North Carolina A&T latest HBCU to unveil online programs
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical is preparing to create online programs geared towards growing the school’s enrollment figures.
According to Insidehighered.com, NC A&T’s online offerings will be cheaper than “face-to-face” courses for in-state students, and they plan to go after students outside of their traditional demographic.
“In order to help enrollment grow, we have to look at different mechanisms to engage students in general. We can’t solely focus on the traditional 18- to 22-year-old,” said Joe Whitehead, vice president for academic affairs.
By non-traditional students, A&T plans to market the online programs towards adults who work, military members, and “students who left college before they could graduate.”
Another marketing tool the school will use is that A&T is now the nation’s largest Historically Black College and University as it recently surpassed Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University in enrollment.
“Florida A&M’s enrollment has fallen; North Carolina A&T’s has hovered below 11,000 students for nearly a decade. This fall, once again, enrollment sits at 10,875, a slight increase of 141 from the previous year.”
Some HBCUs have attempted to offer online programs in the past but have fallen short. As of 2014, just 33 HBCU’s offered online programs and all aren’t jumping on the bandwagon.
By way of Edcentral.org, Spellman College has no interest in offering online courses now or in the future.
HBCUs are still attempting to navigate the terrain of online education, and are rightfully taking the time to ensure that student success is a top priority before going all in. Still, if HBCUs really are places that cater to traditionally disadvantaged students, a move towards online programs seems to be the right direction.