The price of online courses through the University of Memphis have been reduced to become the same price as on-campus courses.
Previously, online courses at the UofM required an additional tuition premium that made them more expensive than on-campus courses. The Board of Trustees has approved a proposal to reduce the price of online classes equal to on-campus classes.
“What this means for UofM students is that regardless of what modality they elect to take their classes in, be it traditional, on-the-ground courses or online courses, the tuition rate will be the same,” said Raajkumar Kurapati, the Chief Financial Officer at the UofM. “Students can mix and match classes (online or on-ground) to fit their needs and not have to pay an additional tuition premium.”
In a 2011 study titled “The Digital Revolution and Higher Learning” from Pew Research Center, roughly one-in-four college graduates said they have taken a class online. That percentage doubles to 46 percent when narrowed to graduates within the past 10 years.
Kurapati said the price of online classes has been an issue at the UofM for several years. He said the Board of Trustees began making an effort to reduce the price in the summer of 2018. He also said while the Board of Trustees have approved the proposal, it was only a conditional approval, and the implementation of reduced online course prices will be finalized in the near future.
“The BOT approval, to be clear, was conditional,” Kurapati said. “Final proposal to move forward with this and the timing of the implementation will be considered and acted upon by the BOT in March 2019.”
Richard Irwin, the Executive Dean of UofM Global, an online degree program offered by the UofM, said universities across the nation are following the trend of making online classes and on-campus classes the same price. He said the university needed to make this change in order to compete with other universities.
“It makes (the UofM) more competitive,” Irwin said. “Other schools are acting similarly where, particularly, someone who’s online is just paying a flat rate.”
Irwin said that much of the UofM’s growth is expected to come from exclusively online students. He said online-student enrollment is up 20 percent this spring in comparison to last spring.
“More and more students are seeing (online courses) as a great way to complete their degree,” Irwin said. “It increases accessibility, it just addresses so many of the challenges that many of our students encounter, whether it’s scheduling, relocation, health issues. At least we can keep somebody engaged by not requiring them to come at a particular place at a particular time.”
Irwin said the UofM currently has over 3,000 online-only students who represent 39 different states across the United States.
“The direction of online courses is providing a very robust educational experience,” Irwin said. “So much technology has been developed with things like adaptive learning, record keeping. I mean, there’s just so many things that help, whether it’s accountability or academic performance.”