Online classes: Convenient option, or growing cash cow for UWM?

Students registering for fall classes this summer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will see a 30-percent increase in the number of online classes, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — but the convenience comes with a price: as much as $275 per course on top of regular tuition. University officials say the increase is part of a strategy to boost enrollment and revenue by meeting a growing demand for the online format, which appeals to students who commute, work full time, or have families. But the move is also a way for UWM to pass more of its costs to students at a time when it faces a $20 million budget cut over the next two years that will be only partially offset by a tuition increase. The trend toward online courses raises two key questions at a time when UWM students are registering for fall classes: Will the shift in scheduling mean more local students have to take the pricier online courses, and where does the money raised by the online fees go?

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