Under the approved plan, special course fees on online courses will increase by $7 per credit hour, but this increase will be phased in over two academic years. The online course feewill rise by $4.50 per credit hour in fall 2014 to $17 per credit hour. A second fee increase on online courses of $2.50 per credit hour be implemented in fall 2015.
The per credit hour special course fee on online courses currently is at $12.50, which was implemented in fall 2007, said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration.
Online course offerings have expanded rapidly in the last few years to almost 50,000 student credit hours in academic year 2013, she said. The implementation of winter intersession four years ago, which provides strictly online course offerings, the focus on expanding online majors to meet the needs of student populations, including working adults and active military personnel, are expected to continue to grow the need for online courses, Mangels said.
Delivering these courses requires a commitment to technology along with enhanced support services. Revenue generated from the existing fee has funded advisors for online students and instructional designers to assist faculty in the development of quality online course materials, according to Mangels. Online students access course materials around the clock, she said, and require technical assistance and academic resources in the same timeframe.
Revenue from the approved increase will fund the expansion of the Information Technology Help Desk to a 24/7 operation, which has been identified as an immediate need by online students. Mangels said some academic departments have reached their limit with existing faculty resources to teach online courses, and additional revenues will be used to create a pool of dollars to fund temporary faculty to teach needed online courses.
Mangels says the additional $2.50 per credit hour increase to be implemented in fall 2015 will allow additional support services to be added when needed knowing the resources will be available.
Even with the proposed increase to $17 per credit hour for online courses in fall 2014, Southeast will remain competitive from a cost standpoint with other peer institutions for online courses, Mangels said. Southeast’s rate for a three-credit hour online course in fall 2014 will be $744.75. Three-hour online courses during the current 2013-2014 academic year are $825 at Missouri State University and $822 at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she said.