Online College Courses in Tennessee Are More Expensive Than Attending In Person Tennessee

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(The Center Square) – Students in Tennessee pay more to study online than to take classes in person, a report of the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability showed.

On average, college students pay an additional $ 630.81 per 15 credit-hour semester for online training, and community college students pay an additional $ 265.57.

While some schools have waived or reduced online course fees during the COVID-19 pandemic, students expected costs to be reduced due to the lack or need for in-person resources, according to an October 2020 survey by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). The survey showed that 54% of respondents registered for online courses only for the fall semester 2020.

“A common expectation is that students who enroll exclusively online pay less tuition and fees than students who attend classes in person,” the report says.

At many institutions, the online fee covers course development and preparation, technology, and teacher training.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is the only state university where it costs less for online students than for in-person students – averaging $ 86 per semester for 15 credit hours. Online students do not pay the same fees as in-person students at UT-Knoxville. At the University of Tennessee-Martin, on the other hand, a semester of online classes costs $ 1,411 more than in-person classes.

“Some public colleges and universities in Tennessee offer tuition and reduced fees for out-of-state students who enroll exclusively in online courses,” the report said. “This discount, also known as eRate, offers international students reduced tuition and reduced compulsory fees, as qualified students live off-campus and cannot benefit from on-campus amenities or attend events. covered by mandatory fees. A discount or similar reduced rate, however, is not available to in-state students who enroll exclusively online at most institutions.

Six of the state’s 13 community colleges do not charge additional fees for online courses. Tennessee State University is the only state university not to charge fees online, and the University of Memphis plans to phase out fees this fall.

The other seven community colleges suspended online course fees for the 2020-21 school year, on direction from the Tennessee Board of Regents, something that would cost an estimated $ 2.6 million in online fee revenue.

The state of Tennessee offered a 15% discount on the 2020-21 fall and spring semesters for students who chose online courses, while only 6% of the courses were taught in person at the fall 2020, compared to 87% in person in fall 2019.

“Further research, including an analysis of budgets and quality control practices, would likely provide a better understanding of online course fee structures (e.g., assess separate online fees, support online courses via other sources of income and evaluate the fees according to the quality of the courses) ”says the report. “Additional research could include student success in online courses versus in-person instruction.”


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