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UW-Milwaukee students see sharp spike in online course charges

Students at the University Wisconsin-Milwaukee are finding that it's not cheap to go to class at their computers.

The College of Letters and Science is charging $275 more on top of the normal tuition for its online course offerings.

Provost Rita Cheng sees it as a convenience fee, paid by students who don't want to wait a semester for classes that are not always held in person each fall and spring.

The extra money covers the cost of the online courses.

And at UWM, it also helps makes up for a $20 million budget cut that's only partially being covered by a general tuition increase.

Six-percent of Milwaukee's classes are only being offered online this fall.

That's up from almost 4.5 percent last year.

Total class offerings, meanwhile, have dropped 3 percent over the past year.

UW-M has been getting help in some of its computerized class offerings.

The Alfred Sloan Foundation gave the school a three-year, $0.5 million grant to develop classes that mix face-to-face teaching with online instruction.

The UW System allows campuses to raise their prices for distance education courses, and take advantage of the market.

At Madison, extra fees are not charged for online classes unless they involve entire specialized masters' programs.