University of Florida’s Online PACE Program Sees Low Enrollment

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The University of Florida has invited 3,118 high school students who were not admitted to the traditional program to sign up for their new online studies , Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PACE), . The high school students that did not managed to get admitted to one of the university’s on-campus courses have been invited instead to consider the University’s online program. Fewer than 10% accepted the offer.

The 256 students signed up for the Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PACE) online program, which is a prerequisite for students wishing to enroll at the University of Florida campus. The Pathway to Campus digital course is two-semesters long and requires at least fifteen hours of online coursework, NBC Miami reports. Once students accumulate sixty credit hours they can transfer to an on-campus program.

Several students expressed their excitement for being given the chance to study at UF through PACE:

“[E]ven deciding to move to Gainesville in the fall even though they’ll be excluded from most of the privileges extended to regular students,”

Others were confused over PACE students’ status and whether they were considered UF students or not, Gainesville.com reports. University of Florida Provost Joe Glover, says poor enrollment is due to a delayed rollout of the program:

“We are really pleased with the results for a couple of reasons,” Joe Glover said. “We rolled it out very late, because we were still formulating it up to the last minute and there was not a lot of time to socialize this with the community and explain it.”

The invites for PACE were sent to high school students in February, around the same time the University of Florida sent out acceptance letters to 14,000 high school students across the country.

Glover is hopeful that with proper promotion and awareness of PACE, the enrollment phase for the next academic year will be more warmly embraced. According to Gainesville.com, UF admitted students with an average GPA of 4.3 and average SAT scores of 1,918.

PACE gives enrolled students a 25% discount on tuition. The University says that PACE students will pay less than $4,000 per year as opposed to $17, 186 if living on campus in Gainesville.

Pathway to Campus Enrollment wishes to offer an alternative education opportunity to on-campus programs and to promote enrollment in less-popular programs the University offers. PACE offers 60 majors that have faced under-enrollment in recent years.

Back in 2013, lawmakers in Florida committed to offering $35 million to the University of Florida for the purpose of building a reduced-cost, online-only baccalaureate program, PACE. The digital program begun in January 2014 with 20 classes in total. About 95% of enrolled students completed the first semester.

The University hopes that 24,152 students will be enrolled in 35 online degree programs by 2024. The same business plan forecasts $76.6 million in revenue and $14.5 million in profit by the same year, writes Megan O’Neil of The Chronicle of Higher Education.