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University of West Alabama Looks to Boost Enrollment with New Deal

TUSCALOSSA, Ala. ― Online enrollment has historically been a point of strength for the University of West Alabama, but the school has witnessed a decline in recent years.

Now, the university is hoping to boost online enrollment after signing an agreement with online education company Learning House, the Tuscaloosa News reported. UWA board of trustees approved a seven-year agreement in September.

“This is a different business model for this university so we spent some time doing our due diligence,” UWA President Ken Tucker said.

Learning House, a Kentucky-based company, was acquired to market the university’s online programs and enrollment management services in exchange for a share of tuition revenues from new online students the company helps recruit.

The deal went through a series of revisions as part of months of negotiations between the company and a subcommittee of trustees and administrators.

School officials believe net online revenues for UWA under the agreement to grow by $1.5 million to $1.8 million over the course of the agreement.

The deal has requirements for the company including recruitment performance goals, a minimum amount of investment in marketing, and a clause prohibiting it from contracting with the university’s major regional online competitors without UWA’s consent.

“What I saw the first day was the leadership,” Learning House President Todd Zipper said. “This is a group ready to bring the right kind of change to campus.”

University officials are trying to retool and grow in a competitive market following a trend of declining enrollment since 2011. The company and UWA are preparing for the launch in the winter, while Learning House expects to begin work in January.

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