The University of Florida, based on a plan created by the state legislature, started UF Online in 2013. The original business plan was a case study in optimistic enrollment planning and the road-to-riches through online education. From program inception, UF Online was forecast to grow to a headcount of 24,000 students within 10 years, 43% of whom would be out-of-state high-tuition students, generating $76 million in annual revenue and $14 million of “profit”. Then reality hit. The first executive director quit, enrollment reality did not match plans, they got rid of their Online Program Management partner (Pearson), and they hired a new executive director with no higher education management experience. In my May 2015 coverage, I concluded:

UF Online seems to be institutionally-focused rather than student-focused, and the initiative is shaping up to be a case study in hubris. Without major changes in how the program is managed, including the main campus input into decisions, UF Online risks becoming the new poster child of online education failures. I honestly hope they succeed, but the current outlook is not encouraging.



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