When students register for an online course at ETSU, some may notice an additional fee is attached. Alongside the maintenance and tuition fees, the online course fee is $25 per undergraduate credit hour and $35 per graduate credit hour.

Each online course has the same fee per hour rate, no matter how long the course lasts.

“There is an additional fee for online courses that helps support the infrastructure required to offer online and distance education courses,” said Myra Jones, chief operating officer. “The online course fee is used for a variety of services and software that support faculty and students in distance education courses.”

Of this fee, 30 percent is used toward the specific academic college and the rest of the money is split between university-wide resources, which benefits the students, faculty and staff, both on and off campus.

Desire2Learn, or D2L, is funded through the technology access fee and the online course fee. The Respondus Lockdown Browser and WebEx streaming software are also funded in part by this fee. There are many software and hardware parts used for instructional televisions courses that benefit from these fees as well.

These student fees are also used to pay the salary of supporting staff and faculty who are teaching, taking and assisting with these online classes.

These fees are the same ranging from $25- $100 per undergrad course and $35-$140 per graduate course, regardless of the semester classes are taken and what course is being taken.

“These funds are returned to the college annually,” Jones said. “They can be used in whatever way best support the college and/or faculty needs.”

While these online course fees may seem expensive and unnecessary to some, the fees play a role in how the university functions and the technologies relied upon by the campus community daily.