Carolina Courses Online has not been exempt from this year’s tuition increases.
The tuition increase for online courses per credit hour was $32 for N.C. residents, bringing it to a total of $174.16. The increase for non-residents was $508, bringing tuition up to a total of $803.16, said June Blackwelder, associate director for communication and instruction design.
Despite the tuition increase, Blackwelder said that there has not been a decrease in enrollments for in-state students but the enrollment for out-of-state students has suffered — a 3-hour course now costs $2,409.48 for nonresidents.
“While we are still compiling numbers, it appears that the number of out-of-state students who enrolled in Carolina Courses Online for this fall dropped by about one third,” Blackwelder said.
Carolina Courses Online is open to anyone regardless of whether the individual is enrolled at UNC.
Timothy Sanford, associate director for credit programs, said that in spring 2010 there were 36 full-time out-of-state students and 135 part-time out-of-state students. He said he estimates there are between 20 and 25 full-time out-of-state students and between 105 and 110 part-time out-of-state students in online courses this fall.
The tuition increase for in-state students was mandated by the legislature, and the out-of-state increase was to make online course tuition comparable to that charged to on-campus students.
Sanford said that a full-time UNC student may take six total online courses and only one per semester. Other students may take two per semester. If a UNC student wishes to take online courses, they must pay the extra online course tuition.
Mohammad Saad, a junior health policy and management major, said that he thinks the tuition increase for online classes is ridiculous considering that they require fewer resources.
“The professors can do their job from home, everything is on Blackboard, and from what I have observed nothing about an online class as opposed to an in-person class requires more funds,” Saad said.
“I’m not sure how these funds are being allocated, but I feel that if the University justified them and made it clear as to where the extra money is going, students would be less hesitant to take online classes.”
But since online courses meet the same credit stipulations as any on-campus course, the credit may be used toward total credit hours.
“On-campus students enroll because sometimes they cannot find a particular course that fits their schedule,” Blackwelder said.
But for some students, fitting a class into their schedule is not the case.
“I don’t have much of a choice in taking an online class, as the two that I am currently taking are masters-level classes and are only offered online with no in-class substitute,” Saad said.
There were 75 courses offered during fall semester under 24 departments.
Despite the large increase in tuition for non-residents, Sanford said departments have not noticed any shift in the numbers of students asking for academic advice or financial guidance in response to the tuition increase.
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