Expected Family Contribution for students attending
public non-Minority Serving Institutions was $659, while it was only
$480 for families of students at Historically Black Colleges and
Universities. Additionally, the percentage of students receiving Pell
Grants—financial aid that is available to the neediest students in the
nation—at Historically Black Colleges and Universities was 51 percent,
compared to 24 percent of students at non-Minority Serving Institutions.

Both students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their
parents have lower income levels than students and parents at other
institutions. In 1998, the average yearly income of independent students at
Historically Black Colleges and Universities was $24,508, while it was
$35,643 for independent students at non-Historically Black Colleges and
Universities. Also in 1998, the average yearly income of parents of
dependent, undergraduate students was 1.3 times higher for non-
Historically Black College and University parents—$48,311 for Historically
Black College and University parents, and $65,037 for non-Historically
Black College and University parents.




5
  Expected Family Contribution is a formula that considers family income; accumulated
savings; the amount of taxes paid; family size; the number of children simultaneously
enrolled in college; the age of the older parent and how close they may be to retirement;
and the student’s own financial resources. See 20 U.S.C. § 1087nn.




Page 43                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix III: Hispanic Serving Institutions 



               As part of the 1992 Amendments to the Higher Education Act, the
               Congress stipulated that Hispanic Serving Institutions were deserving of
               grant funds to address educational needs of Hispanic students. Education
               reported that in the 2000-01 school year, there were 334 institutions
               eligible for federal student aid programs that were located in 14 states and
               Puerto Rico that qualified as Hispanic Serving Institutions, including the
               University of Miami and the University of New Mexico. Degrees offered
               from Hispanic Serving Institutions include associate, bachelor, master,
               professional, and doctoral. In the fall of 2000, the largest Hispanic Serving
               Institution had 46,834 students and the smallest had 58 students.


History        The creation of Hispanic Serving Institutions has resulted from a growing
               Hispanic population, and attempts to move this population more fully into
               the U.S. educational system.1 Recent immigration to the United States has
               grown since the mid-1940s, with an increasing percentage of these
               immigrants coming from Latin America. The combination of high rates of
               immigration with high fertility rates among the Hispanic population has
               resulted in its being the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and
               the largest minority group. At the same time, however, Hispanics have the
               highest high school drop out rate of any group in the country, and lower
               college enrollment and completion rates than both blacks and whites.

               In 1992, the Congress added a new section to the Higher Education Act of
               1965 authorizing a grant program for Hispanic Serving Institutions.2 An
               institution is considered a Hispanic Serving Institution if its enrolled
               undergraduate full-time equivalent student population is at least
               25 percent Hispanic and not less than 50 percent of the institution’s
               Hispanic students are low-income individuals. The purpose of the grants
               is to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the academic
               attainment of, Hispanic students; and expand and enhance the academic
               offerings, program quality, and instructional stability of colleges and
               universities that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students
               and helping large numbers of Hispanic students and other low-income




               1
                People of Hispanic origin were those who indicated that their origin was Mexican, Puerto
               Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or some other Hispanic origin. Hispanics may be
               of any race.
               2
                Pub. L. No. 102-325 § 302(d) (1992).




               Page 44                                                 GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                              Appendix III: Hispanic Serving Institutions




                              individuals complete postsecondary degrees. In 1995, the first grantees3—
                              37 schools for a 5-year period—were funded after $12 million was
                              appropriated for the program. In 1998, the Congress moved the provisions
                              authorizing grants to Hispanic Serving Institutions to Title V of the Higher
                              Education Act. In fiscal year 1999 the appropriation was raised to
                              $28 million. By 2002, 172 of the 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions received
                              $86.1 million in grant funds under Title V.


Characteristics of Hispanic   In the 2000-01 school year, there were 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions
Serving Institutions          that were eligible for federal student aid programs located in 14 states and
                              Puerto Rico.4 Our analysis of the 2000-01 IPEDS shows that while Hispanic
                              Serving Institutions were only 5 percent of all postsecondary institutions
                              in the fall of 2000, they enrolled 48 percent (798,489) of all Hispanic
                              students.5 The percent of Hispanic students at a Hispanic Serving
                              Institution varied from 25 percent at ITT Technical Institute in California
                              to 100 percent at 60 institutions in Puerto Rico.

