February 23, 2011 | | Leave a comment Lawmakers and universities are working together to offer more low-cost degree options for college students. As part of this proposal, colleges are seeking ways to provide curriculum that allows them to enroll more students. For many, they have turned to online courses as a means to delivering this to enrollees. For instance, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) recently announced that it has made progress since it began offering new, low-cost options for students of all public-funded Arizona higher education institution who wish to earn a bachelors degree, according to the University of Arizona’s news site. Officials told the news provider that there are currently 1,162 bachelors degree pathway programs between the state’s community colleges and universities. They added that students who are enrolled in select pathway tracks are eligible to receive a 50 percent discount in tuition from what they would pay if they completed their four-year degree on one of the main university campuses. Furthermore, universities are also offering lower tuition options at extended campus centers and through accelerated and online degree programs. Currently, 11,000 students across the state are using their low-cost opportunities. The university system’s move to an Enterprise model has pushed them to offer more bachelor’s degree in an accelerated format, which includes online learning as well as joint admissions programs with two-year schools and regional colleges within the state. “Maintaining existing low-cost models and deploying even more in the future will be standard practice for the Enterprise as we navigate the challenge of educating larger numbers of students with dwindling state resources,” Anne Mariucci, ABOR chairperson, told the news source. Texas governor urges schools to offer cheaper bachelors degrees In Texas, Governor Rick Perry recently announced a proposal that would push universities and colleges in the state to offer $10,000 bachelors degree programs, news station KXAN reports. Many Texas lawmakers said that they believe tuition costs at four-year schools are too expensive, budgets are too large and colleges have lost sight of their main objective, which is to prepare students for a career. For instance, officials told the news source that tuition and fees for 60 credit hours at Austin Community College costs $3,480. Meanwhile, the same amount of time spent at the University of Texas costs nearly $18,836. “It is time for a bold, Texas-style solution to their challenge that I am sure the brightest minds in their universities can devise,” Perry told the news provider. “Today I am challenging our institutions of higher education to develop bachelors degrees that cost not more than $10,000, including textbooks.” In order to achieve this goal, Perry suggests that schools should explore online options and innovative teaching techniques. According to a 2009 Reuters report, the online education industry grew by 17 percent over the course of the year. Furthermore, the sector had been growing at a rate of approximately 20 percent annually in previous years. Furthermore, nearly 25 percent of U.S. students currently take at least some web-based courses. Online school reduces tuition costs for military personnel Meanwhile, some online schools like Excelsior College are targeting specific groups of individuals by offering tuition discounts. Officials from the learning institution recently announced that they are streamlining the application process and reducing the cost of going to school for military enrollees. They added that the school will reduce graduate-level tuition for Army personnel from $455 per credit to $250 beginning for the March 2011 semester. Furthermore, the reduction will also apply to other branches of the military beginning in May. “The military’s pre-college screening process provides all the necessary information to satisfy Excelsior’s application requirements, so military students can save time and start coursework earlier,” said Susan Dewan, executive director of Excelsior’s Center for Military Education.