LOGAN — Utah State University recently announced its plan to lower tuition for in-state students taking online courses starting in summer semester this year.
The university's tuition plateau level was also lowered from 13 credits to 12 credits. That means students can take up to 18 credit hours per semester, but they only pay for 12.
Previously, USU students were charged as much as 60 percent more per credit for online classes than traditional on-campus classes. Online credits weren't included in the tuition plateau for traditional courses.
USU lowered its tuition plateau to 12 credits following a recommendation from the Utah System of Higher Education intended to encourage students to enroll in a full load of 15 credits.
After seeing a rise in the number of students taking both traditional and online courses, the university decided to apply the same tuition rate and plateau level to traditional, online and broadcast courses for students residing in Utah, according to Robert Wagner, USU vice provost for USU-Online and regional campuses.
"We wanted to be able to respond as an institution in a more flexible and efficient way," Wagner said. "I think it demonstrates that Utah State University is very serious in making sure we are meeting students' needs."
USU now offers more than 400 online courses, including several master's degree programs.
Doug Fiefia, president of USU's Student Association, believes the change will be well received among students.
"This new tuition model incentivizes students to take online courses and to take 15 or more credits, the amount needed each semester to graduate in four years," he said. "This will enable students to graduate in less time."
Before the change, USU was Utah's only university that charged significantly more for its online courses. Currently, all universities in the state, except the University of Utah, have a tuition plateau that starts at 12 credits or lower.
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