Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

UWA Trustees Vote to Reduce Online Tuition for Students to Reverse Enrollment Decline

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

UWA Trustees Vote to Reduce Online Tuition for Students to Reverse Enrollment Decline

Article excerpt

LIVINGSTON | The University of West Alabama board of trustees on Monday approved reducing the tuition rate for online courses and reorganizing the program's adjunct instructor compensation policy as part of a plan to reverse a trend of declining enrollment.

"What we are trying to do is give you a plan we are confident will get things turned around," President Ken Tucker said ahead of the vote.

A rate reduction has been part of a multi-pronged plan promoted by Tucker this spring as a way to make the online program more competitive.

"We absolutely have to reduce our tuition to competitive levels," Tucker said.

Beginning in the fall, the hourly undergraduate online tuition rate will decrease from $429 to $325, and the graduate rate would decrease from $477 to $429.

Under the current pay scale, online adjunct instructors are paid $100-$400, depending on the semester hours, for teaching classes with fewer than 10 students. Instructors are paid $1,000-$4,000 for classes with 10 to 15 students, $1,500-$4,500 for classes with 16 to 20 students, $2,000-$5,000 for classes with 21 to 25 students, and $2,500-$5,500 for classes with 26 to 30 students.

Under the new pay structure for the fall, adjuncts would be paid $2,000 per course for classes with more than 10 students and $3,000 per course for graduate online classes with more than 10 students. Instructors would be paid $200-$300 per student for undergraduate and graduate courses with 10 or fewer students.

Using current enrollment figures, Tucker estimated with the reduction and pay adjustment, the university would net about $500,000 in savings.

The university has 152

people teaching as adjunct

instructors for online courses, Provost Tim Edwards said.

The impact of the restructuring will vary depending on the size of the course, said Edwards and Jan Miller, dean of the Division of Online Programs.

"It's still very generous compared to our competitors," Edwards said.

Miller said she believes the instructors understand the move.

"The sense I get is the people want to do their part," Miller said.

Tucker and Miller predict the loss of revenue from the reduction would eventually be offset by greater enrollment. …

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