- The University of Pennsylvania will become the first Ivy League college to offer an online bachelor's degree with the launch of an interdisciplinary program next fall aimed at working adults and other nontraditional learners.
- Offered through the School of Arts and Sciences' College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), the applied arts and sciences degree encompasses general education courses and interdisciplinary concentrations as well as two on-campus experiences.
- The program will take a different approach to instruction than traditional residential courses by using the unique properties of e-learning, officials said. An advisory board of management executives is working with LPS to advise on workforce trends and skills needs.
Four-year colleges are increasing their online offerings to reach adult and other non-traditional learners — who have long flown under their radar — in an effort to raise enrollment numbers and tuition revenue. As the trend continues, larger and more prominent institutions will take programs online, The Chronicle of Higher Education notes.
Last month Penn announced it will add an online master's degree in computer and information technology this spring. The university said it lacked sufficient resources to expand the popular program on-campus, and that it wanted to make the degree accessible to a wider variety of students.
Many colleges are taking niche programs online to reach a wider market. Georgia Institute of Technology, for example, will begin offering a part-time online master's degree in cybersecurity for working professionals beginning in January. Georgia Tech already offers an online master's in computer science and analytics.
The University of Dayton plans to offer a hybrid J.D. degree program beginning in August 2019, and more law schools are expected to expand online following a decision by the American Bar Association to allow students to take up to one-third of their credit hours online. This increases the limit from around 15 credit hours to 30.
Many colleges are beginning to offer online programs at a discount to make degrees more financially accessible, and some are putting programs online to bring in the revenue needed to keep their doors open.