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ERIC Number: EJ855260
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-3
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Global Campus Meets a World of Competition
Turner, Dan
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n30 pA10 Apr 2009
The University of Illinois Global Campus, a multimillion-dollar distance-learning project, is up and running. For its March-April 2009 term, it has enrolled 366 students. Getting to this point, though, has looked a little like the dot-com start-up bubble of the late 1990s. Hundreds of Internet-related companies were launched with overly ambitious goals, only to later face cutbacks and other struggles to stay alive. Most crashed anyway. Some observers now say the Global Campus must try to avoid the same fate of churning through a large initial investment while attracting too few customers. The project, planned about four years ago, was designed to complement existing online programs offered by individual Illinois-system campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Springfield, and Chicago. Those programs primarily serve current students as an addition to their on-campus course work. The Global Campus, in contrast, seeks to reach the adult learner off campus, who is often seeking a more focused, career-related certification or degree, such as completing a B.S. in nursing. Online education has proved popular with institutions, students, and employers across the United States, with opportunities and enrollment growing. That growing popularity is part of the Global Campus's problem. The Illinois program is "fighting uphill in a market that's a lot more uphill." The program was formally established in March 2007. The university initially financed it with $1.5-million of general revenue. The program started teaching its first 12 students in 2008. Now the Global Campus has a budget of approximately $9.4-million for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Approximately $1-million of that comes from the state and the remaining money comes from various grants, tuition, and loans from the Board of Trustees. But the competition to enroll students has been tough. The Global Campus initially offered 16-week courses, patterned on the Illinois system's residential-education schedules. But many adult students turned to online for-profit programs instead, because their class schedules were more flexible. So the Global Campus is now moving away from the longer course blocks and will offer eight-week-long courses. The program also needs to raise its student numbers before it can expand its content and structure.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois; United States