Illinois should finally shut down Global Campus

All we can say is that it took them long enough. After two years and more than $10 million invested, University of Illinois trustees are finally considering whether to shut down Global Campus. The online campus has only attracted a few hundred students — 360 to be exact, which is only 4 percent of the initial prediction. University leaders originally stated Global Campus would bring in more than 9,000 students within five years.

Considering Global Campus’ initiative was to become one of the largest public online universities, offering low-cost University of Illinois degrees to adults in the comfort of their homes, that’s not just falling short of expectations; that’s failing.

The intentions were obviously good, but maybe this time the trustees will take into consideration what we’ve been saying all along: Global Campus will only be detrimental to the University, the students and the quality of students’ degrees, particularly if the trustees continue to see the program through.

We would love to see more Illinois residents receiving college degrees and fulfilling their dreams — that’s what this program was all about. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of our school’s budget and resources; it shouldn’t be at the expense of students attending one of the three traditional campuses. Although Global Campus was an alternative to registering for classes at a specific campus, Illinois’ three traditional campuses do offer online classes.

Understandably, it’s rigorous to get into the University of Illinois; it’s a prestigious school. But it should be hard to get in or else the degree carries no weight. If someone wants to obtain a University of Illinois degree on-line or elsewhere, they should have to maintain the standards as every other student on the campuses.

The University has clearly put too much on its plate, and right now, Illinois needs to play the balancing act which includes shutting down Global Campus.

And in doing so, the University’s money can be better spent further developing current undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as on renovating and maintaining new and old facilities on campuses. For now, the University needs to focus on what’s most important: our education.