The University of Akron is cutting tuition fees on several of its general education courses as part of its GenEd pilot initiative. With over a 80% reduction in tuition fees, students can enroll in online classes for as low as $50 per credit hour.
UA which has been struggling with low enrollment seeks to attract more students by following Governor's John Kasich ordering for public colleges to make education more affordable, Karen Farkas for Cleveland.com says.
Acron's GenEd Core initiative awaits the approval of the university's board of trustees and state Board of Regents. Classes are to begin in the fall of 2015.
The announcement by the university has upset four Northeast Ohio community colleges that say the University of Akron is misleading potential students with a perceived affordability. Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain County Community College, Lakeland Community College and Stark State College said in a shared statement:
"While we applaud the University of Akron's efforts to provide a more affordable educational experience for students, most notably through online offerings in specific general education courses, the idea conveyed by the university in its recent announcement that this represents the most affordable rate in the region can be confusing for both students and their families."
The community colleges presidents say that community colleges offer a great financial advantage and value to students "pursuing credentials, associate and bachelor degrees." They insist that even with the discounted price, community college associate degrees are at least half the cost of a 60-credit-hours course at the University of Akron.
Scott Scarborough, President of the University of Akron, responded to the above statement emphasizing the university's mission to give students the opportunity for success when they need it the most: "at the start of their academic careers."
"We value the community conversation about how to lower the cost of higher education to help more students achieve the American dream. The University of Akron is joining other universities across the country that believe higher quality and lower cost is possible in an age of advancing technology and innovation," he said. "The bottom line is that we are taking action to help more students succeed when they are most vulnerable — at the start of their academic careers."
The proposed discount will be on general education courses such as Math, Sociology, Arts and Humanities, Communication and composition. The courses will be based on the blended learning approach which includes online instruction and classroom visits combined with experiential learning, the University of Akron says.
Student registration starts May 15. Richard Pogue, Chairman of the UA Board of Trustees expressed his support for Akron's GenEd Core initiative:
"We want to respond to the governor's call for continuing to reduce costs for these students and this is a possible way to make some real progress."