- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

TUSCALOSSA, Ala. (AP) - Online enrollment has historically been a point of strength for the University of West Alabama, but the school has witnessed a decline in recent years.

Now, the university is hoping to boost online enrollment after signing an agreement with online education company Learning House, the Tuscaloosa News (https://bit.ly/2fbmoqV) reported. UWA board of trustees approved a seven-year agreement in September.

“This is a different business model for this university so we spent some time doing our due diligence,” UWA President Ken Tucker said.

Learning House, a Kentucky-based company, was acquired to market the university’s online programs and enrollment management services in exchange for a share of tuition revenues from new online students the company helps recruit.

The deal went through a series of revisions as part of months of negotiations between the company and a subcommittee of trustees and administrators.

School officials believe net online revenues for UWA under the agreement to grow by $1.5 million to $1.8 million over the course of the agreement.

The deal has requirements for the company including recruitment performance goals, a minimum amount of investment in marketing, and a clause prohibiting it from contracting with the university’s major regional online competitors without UWA’s consent.

“What I saw the first day was the leadership,” Learning House President Todd Zipper said. “This is a group ready to bring the right kind of change to campus.”

University officials are trying to retool and grow in a competitive market following a trend of declining enrollment since 2011. The company and UWA are preparing for the launch in the winter, while Learning House expects to begin work in January.

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Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, https://www.tuscaloosanews.com

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