University of California Spends $7.65 Million on Class Taken by One Person

The University of California is a large system of colleges and junior colleges in the State of California.  The entire system has nearly 19,000 faculty and 189,000 staff that provide a college education for almost 235,000 students throughout the state.  They are public schools, governed by a board of regents and receive between $2.5 billion and $3 billion annually from a state on the verge of bankruptcy.

With such a cash strapped state providing several billion dollars of annual funding, you would think that the university system would be doing everything it could to save money.  The are bound to have a number of highly qualified economic professors that could help them become more financially prudent, or so one would think.

One of their cost saving measures involved producing an assortment of online classes that would be made available to anyone anywhere in the world.  Their program, called UC Online borrowed $6.9 million from the UC system plus it raised $750,000 on its own.  The money was used to create a plethora of online classes.  The loan must be paid back in seven years.  UC Online said they expected to have 7,000 non-UC students from around the world enroll in the courses at a cost of $1,400 or $2,400 per course.

They spent $4.3 million just on a marketing program to generate enrollment.  They targeted China, expecting a large number of enrollments there, but that was a bust.  They also tried to target US military personnel, but again another bust.  The courses were created and advertised as knocking one’s socks off, but so far the only thing it has knocked off is dust.

UC Online was launched a year ago, and so far they have sold a grand total of one, yep, 1, online course.  If they charge the full $2,400 per course, and only sell one a year, by the time they are expected to pay back their $6.9 million loan, they would have taken in a grand total of $16,800.

I’m not an economics major, but even I can figure out that the University of California has made a multimillion dollar mistake somewhere in their thinking.  And to think that they are hailed as one of the top university systems in the country.  Just makes you want to send your kids there to study, doesn’t it?  NOT!