Maryland Projects Growth at ‘Virtual University’

Maryland Projects Growth at ‘Virtual University’

ADELPHI, Md.
Offering one of the nation’s largest distance learning curriculums for a public institution, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is projected to experience a tripling of its enrollment by 2010, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission. In a report released by the commission in July, the enrollment growth will be fueled largely by the university’s concentration on adult learners and online education expertise.
“The rapid growth of ‘e-learning’ is changing the whole enrollment picture for Maryland higher education,” says Karen Johnson, the commission’s secretary of higher education. “It is clear that colleges and universities will benefit immensely from the Web revolution. The growth of UMUC’s enrollment in the past two years demonstrates that the use of the Internet is a powerful vehicle for delivery of higher education programs.”
In 1994, UMUC began offering courses electronically. Since then, online enrollments at UMUC have been doubling or tripling annually. Last year, the university surpassed its target of 60,000 enrollments, having about 63,000 online enrollments, a figure that is nearly 15 times larger than five years before, according to the report. UMUC offers 29 degree and 40 certificate programs online.
“UMUC has excelled at distributed education since its beginning in 1947 because of our experiences providing higher education to students throughout Maryland and the metropolitan Washington region, as well as to U.S. military on every continent,” says UMUC president Dr. Gerald A. Heeger.
The Maryland Higher Education Commission report concludes that enrollment at  Maryland public colleges and universities is expected to grow by 27 percent — or by 61,000 students — over the next 10 years. The increase exceeds national projections by the U.S. Department of Education of 20 percent. 



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