This year’s frantic switch to online learning has begun to create opportunities for more people to learn at a fraction of the cost of a traditional higher education experience. While the trend began years ago with the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the pandemic has accelerated it as evidenced by some recent higher ed initiatives.
Union Institute & University introduced the U4U! Early College Program, which allows qualifying high school juniors and seniors to take Union courses online for free – and earn college credit along the way. Launched in early July, U4U! is funded through the state’s College Credit Plus program and Union scholarships.
The ability to take classes 100 percent online allows students the flexibility and safety of pursuing a high-quality education from home. Larisa Harper, Ph.D., director of The Ohio Department of Higher Education’s College Credit Plus program, commented, “College Credit Plus has provided thousands of high school students who are ready for the challenge of college courses with the opportunity to begin their postsecondary journey early. This can save students and families money on the cost of college tuition and potentially time toward earning a college degree. Over the first four years of the program, more than $569 million has been saved on tuition rates for participating students.”
The University of Arizona (UA) recently announced its intent to create a new nonprofit entity that will bear the name of The University of Arizona Global Campus and will acquire Ashford University from Zovio Inc. The University of Arizona Global Campus will be a fully online university providing access to affordable, high-quality higher education with flexible opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to achieve their educational and life goals. “The alliance announced today between UA and Ashford will create new, exciting opportunities that promise to expand the reach of affordable, quality higher education,” said Dr. Craig Swenson, Ashford’s President.
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