Friday, January 04, 2008

Nobody Came

How embarrassing to throw a party and then no one comes. We were expecting seventy-five guests to our Global Campus, said University of Illinois President B. Joseph White. Only fifteen showed up.

Universities are reaching out to the non-traditional students, looking to attract those who might like to continue their education but who cannot get to campus and cannot take the time to go to university full time. Harness the power of the Internet, hitch it to the U of I, and anyone could get a degree.

As long as the degree they wished to acquire is a Bachelor's in nursing, that is. That's really a very practical offering on the surface, but limiting the degree choices to nursing or online education would seem to limit the potential audience.

This being Illinois, the program was not marketed until October, and this for coursework that would commence with the New Year. The education party was off to a bad start from the first.

Again, this being Illinois, the original concept was to run the Internet University at a profit, while the faculty who would do the actual teaching work were dead-set against it. As it stands now, tuition has to cover the costs and the program is supposed to break even. Hence, the disappointment when only fifteen people take advantage.

Thus far, U of I has invested $2.8 million on the Global Campus and they expect to sink $13 million in the program before it turns a profit, based on projections of future student population. What they may not have considered is the fact that tuition at the University of Illinois is outrageously expensive for a state school when compared to the likes of Iowa or Kansas. The very people that the U of I is trying to attract to the Global Campus can't afford to attend.

Maybe some friends of the boy governor who made money off of state contracts could be convinced to fund some scholarships for the needy?

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