Assessing Core Indicators of Distance Education


About Us

Dedicated to Distance Education

The International Distance Education Benchmark Project was created by the Center for Distance Education Research (CDER). CDER is a professional organization dedicated to promoting student access, engagement, and success in distance learning.

Distance Education Institutions

The International Distance Education Benchmark Project intends to become the first, most representative and comprehensive benchmarking initiative for higher education institutions around the world delivering distance education programs and courses. Over 3,400 degree-granting public and private, two-year and four-year institutions in the United States have submitted their institutional data to the National Center for Education Statistics as part of the annual collection for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). This data and reporting is comprehensive in nature but lacks key data points to assist institutions in building accountability measures around student access, student engagement and student success in distance education at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Benchmark Creation and Support


Benchmarks for this project are currently being developed and the International Distance Education Benchmark Project (IDEBP) is seeking higher education professionals to assist in the development of benchmarks, technical expertise in file transfer development and reporting, and grant writing.

IDEBP is also seeking a higher education institution that would like to sponsor the project as an "institutional home". 


Distance Education Overview

Historical Context

In fall 2017, public institutions comprised 70% of all distance education enrollments, followed by private not-for-profits at 18% and private for-profits at 12%. Private not-for-profits increased distance education enrollments by 42% (365,883 students) over the last four-year period and public institutions also increased enrollments by 25% (939,394 students). Private for-profits, however, have decreased enrollments by 20% (199,123 students) since 2013.  

The National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) defines enrollment in distance education courses in two ways: 1) Students who are enrolled exclusively in courses that are considered distance education courses, and 2) Students who are enrolled in some but not all courses that are considered distance education courses but are not enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. In this section, and in each of the following sections, data will be provided for both areas, exclusively and some but not all, to better understand student enrollment patterns.

Become a Participant

The International Distance Education Benchmark Project (IDEBP) is looking for higher education institutions to participate in the initial data collection and reporting of the benchmark project. Minimally five institutions from each sector (2-year, public; 4-year, public; 4-year, private-non-profit; and 4-year, for-profit) is the first year goal. 

Join Now

Proposed Benchmark Categories


Student Identifier

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Zip Code
  • Date of Birth


  • Grade
  • Credit Hours


  • Term Enrolled
  • Term Graduated
  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate


Program Identifier

  • CIP Code
  • Degree
  • Program Name
  • Total Credit Hours
  • Cost per Credit Hour

Course Identifier

  • Course Length (Weeks)
  • Course Modality
  • Credit Hours


Faculty Identifier

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Instructional Load
  • Cost of Instruction


Total Online Enrollments by Student

Total Online Enrollments by Program

Student Retention by Program by Level

Online Program Structure

Peer Analysis

Contact Us

When completing this form please utilize the subject line to reflect your inquiry purpose: Contact Us, Volunteer, or Join Now.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

International Distance Education Benchmark Project

1030 SE 9th Ave #150911, Cape Coral, FL 33990 USA

Office Hours


8:30 am – 5:30 pm


8:30 am – 5:30 pm


8:30 am – 5:30 pm


8:30 am – 5:30 pm


8:30 am – 5:30 pm