Ohio State’s 2021 Distance Education Numbers Reflect Return to In-Person Classes

The number of Ohio State University students enrolled in only distance education courses decreased substantially from 2020 to 2021 as students returned to in-person classes, recent figures show.

The university recently submitted its 2021 distance education enrollments and out-of-state learning placements to the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The number of students who were enrolled in only distance education courses at Ohio State dropped from 20,198 in 2020 to 5,662 in 2021; however, enrollment is still more than double pre-pandemic distance education enrollment, which totaled just 2,822 in 2019.

Data on out-of-state learning placements and distance education enrollments is collected regularly to maintain the university’s participation in NC-SARA, which allows the university to offer online and on-ground activities in 48 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ohio State’s participation in NC-SARA greatly reduces cost and risk for Ohio State programs.

NC-SARA requires its members to annually report exclusively distance education enrollments and out-of-state learning placements for the prior calendar year. Out-of-state learning placements include activities such as student teaching, clinical rotations, and internships. Below is a three-year comparison of Ohio State student enrollments in these activities.

Exclusively Distance Education Enrollments
Out-of-State Learning Placements
SARA member state1,115718768
non-sara member state717557


The university’s state authorization team oversees this data collection and verification each spring and submits the finalized data to NC-SARA. To learn more about the NC-SARA data collection and verification process, contact the state authorization team at ODEE-StateAuth@osu.edu.