                              Hispanic Serving Institutions offer a range of degrees—associate,
                              bachelor, master, professional, and doctoral—from different types of
                              institutions. For 60 percent of the institutions, an associate’s degree is the
                              highest degree offered, and the other 40 percent offered a bachelor’s
                              degree or higher. Of the 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions, 45 percent were
                              public, 23 percent were private nonprofit, and 32 percent were private for-
                              profit institutions. Hispanic Serving Institutions are generally larger in size
                              than postsecondary institutions overall.6 The average Hispanic Serving
                              Institution in the fall of 2000 was more than two times larger than the
                              average postsecondary institution overall. The largest Hispanic Serving
                              Institution at that time was Miami Dade Community College in Florida,



                              3
                               Funds are awarded as 5-year grants, with a mandatory 2-year wait out period before an
                              institution can reapply.
                              4
                               These 334 Hispanic Serving Institutions include branch campuses. For example, there are
                              16 campuses of ITT Technical Institute that are counted as separate Hispanic Serving
                              Institutions.
                              5
                               The calculations in this section are based on data for the 2000-01 school year. This was the
                              most current complete dataset available. The calculations exclude institutions that were
                              not eligible for federal student aid programs.
                              6
                                Postsecondary institutions overall refers to all institutions that were eligible for federal
                              student aid programs, including those that offer less than an associate degree. All Hispanic
                              Serving Institutions offer at least an associate degree.




                              Page 45                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                              Appendix III: Hispanic Serving Institutions




                              with 46,834 students, while the largest non-Hispanic Serving Institution
                              was the University of Texas at Austin, with 50,000 students. In the fall of
                              2000 there were 9 Hispanic Serving Institutions with more than 25,000
                              students.

                              Two important sources of revenue for postsecondary institutions—tuition
                              and endowments—were lower at public and private nonprofit Hispanic
                              Serving Institutions than at non-Hispanic Serving Institutions. The average
                              in-state undergraduate tuition at public Hispanic Serving Institutions was
                              $1,083 in the 2000-01 school year. For private nonprofit Hispanic Serving
                              Institutions, the average undergraduate tuition was $7,202, and for private
                              for-profit Hispanic Serving Institutions it was $8,830. These same statistics
                              for non-Hispanic Serving Institutions were $2,151, $11,542, and $8,745,
                              respectively. The average market value of institutional endowments for
                              public postsecondary institutions at the end of the 2000-01 school year was
                              about $15.3 million for Hispanic Serving Institutions, compared to
                              $52.1 million for non-Hispanic Serving Institutions. Endowment data on
                              private nonprofit schools are not available in IPEDS.


Characteristics of Hispanic   Demographic characteristics of Hispanic students at Hispanic Serving
Students at Hispanic          Institutions vary somewhat from national averages for all postsecondary
Serving Institutions          students.7 According to data from the 1999-2000 Department of
                              Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the average
                              Hispanic undergraduate student at a Hispanic Serving Institution was
                              slightly younger than the national average of undergraduate students
                              (25.5 years versus 26.4 years). Similar to the national average for
                              undergraduates, about half of Hispanic undergraduates at Hispanic
                              Serving Institutions were independent and about half were full-time
                              students. Hispanic undergraduate students at Hispanic Serving
                              Institutions were more likely to work full-time when compared to
                              undergraduate students overall—44 percent of Hispanic undergraduates at
                              Hispanic Serving Institutions worked full-time compared to 39.3 percent of
                              students overall.


Economic Characteristics 	    Although tuition is generally lower at Hispanic Serving Institutions,
                              students who attend Hispanic Serving Institutions are generally able to



                              7
                               Students at Hispanic Serving Institutions refers to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic
                              students, unless otherwise noted.




