On Monday, September 19, the University of West Alabama board of trustees met and passed a seven-year agreement with Learning House, an online instructional company, for marketing UWA’s enrollment services and various education programs. The deal will provide Learning House with a share of revenue generated from online students’ tuition.
“This is the best deal we can find that any institution is getting,” said Justin Smith, a UWA trustee. “A lot of that is a large credit to the board.”
According to Tuscaloosa News, Learning House plans on beginning their marketing campaigns right away, and the enrollment assistance will likely begin at the start of the next semester in January.
In June, the board approved a two percent increase in student tuition and a three percent employee raise as part of the 2016-17 budget. At the time of this approval, the board essentially chose against the deal with Learning House and created a three-person subcommittee of trustees that would handle UWA’s online programs.
“We worked hard to raise enough new operating and maintenance money to afford the increase,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “We didn’t want any tuition increase because of the huge fixed cost related to insurance premiums. We didn’t have a choice.”
The $200,000 generated from the tuition increase helped pave the way financially for the Learning House deal to go through.
“I just know, me personally, that appointing a smaller committee to take a closer look is the right way to go,” said Justin Smith, the trustee who was in charge of the subcommittee.
The new deal will provide Learning House with a 38% share of tuition from new undergrads who enrolled online. As well as a 25% increase for graduate-level courses, like the Integrated Marketing program, which is well established.
UWA’s Marketing and Communications students enjoy the pleasures of learning about various marketing strategies, marketing history — like the early 1920s breakthrough of flying plane banner advertisements — and studying all over the world.
Kaitlynn Beaird and Whitney Fulton, two UWA students as part of one of those programs — the Integrated Marketing Communications program — recently completed a semester in Geneva, Switzerland.
“This experience should make them highly competitive for jobs,” said Dr. Amy Jones, director of the IMC program, “as they successfully navigated a new country, a new language, and a host of international communications courses.”