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Online Degree Movement

University leaders are saying that the increase of public universities offering online degrees across the United States may help push tuition costs down and provide more flexible options for students.

Earlier this week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Bill SB-1076 to increase funding of the state’s university system. Part of the subsidy is expected to be used to bankroll the creation of online bachelor’s degrees for public universities state-wide.

“Online learning is something we’ve been looking at for quite a while,” Kim Wilmath, a spokesperson for the State University System of Florida, told The Daily Tar Heel. “I think it’s going to make our whole system stronger.”

Wilmath said that Floridians could save approximately 25 percent on their tuition fees by taking online degrees versus enrolling in traditional classrooms.

This move toward online degrees can be seen at institutions across the University of Northern Carolina (UNC) System. UNC System President Alisa Chapman said that the System is examining their strategic approach and will look to partner with other institutions in the near future.

Robert Bruce, the director of the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at UNC-Chapel Hill, said that they expect to launch a hybrid class in the fall.

“You think about people who have a family or job situation or some other situation where they are not able to come to campus everyday — well, the need for education still exists,” Bruce told The Daily Tar Heel.

A better selection of online degrees available for students, especially for those who are non-traditional, helps make the higher education institution more accessible to state citizens, he said.