Study examines online, on-campus price models

Dive Brief:

  • A professor of management information systems at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has collected information from a diverse sample of 103 colleges and universities about how they price online versus on-campus courses.
  • Shouhong Wang found that small institutions and large institutions set online course prices significantly lower than their on-campus courses when compared to medium-sized schools.
  • Private institutions also set lower relative prices for online courses than public school did, and the academic level of the institution had no effect on price-setting.

Dive Insight:

Wang points out his data is preliminary, limited in its scope and depth, but he argues the research is a valuable first step for those trying to better understand pricing differences across course type and institution. Wang found the average online course is one-third less than the cost of an on-campus course. Future studies must clarify in greater detail why pricing is so different. Wang suggests schools have passed on cost-savings when students do not use physical facilities of their higher education institution but acknowledges online coursework involves technological support traditional courses do not. Future studies may be able to make value judgments about whether certain institution types are pricing their online courses too low, based on the cost to produce them.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Online Learning