Governor Gets iCollege Wrong

“There’s another way to deliver the service other than a one-size-fits-all monopoly provider that says show up at 9 o’clock on Wednesday morning for Econ 101,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told Jon Stewart on the latter’s cable television news/comedy show. “Can I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck I feel like it, from where ever I feel like? Instead of paying thousands of dollars can I pay $199 for iCollege?”

However, some of the points Pawlenty made don’t square with statements he and his higher education appointees made last year before the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee.

At first glance, the Pawlenty administration saw e-learning as a potential cost saver. But after looking deeper, the governor came to realize that a shift to online courses could cost the state more money than traditional classroom education — at least for the next few years.

Further, independent institutions that offer quality, accredited online education in Minnesota are charging much more than $199. The Website for Minneapolis-based Capella University says its tuition runs about $795 for a three-credit lower-division class and $1,035 for upper division.

Pawlenty wants the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to have 25 percent of its credits earned online by 2015; MnSCU has about 12.5 percent online now. He also has been nudging the University of Minnesota to do more online.

“There’s another way to deliver the service other than a one-size-fits-all monopoly provider that says show up at 9 o’clock on Wednesday morning for Econ 101,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told Jon Stewart on the latter’s cable television news/comedy show. “Can I just pull that down on my iPhone or iPad whenever the heck I feel like it, from where ever I feel like? Instead of paying thousands of dollars can I pay $199 for iCollege?”

However, some of the points Pawlenty made don’t square with statements he and his higher education appointees made last year before the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee.

At first glance, the Pawlenty administration saw e-learning as a potential cost saver. But after looking deeper, the governor came to realize that a shift to online courses could cost the state more money than traditional classroom education — at least for the next few years.

Further, independent institutions that offer quality, accredited online education in Minnesota are charging much more than $199. The Website for Minneapolis-based Capella University says its tuition runs about $795 for a three-credit lower-division class and $1,035 for upper division.

Pawlenty wants the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to have 25 percent of its credits earned online by 2015; MnSCU has about 12.5 percent online now. He also has been nudging the University of Minnesota to do more online.

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