                              Page 46                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix III: Hispanic Serving Institutions




contribute less to the cost of their education than are students from non-
Minority Serving Institutions; Median household family incomes are
considerably lower for families of Hispanic origin than they are for white,
non-Hispanics. This is reflected in one measure of a family’s ability to pay
for college—the Expected Family Contribution.8 On average, the Expected
Family Contribution was lower in 2000-01 for families of students at
Hispanic Serving Institutions than it was for families of students attending
other, non-Minority Serving Institutions—$449 compared to $659.
Additionally, the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants—financial
aid that is available to the neediest students in the nation—at Hispanic
Serving Institutions was 31 percent, compared to 24 percent of students at
non-Minority Serving Institutions.

Both students at Hispanic Serving Institutions and their parents have
lower income levels than other institutions. The average yearly income of
independent students at Hispanic Serving Institutions in 1998 was
$28,921, while it was $35,501 for independent students overall. For
Hispanic students attending Hispanic Serving Institutions, the average
income is even lower, at $26,193. The average yearly income of the parents
of dependent, undergraduate students in 1998 was 1.5 times higher for
non-Hispanic Serving Institution parents—$43,675 for Hispanic Serving
Institution parents, and $67,034 for non-Hispanic Serving Institution
parents.




8
  Expected Family Contribution is a formula that considers family income; accumulated
savings; the amount of taxes paid; family size; the number of children simultaneously
enrolled in college; the age of the older parent and how close they may be to retirement;
and the student’s own financial resources. See 20 U.S.C. § 1087nn.




Page 47                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix IV: Tribal Colleges 



               Tribal Colleges were founded to educate students both in Western models
               of learning, as well as in traditional American Indian cultures and
               languages. This dual mission of Tribal Colleges distinguishes them from
               other colleges and universities. The Department of Education reported
               that there were 29 Tribal Colleges in 12 states participating in federal
               student aid programs in the 2000-01 school year.1 All of these colleges
               offered associate degrees, 2 offered bachelor’s degrees, and 2 offered
               master’s degrees. In the fall of 2000, the largest Tribal College had less
               than 2,000 students.


History        The history of Tribal Colleges is rooted in the desire of tribes to have
               greater control in the education of their members—called self­
               determination—and in the desire to improve access to postsecondary
               educational opportunities for American Indians. The Navajo tribe founded
               the first Tribal College, Diné College (formerly Navajo Community
               College), in 1968. By 1980, 20 Tribal Colleges, such as Blackfeet
               Community College in Montana, Northwest Indian College in Washington,
               and Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota, had been founded by various
               tribes. Tribal Colleges were often modeled after community colleges and
               shared community college philosophies of open admissions, job training,
               and community development along with local control and dedication to
               local needs.

               For hundreds of years, the education system in the United States almost
               always sought to assimilate American Indians into a cultural and
               educational backdrop that was largely European. For example, in the
               nineteenth century, boarding schools were created with the intent of
               separating American Indian youth from their heritage and culture.
               However, beginning about 1968, the federal government moved toward a
               policy of tribal self-determination that included a greater set of tools and
               resources so that tribes could better control their own educational
               activities. For example, the Indian Self Determination and Education
               Assistance Act2 was passed in 1975, and in part, called for “assuring
               maximum Indian participation in the direction of educational as well as
               other federal services to Indian communities.”



               1
                The Department of Education listed 3 other Tribal Colleges where students were not
               eligible for the federal student financial aid programs.
               2
                Pub. L. No. 93-638 (1975).




               Page 48                                                 GAO-03-900 Distance Education
     Appendix IV: Tribal Colleges




     Concurrent to the self-determination movement, as the result of the GI
     Bill3 of 1944 and the Higher Education Act of 1965, a college education
     became more accessible to all Americans, including American Indians.
     Tribes, including the Blackfeet, the Chippewa, and the Standing Rock
     Sioux created colleges in response to the growing interest on the part of
     American Indians in obtaining a college education.

