At Kent State, there are three types of online programs that academic units can offer:
- Online Only: An online-only program has all (100 percent) of its required and elective courses offered fully online, with no expectation that students will take an on-ground course. The program may require students to be on campus for a specific purpose (e.g., orientation, support services); however, that requirement cannot be tied, whatsoever, to a course or any instructional component that affects student progression through the program for graduation. For a fully online program’s culminating requirement (e.g., project, thesis), program faculty must allow for students to complete the requirement from a distance (e.g., students defending a thesis via web conferencing).
- Hybrid (Online/On-Ground): A hybrid program blends online and on-ground course delivery. More than 50 percent of the program’s course requirements are offered via distance education, and there are a reduced number of face-to face meetings. That 50 percent of course requirements does not include internship, student teaching or any other out-of-class instructional experience.
- Online and On-Ground: A program that is offered both online and on-ground has two separate deliveries: (1) a fully online program with no on-ground course requirements and (2) an on-ground program with the expectation that the majority of courses will be offered on-ground. Both online and on-ground programs are identical in all ways except course delivery (i.e., no difference in admission criteria, course requirements, student learning outcomes, etc.).
Any program that meets one of the three definitions above must be approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to be marketed and communicated to students as online. Please contact Curriculum Services to discuss the approval process.
Students in a fully online program are given a different financial aid package (“cost of attendance”) as required by the U.S. Department of Education. Out-of-state students in a fully online program are given a discounted tuition rate. Therefore, fully online programs are coded differently in Banner—coded with “V” for virtual—to distinguish them from on-ground programs. This differentiation allows for correct federal and state reporting, bursar billing of tuition and fees, accreditation reporting, international student tracking and veteran’s services benefits processing. Failure to properly code online-only program results in non-compliance with federal Title IV financial aid regulations, which can result in substantial penalties to Kent State University.
NOTE: If online delivery is not the intent of a program’s coordinators, but the program’s curriculum has enough flexibility so that individual students could fulfill requirements with a majority of online courses through deliberate course selection, the program does not need to be classified and/or approved as online, as long as the program is not marketed to students as an online program.