The Republican - UMassOnline logs 5th year of growth
By Holly Angelo -
For the fifth year in a row, UMassOnline reports that it has increased its revenues and enrollment.
The University of Massachusetts' online education division has grown every year since its inception in 2001, according to records kept by the university. In fiscal year 2006, revenues grew by 28 percent, from $16.4 million in fiscal 2005 to $21 million. During the same period, enrollments increased by 20 percent, from 17,661 to 21,202.
"We're very pleased with the numbers," David J. Gray, UMassOnline chief executive officer, said yesterday. "They exceeded our expectations."
Online staff anticipated an enrollment growth of 15 percent and a revenue growth of 20 percent. When the program started, 5,009 students were enrolled and revenues amounted to $3 million.
"I think we're bringing the right programs to the market," Gray said. "We're always adding."
The online service offers 58 programs, including master's, bachelor's, associate's and certificate degrees. This year, 21 new programs were added. There is a demand for engineering degrees, which the service hopes to add within the next year or so, Gray said.
"We identify gaps and we work with campuses to fill those gaps," he said.
The online service is based in Shrewsbury. Courses are taught by professors from the five-campus UMass system. Students from all over the world are enrolled. The most popular degree right now is the professional master's of business administration offered by the Isenberg School of Management from the UMass-Amherst campus.
The online service's demographics are 25 to 45-year-olds, professionals, many in midcareer, who work and have family pressures, Gray said. Online courses allow people to earn degrees conveniently, in the privacy of their homes.
"The last thing they need at the end of the day is to hop in the car to drive an hour to a campus," Gray said. "We're meeting a demand we see from the consumer base."