     While many Tribal Colleges offer degrees in areas of study frequently
     found at other postsecondary institutions, such as accounting, education,
     computer science, and nursing, they also offer courses and degrees unique
     to their tribes or to Tribal Colleges. For example:

•	   DQ University in Davis, California, offers associate of arts degrees in
     Native American fine arts, as well as in indigenous studies. They also offer
     certificates in gaming administration and in Indian dispute resolution.

•	   Diné College in Arizona offers associate degrees in Navajo culture, history,
     and language, and Navajo bilingual/bicultural education.

•	   Oglala Lakota Community College in South Dakota has an associate of arts
     degree in tribal management, as well as a bachelor of arts in Lakota
     studies.

     One source of federal support for Tribal Colleges is through the Higher
     Education Act of 1965.4 Title III of the act provides financial assistance to
     institutions of higher education with low per-student expenditures, large
     numbers of financially disadvantaged students, or a large proportion of
     minority students. Title III, part A provides grants to American Indian
     Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, as defined by federal
     statute.5 The purpose of Title III, part A is to assist eligible institutions to
     become self-sufficient by providing funds to improve and strengthen their
     academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability. In fiscal



     3
      Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, ch. 268, 58 Stat. 284.
     4
     Other sources of federal aid for Tribal Colleges include the Tribally Controlled College or
     University Assistance Act of 1978, Land Grant Funding, and the Department of the Interior,
     Bureau of Indian Affairs.
     5
      25 U.S.C. 1801(a)(4). The definition of a tribally controlled college or university is an
     institution of higher education, which is formally controlled, or has been formally
     sanctioned, or chartered, by the governing body of an Indian tribe or tribes, except that no
     more than one such institution shall be recognized with respect to any such tribe.




     Page 49                                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                            Appendix IV: Tribal Colleges




                            year 1999, 8 Tribal Colleges received a total of $3 million under Title III,
                            part A. By fiscal year 2002, 27 Tribal Colleges received $17.5 million.


Characteristics of Tribal   In the 2000-01 school year, there were 29 Tribal Colleges6 located in
Colleges                    12 states that were eligible for federal student aid programs. Our analysis
                            of the 2000-01 IPEDS shows that while Tribal Colleges were less than 1
                            percent of all public and not-for-profit postsecondary institutions, they
                            enrolled 8 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students in the
                            United States, serving 11,262 students.7 The percentage of American
                            Indian/Alaska Native students in the student body at Tribal Colleges
                            averaged 85 percent in fall 2000 and ranged from 100 percent (at
                            Crownpoint Institute of Technology in New Mexico, Southwestern Indian
                            Polytechnic Institute in New Mexico, Institute of American Indian Arts in
                            New Mexico, Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, and Stone Child
                            College in Montana) to 21 percent (at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community
                            College in Minnesota). In comparison, other U.S. colleges and universities8
                            averaged around 1 percent American Indian students in fall 2000.

                            Tribal Colleges are typically community colleges, and therefore, offered
                            less variety in the types of degrees offered, as well as the type of
                            institution compared to other U.S. colleges and universities. In addition,
                            they were much smaller on average than other U.S. colleges and
                            universities. While there were 2 Tribal Colleges whose highest degree
                            offered was a master’s degree in 2000-01 (Oglala Lakota College and Sinte
                            Gleska College) and 2 whose highest degree offered was a bachelor’s
                            degree (Haskell Indian Nations University and Salish Kootenai College),
                            25, or 86 percent, reported an associate degree as their highest degree
                            offered. All 29 of the Tribal Colleges received funding from the federal
                            government. There were no private for-profit Tribal Colleges. The average
                            U.S. college or university was eight times larger than the average Tribal
                            College. The largest Tribal College, Diné College in Arizona, enrolled
                            1,712 students in the fall of 2000. In comparison, the University of Texas at



                            6
                             In 2002, the number increased by 3 to 32.
                            7
                             The calculations in this section are based on data for the 2000-01 school year. This was the
                            most current complete dataset available. These calculations exclude institutions that were
                            not eligible for federal student aid programs and for-profit institutions. The for-profit
                            institutions are excluded because there are no for-profit Tribal Colleges.
                            8
                             References to “other U.S. colleges and universities” includes institutions located in U.S.
                            territories, both public and private nonprofit.




