Is the University of Illinois in competition with for-profit schools? In most instances, not directly, says U. of I. President Robert A. Easter, but when it comes to on-line courses, he says it’s important that the purveyors not be indistinguishable to the students.
“We believe that we will distinguish ourselves always with the quality of the product that we offer. That’s why we’ve been very cautious when we move something to an on-line platform. We want it to be absolutely a University of Illinois-quality product,” he said.
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Yet he says there are students at the University of Illinois at Springfield who participated on-line from other states for the entirety of their undergraduate education, and set foot on campus for the first time at graduation in May to receive their degree.
Easter says the for-profits are “on the landscape” in terms of competition, but a traditional university such as Illinois can tout its on-campus benefits, such as leadership development, personal skill development and interaction with faculty and students.