September 25-26, 2003 


ITEM 120-2854-R0903                Authorization to Offer Online Courses to Non-resident Students at 200% of Resident Tuition; Montana State University—Great Falls College of Technology


THAT:                                       The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorize Montana State University—Great Falls College of Technology to offer on-line courses to non-resident students at 200% of resident tuition rates.


EXPLANATION:                        Montana State University—Great Falls College of Technology has excess capacity in a number of its online course and program offerings. In order to utilize these courses at capacity or closer to capacity, MSU would like to price these courses to non-resident students at a rate that can attract students from outside Montana.  This could be done while maintaining access for Montana students.                       


At the MSU-Great Falls College of Technology on-line enrollments have grown steadily and now represent about 20% of the FTE production.  Nonetheless, as the appended plan demonstrates, excess capacity does exist. 


Online offerings may present the best opportunity for the Great Falls campus to reverse its historic inability to attract non-resident students and enjoy the benefits that non-resident tuition revenues can bring to a campus.  National interest in the College’s offerings, particularly in the health care programs, has been demonstrated in the past, but non-resident tuition has been a deterrent.  


Additionally, the return on the campus’s investment in online and distance offerings is a key component in strategies for long-term sustainability.  In Great Falls, for instance, online courses and programs provide the best alternative for meeting local students’ needs in the COT’s space-constrained environment; adding non-resident students ensures that these courses have enrollments sufficient to offer them.


At its July 2003 meeting, the Board of Regents authorized the setting of non-resident tuition for on-line courses at no less than 150% of the resident tuition rate and requested a plan similar to that provided by MSU-Billings at the May 2003 to accompany any future requests.  That plan is provided in the appended document.