The University of Florida is taking a bold—some say sneaky—approach to expanding its enrollment in online courses. The school recently accepted an additional 3,118 students into its fall 2015 freshman class, but only for online classes they access from home.
The university had already accepted about 12,000 freshman students who will be free to take either online or traditional courses right on the campus. The add-on group will be limited to online classes for at least their first two semesters, although once they accumulate 60 credit hours, they may be eligible to transfer into regular freshman enrollment.
Florida didn’t inform applicants in advance that there might be two different acceptances, and none of the students specifically applied to be an online-only enrollee, according to The Washington Post.
The move “allows us to offer admission to additional qualified applicants with academic potential and demonstrated success,” Steve Orlando, senior director of media relations, told The Post. The school isn’t sure how many will actually enroll in the online program, but estimates about 10% will probably take the offer.
In part, the decision to admit additional freshmen as online students was made to help fill the university’s new online undergraduate program, launched in 2014. The Florida state legislature, which has been promoting online education, provided $15 million in startup funding.