Disconnected from Higher Education: How Geography and Internet Speed Limit Access to Higher Education

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Urban Institute

Approximately 3 million American adults lack access to higher education based on where they live. These people live more than 25 miles from a broad-access public university and do not have access to the high-speed internet connection needed for online education. This work examines how many students (who are physically isolated from higher education) have the opportunity to access online education and how many are still isolated. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we identify three types of education deserts: physical education desert only, online education desert only, and both a physical and online education desert.

access to higher education, internet in education, adult students