The University of Colorado is creating a new online education system that will offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for a flat $15,000 cost.
In a decision by the Board of Regents Wednesday, $20 million was approved to allow the university to move forward with the creation of the proposed project.
Set to launch in 2022, the program targets rural students and those with blue collar jobs for whom access to CU might otherwise be limited. The regent behind the proposal, Steve Ludwig, said there’s an urgent need for this kind of education.
"In this day and age you shouldn’t have to come to us to get an education we should be able to take it to you through technology," Ludwig said.
But working out the logistics of a degree at that price might be tricky, Ludwig said. That $15,000 includes tuition, books, fees, and any other expenses.
“We have to figure out how to scale up in a way that doesn't dilute quality, that people still get a great education,” Ludwig said. “It will take a lot of brainpower to figure that out but I think we're up to the challenge.”
CU already has a robust presence online according to Ken McConnellogue, the vice president of communications. McConnellogue said CU has 41 degree programs online — 11 more than the university offered 10 years ago. But Ludwig said the number of CU’s online-only students isn’t anywhere near their goal of 6,000. He’s hoping this new program will fix that.
Another part of the new online system will be a K-12 component. Younger students, most likely in high school, will have the opportunity to take a year’s worth of college classes online to get a jump start on their higher education.
CU hopes to have one bachelor’s and one master’s degree available for enrollment by 2022 and the K-12 component by 2024.