UF online institute launches in January with 7 degree options
The board overseeing state universities signed off on the University of Florida’s plan to launch its online institute in January.
Called UF Online, the new center will initially have seven bachelor’s degree programs, all earned via the Web. Five of the programs will be based on the college’s existing 2+2 program, which required students to attend classes in person for two years (usually at a state college) then finish their degrees online.
- bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies – environmental management in agriculture & natural resources
- bachelor of arts in business administration
- bachelor of science in health education and behavior
- bachelor of science in sports management
- bachelor of arts in criminology and law
The final two programs were added to UF Online because they are among the university’s most popular majors: biology and psychology. School officials said it will have the same admission standards and academic quality as the brick-and-mortar university.
The online institute is a priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford, and it was awarded to UF by virtue of its status as the state’s highest-ranking public university. The Board of Governors signed off on the school’s presentation during a conference call meeting this morning.
Senate Bill 1076 outlined how the center should operate, including the requirement that Florida students earning degrees through UF Online pay no more than 75 percent of the tuition charged for in-person courses.
The school is abiding by that requirement -- UF Online courses will be $112 per credit hour instead of the normal $149 -- but that means the school needs to attract plenty of out-of-state students to balance the books in these initial years. Those students will pay $425 per credit hour.
The school’s plan calls for the online institute to grow to 24,000 students and 35 degree programs in 10 years. Students still may need to spend some time at UF's main campus or partner sites -- for example, to complete the laboratory requirements for science courses -- and that is still being worked out. The university is also in the process of finalizing a public-private partnership with a company that will help operate UF Online.
“We will not have a learning curve, we’ll have a partner in hand that knows and has been doing the things that are necessary to achieve excellence in this particular type of online learning,” Associate Provost Andrew McCollough said this morning.