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McRobbie Says Online Universities Won’t Replace IU Campuses

IU employees will see a 1.5 percent salary increase if trustees approve next year's budget.

Online for-profit universities are becoming more popular, but Indiana University’s President, Michael McRobbie, says he’s not worried about the competition.

Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition, McRobbie acknowledged enrollment at some universities may dip as college tuition costs rise and online universities offer cheaper college courses. But he says they don’t offer the same education as large, residential universities, like IU.

“There is a role that we play in the education of young people that I think is unique and is still one that the marketplace, it seems to me, demonstrates is enormously valued,” McRobbie says.

McRobbie says enrollment at IU is only going up and points out this year’s spring enrollment was an all time high for the university. And McRobbie says on-campus universities provide an educational experience that can’t be found online.

“For the younger student, I think the thing that has the most impact on them is a relationship with a teacher that will inspire him or her for the rest of their life,” McRobbie says. “It’s a unique thing that only universities can provide.”

But he also says the university is working harder to build an online presence. IU formed an Office of Online Education in 2011 and, McRobbie says regional campuses are moving towards providing more online education to match demand.

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