One of the common critiques of online education, in general, is that the students already feel a bit disconnected from the university population. Many students in my online program commented on the feeling that we were teaching ourselves, etc....
So Georgia Tech's recent decision to slash its online degree by 80% of the in-class price makes some sense. InsideHigherEd ran a story outlining Georgia Tech's decision.
As IHE points out, "[w]hile today it is hardly noteworthy that a prestigious university like Georgia Tech is offering a graduate degree online, the university’s decision to price it more than 80 percent less than the on-campus option is truly groundbreaking. At $6,600, the online program is one-sixth the cost of the on-campus one, a fact that higher education leaders should be examining closely. Georgia Tech’s decision is indeed significant, given that more than 60 percent of large public U.S. universities typically charge online students a campus-equivalent tuition rate, while 36 percent command a premium. Not only is Georgia Tech challenging the status quo in online tuition pricing, but it is also shedding new light on the true cost of serving online students."
It is time to address this issue as tuition keep rising and online degree program continue to expand. "Although a rapidly increasing number of universities see online programs as a means of expanding their footprint and a way to capitalize on the principles of scale — adding more students without adding more on-the-ground resources to serve them — the pricing dilemma has not been fairly addressed."