Starting in the fall of 2015, the University of Arizona is launching several bachelor's degrees online in addition to online graduate and certificate programs. The online learning focused initiative will allow UA dropouts to resume their studies without having to attend conventional classes again and instead completing their course of study online.
The University will offer 23 new online bachelor's degrees from a wide range of high-demand fields. Among the undergraduate courses available are Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Information Science, Communication, Meteorology and Organizational Leadership.
The University currently offers about 25 certificate programs at graduate level. Courses include Optical Science, International Security Studies and the Global Health and Development.
Graduate degrees offered online include an MBA and Master's degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Management Information Systems, and Public Health.
It is estimated that the University of Arizona online initiative will bring in $41 million by the end of 2020. Credit hour pricing ranges between $490 and $515 regardless of student residency status.
"Students everywhere now have access to a life-changing University of Arizona education," Vincent Del Casino vice provost at the UO says. The admission standards are the same. It's a fundamental misconception that online education is somehow easier and less rigorous."
The University of Arizona states that online students get to enjoy the same educational experience as their on-campus classmates. Students enrolled in online courses are expected to attend the online classes three to five days a week, collaborate with fellow students to complete projects and be able to use new technologies. Students can interact with professors and their classmates through video, email and content sharing websites.
According to AZcentral, the University of Arizona is the last among the state's three public universities to offer online bachelor's degress. They explain that in 2014, Arizona State University received $80 million in gross tuition from its online courses. For 2016, the number is expected to reach $144 million.
Tucson.com reports that the University of Arizona will invest approximately $6 million in start-up costs for its expanded online venture.
Melissa Vito, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UA, says that previously the program had been put on hold due to budget cuts and strained resources, but now the program has matured:
"I think what we have done is a major achievement," she said. "Last year at this time, there were no undergraduate degree programs. Now there are 21, with the infrastructure and support to help students be successful."
Earning a UA online degree is less expensive than on-campus counterparts, especially for part-time students, UA officials say.