UF Expanding Access to Services for Online Students

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – As part of our continued commitment to provide an excellent student experience, the University of Florida will now offer an optional fee package that will enable UF Online students to access additional student services when in the Gainesville area.

Designed with the undergraduate online student in mind, this UF Online Optional Fee Package will be available starting in the fall semester. All UF Online students, including Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PaCE) students in UF Online, will now be able to opt into this optional fee package for the same price as their on campus student peers.

“UF Online students are mobile and they are seeking new ways to connect and collaborate as part of our UF learning community,” says Evangeline Cummings, Assistant Provost and Director of UF Online. “This new optional fee package is just one of several new initiatives we are launching this year to enhance our online student experience and provide more avenues for engagement and connection.”

Students will be able to enroll in the new fee package in July and may begin accessing services, such as signing up for season football tickets, later that month. Enrollment is available to students at any time, however they do need to opt in before the beginning of the term for which they want to start receiving services. They can also opt out at any time.

“Participation in this fee package is entirely optional, as we are sensitive to any additional costs for our online students,” says Cummings. “We also appreciate that many of our online students will likely remain at a distance and will not seek out this optional fee package for local services. However for those students that reside in or frequent the Gainesville area, this optional fee package simply provides an avenue to access a broader range of services. ”

The University of Florida has a legacy of distance education and online learning dating back to the late 1990’s, and the launch of UF Online in January of 2014 is part of that. Starting in the fall of 2016, UF Online consists of 16 bachelor degrees and four minors. UF is accepting applications for fall admissions into UF Online by June 1, 2016. More than 1,700 students from around the world are currently enrolled in the program.

UF Online Optional Fee Package – Fact Sheet

What is it?

The UF Online Optional Fee Package is designed to give UF Online students (including PaCE students) who choose to reside in or frequently visit Gainesville access to on campus student services. The optional fee package consists of the following fees and services:

  • Activities & Services – Participation in recreational sports and intramurals, access to recreation and fitness facilities, and participation in programs like Gator Nights
  • Health Services – Access to the Student Health Care Center and Counseling and Wellness Center
  • University Athletics – Access to student sections and discounted pricing for athletic events (based on ticket availability)
  • Transportation – Fare-free service on the Regional Transit System (RTS)

For full details and list of services, please visit the FAQ on the UF Online website.

How much will it cost?

The optional fee package is billed on a per credit hour basis and is the same cost on-campus students pay as part of their cost of attendance. The cost may vary each academic year. For the 2015-16 year the cost is $46.21 per credit hour.

Can students use financial aid to pay for it?

While a student’s financial aid budget will not be increased to cover it as this is an optional cost, students can use their financial aid to pay for the optional fee package. More details can be found on the FAQ.

When will this package be implemented?

The package will be available starting fall 2016. The implementation timeline is:

  • April 20 – Program announced externally through email communication to admitted and current students, and a press release to media
  • Early-Mid July – Students will receive details on how to sign up for the fee package and will be able to sign up for the fee package
  • Start of Fall Semester – Students will begin accessing these additional services

Is a student required to sign up for UF Online Optional Fee Package?

This optional fee package is completely optional and has no impact on the current services and access a UF Online student currently has. It will not help nor hinder their ability to succeed academically. They can still access the services offered in this fee package, however the cost structure is different. Visit the FAQ for more details.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Harper, Associate Director of Communications & Marketing, UF Online, kathy.harper@ufl.edu.