                            Page 50                                                     GAO-03-900 Distance Education
                              Appendix IV: Tribal Colleges




                              Austin was the largest university in the nation, with an enrollment of
                              almost 50,000 students.

                              Two important revenue sources for postsecondary institutions—tuition
                              and endowments—were both lower at Tribal Colleges than at other U.S.
                              colleges and universities. The average in-state, undergraduate tuition at
                              Tribal Colleges was $2,017 in the 2000-01 school year.9 The average in-
                              state, undergraduate tuition at non-Tribal public colleges was $2,132 for
                              the same year. The average market value of institutional endowments for
                              public schools at the end of their 1999-2000 fiscal year was over
                              $57 million for those non-Tribal Colleges that reported having
                              endowments, but under $1.8 million for the 15 Tribal Colleges that
                              reported having endowments. Endowment data on private nonprofit
                              schools are not available in IPEDS.


Characteristics of Students   The database used to generate characteristics of students at Historically
Attending Tribal Colleges     Black Colleges and Universities and at Hispanic Serving Institutions—
                              NPSAS—only contained information on 1 Tribal College. As a result, we
                              were unable to compile data on characteristics of students attending
                              Tribal Colleges. A report issued by the American Indian Higher Education
                              Consortium, however, provides such information. According to the
                              1999 report, the typical Tribal College student was a single mother in her
                              early 30s. According to the same report, in the fall of 1996, 64 percent of
                              Tribal College undergraduates were women, as compared to 56 percent of
                              undergraduates at all public institutions. The report cites the average age
                              of Tribal College students in 1997 as 31.5 years old, while NPSAS data
                              from 2000 shows the average age of undergraduate students overall to be
                              26.4 years old. The consortium also stated that half of all Tribal College
                              students attended school on a part-time basis, which is a similar rate to
                              undergraduate students overall.


Economic Characteristics 	    Although tuition is lower, students who attend Tribal Colleges are
                              generally able to contribute less to the cost of their education than are
                              students at non-Minority Serving Institutions. Median household family
                              incomes are considerably lower on Indian reservations than they are in the
                              rest of the country. This is reflected in one measure of a family’s ability to




                              9
                               This figure is based on 22 Tribal Colleges who reported tuition charges.




                              Page 51                                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix IV: Tribal Colleges




pay for college—the Expected Family Contribution.10 The Expected Family
Contribution was lower in 2000-01 for families of Tribal College students
than it was for families of students attending other, non-Minority Serving
Institutions. In the 2000-01 school year, the average Expected Family
Contribution for students attending public non-Minority Serving
Institutions was $659, while it was only $259 for Tribal College students.
Additionally, the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants—financial
aid made available to the neediest students in the nation—at Tribal
Colleges was 60 percent, compared to 24 percent of students at non-
Minority Serving Institutions. Again, because NPSAS data are not available
for Tribal Colleges, we were unable to compile further information on the
economic status of students and their parents.




10
 Expected Family Contribution is a formula that considers family income; accumulated
savings; the amount of taxes paid; family size; the number of children simultaneously
enrolled in college; the age of the older parent and how close they may be to retirement;
and the student’s own financial resources. It is defined in the Higher Education Act of
1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1087nn.




Page 52                                                   GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Education




             Page 53          GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Education




Page 54                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Education




Page 55                                    GAO-03-900 Distance Education
Appendix VI: GAO Contacts and Staff
Acknowledgments

                  Kelsey Bright, Assistant Director (202) 512-9037
Contacts          Neil Asaba, Analyst-in-Charge (206) 287-4774


                  In addition to those named above, Jerry Aiken, Susan Baker, Jessica
Staff             Botsford, Julian Fogle, Chris Hatscher, Joel Grossman, Cathy Hurley, John
Acknowledgments   Mingus, Jill Peterson, Doug Sloane, Stan Stenersen, and Susan Zimmerman
                  made important contributions to this report.




(130202)
                  Page 56                                        GAO-03-900 Distance Education
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