Regents Set Fees for Three Online Master’s Degree Programs

_MG_8225CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 23, 2012 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved an incidental fee rate equal to the in-state graduate incidental fee for all students enrolled in three online master’s degree programs – the Master of Science in criminal justice, the Master of Science in organizational management and the Master of Education Technology.

Under the new schedule, fees charged to students in these online programs will be the same rate charged to in-state graduate students — $241.30 per credit hour, along with a $30.70 per credit hour general fee and a $12.50 per credit hour online course fee. The new rate takes effect with the fall 2012 semester.

Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, said, “Assessing the in- state incidental fee rate for all students in these three online graduate programs will make them competitive with other comparable programs.”

She said it is necessary to establish competitive program fees to effectively market Southeast’s online programs beyond state borders.

“A single incidental fee rate for all students in an online program recognizes that enrollment is not limited by physical location of the student and expands accessibility of the program beyond our service region,” she said.

Out-of-state graduate students in these programs currently pay the out-of-state graduate student fee of $449.80 per credit hour along with a $30.70 per credit hour general fees and a $12.50 per credit hour online course fee, which are intended to assist in funding the technology infrastructure required for online instruction, Mangels said.

In October, the Board approved a fee structure for the online RN to BSN program, the first pilot project related to this initiative. As a result of that, a marketing plan that included such tools as Google keyword searches was implemented, providing important feedback for planning additional online projects, according to Dr. Allen Gathman, associate dean for online learning.

Since then, these three additional programs have been identified as having the potential to attract a significant number of new online students, he said. As part of the University’s strategic planning to meet budget challenges, an initiative began last summer to expand the University’s online academic presence. An online strategic plan was developed, and Gathman was named to lead this initiative.

Gathman says the Master of Science in criminal justice will address an increasing demand for more highly educated law enforcement officers. Promotion to higher ranks in this field is trending towards attainment of a master’s degree.

Instructional technology is expanding rapidly and is having an impact at all levels of education, according to Gathman. Highly qualified teachers will be in short supply at the elementary and secondary levels as schools transition to a more technology based education/ learning system. The Master of Education Technology program will have a broad appeal to current elementary/secondary teachers who will be expected to use the new technologies while earning a master’s degree for professional advancement.

The Master of Science in organizational management will appeal to a large group of individuals in the work place who are in supervisory/management positions but have no formal education in business or management. While many of these individuals have an interest in advancing their knowledge and skills for personal and professional growth, they find an MBA is not viable because of the length of the program, she said. The Master of Science in organizational management is designed specifically for individuals in this situation, providing a 30-credit hour master’s degree program focusing only on management topics.

“All three of these programs provide growth opportunity as an online offering because they have a well-defined target market, the programs can accommodate expansion at a reasonable cost, and there is expected high demand in our multi-state region or nationally,” Gathman said.