[Updated (10/23/2015, 5:08 p.m.) with more detail from Pearson’s statement.]
The University of Florida is canceling its contract with Pearson Embanet to administer its online degree-granting arm, UF Online, after attracting low enrollment. Politico Florida cites an email from Evangeline J. Cummings, the university’s assistant provost and director of UF Online, saying the contract would be terminated in late December.
“In accordance with this shift to integrate UF Online more fully into core university operations we are proceeding with the full termination of the Pearson agreement effective in late December,” the email reads.
Pearson began handling the project, a $35-million effort that was urged on by the Florida Legislature, in 2013. Discouraged by low enrollment — as of last month, UF Online had enrolled just over 1,500 students — administrators decided to re-evaluate the 11-year contract, which could have paid Pearson up to $186 million.
In a statement, Pearson said it was “disappointed” with the decision. “Pearson’s online-program-management services have been successful at a number of colleges and universities across the U.S.,” the statement reads. “We have learned a great deal from the UF partnership that can be applied to helping both Pearson and other university customers improve their delivery of online options for students.”
In its statement, the company added that the university had seen an 84-percent increase in UF Online’s enrollment this fall, compared with a year earlier.