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Friday, August 12, 2022

UF Online will terminate its contract with the publishing and assessment service Pearson Education.

UF Online Assistant Provost and Director Evangeline Cummings said UF notified Pearson of plans to terminate the contract in June due to Pearson’s failure to recruit more out-of-state students to UF Online. She made the final decision last month.

Cummings said Pearson provided marketing, recruitment, retention, student coaching and free textbooks to UF Online. The decision is part of a broader review of UF Online to make sure they’re using money wisely.

"I think this is a great, exciting new chapter for UF Online," she said.

Cummings said UF has paid Pearson about $9 million and will pay about $2 million more.

Moving forward, UF will have its own online recruitment center on campus, she said.

Cummings said online students shouldn’t worry. Student advisers will take on the coaching work Pearson was doing. Free textbooks were so limited that their absence won’t be noticeable.

"I think it’ll actually serve (students) better," she said. "I think they’re going to get better services by UF experts across campus."

Marketing and advertising for the UF Online program will be provided through the branding agency 160over90, Cummings said. All other services will be provided by UF.

UF Online criminology and law senior Greg Heilig said he didn’t know UF Online had a contract with Pearson until recently and doesn’t think its cancellation will affect students.

"I think it’s probably going to be better for the UF Online program," the 43-year-old said.

Contact Alexandra Fernandez at afernandez@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @alexmfern

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