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Colorado State Online Campus Boosts Enrollment, Sees 80 Percent Retention

Three-year-old Colorado State University-Global Campus, funded by a $12 million loan from the state university system, recently repaid a third of that loan. The public online university released fiscal year 2011 results, reporting that the student population now stands at 4,000, that the student retention rate exceeds 80 percent semester to semester, and that it has graduated more than 400 students. The institution also received independent accreditation status by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Founded in 2008, the institution is the first public four-year university in Colorado to be accredited since 1971.

The Global Campus was created by the Colorado State University System Board of Governors in 2008. The loan from the System helped the online university pay startup expenses and operational costs; but now it follows a self-funded, tuition-driven revenue model.

"CSU-Global Campus exceeded its academic, operational and financial expectations for FY '11, and we are pleased to be able to share our success as we continue to achieve our mission," said President Becky Takeda-Tinker. Takeda-Tinker had reported to the board of governors in May 2011 that she anticipated that the Global Campus would close the fiscal year with about $5 million in net income.

The fall 2010 enrollment for the online campus was 2,516. That compares to 29,932 students at the Fort Collins campus and 5,145 at the Pueblo campus.

The university currently offers six bachelor's degree programs in IT, public management, and other areas; three master's degrees in management, organizational leadership, and teaching; and nine "certificate of completion" programs. The cost per credit for fall 2011 will be $350 for undergraduate students and $450 per credit hour for graduate students. An interesting marketing angle is a tuition guarantee that locks in a student's tuition rate at the start of enrollment and through all courses until graduation. According to the Global Campus Web site, however, that tuition guarantee may be affected if a student decides to take time off from school.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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