Motlow says no online course fees

Motlow College is one of six community colleges in the state that does not charge an extra fee for taking online classes. (File Image)

LOCAL EDUCATION NEWS — A recent Treasury Department report recognized Motlow State as a leader in controlling the cost of college attendance. Motlow distinguished itself as a leader in preventing the increase of fees associated with online learning.

Tennessee’s public higher education institutions have provided online courses for more than two decades. The prevalence of online courses increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. At some colleges and universities, students are charged higher mandatory fees than students who attend class in person.

This is not the case at Motlow State Community College. Motlow worked effectively to control the cost of college attendance during the pandemic. By comparison, Motlow has consistently worked to control the costs of expanding online education and has never charged an additional online course fee. 

According to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Jason Mumpower’s June 2021 Report on Online Course Fees in Tennessee Higher Education, “On average, community college students pay $256 more per semester to enroll exclusively in online courses.”

Motlow is a notable exception to this report’s findings and is committed to keeping the cost of college attainable and affordable. The College is one of six community colleges in the state that does not charge an extra fee for taking online classes.

According to the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), a community college’s decision to assess an online fee depends on the president’s philosophy regarding online classes and the funding available to adequately support online offerings.

“There are major costs associated with adding the staff and technology essential to expanding online course offerings. I completely understand why other institutions charge fees to cover these costs,” explained Dr. Michael Torrence, President of Motlow. “Words do not express the pride and admiration I have in Motlow’s faculty and staff for their innovation and collaboration in meeting online learning needs without the addition of fees.”

“Access is not equity. Equity is ensuring that all students have the resources to succeed. This goal has been very intentional for us. We are driven by our passion for student success and we want to ensure that all students have access to the resources they need to be successful,” he added.

Motlow President Dr. Michael Torrence

Additionally, TBR has suspended the assessment of online course fees for TBR institutions for the 2021-22 academic year, which applies to the seven community colleges that currently assess such fees. 

Motlow takes reducing student fees even further. The College endeavors to match the control of fees with the control of textbook costs by using Open Educational Resources (OER). As part of the College’s 2020-2021 Annual Plan for Improvement, 16 general education courses were initially established as OER at the start of the Fall 2020 semester, and now Motlow has more than 50 OER courses available for students.

The use of OER means eliminating the cost of expensive textbooks. These materials for teaching or learning that are either in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows them to be freely used, changed, or shared with others.

“These resources are purposely designed by educators to benefit student learning. The materials used are carefully reviewed by Motlow faculty to ensure they are high quality, flexible and affordable resources, and suitable for the online learning environment,” said Dr. Gregory Sedrick, Executive Vice President of Student Success and Academic Affairs at Motlow.

Motlow consistently ranks as one of the top performing colleges in Tennessee. The College’s commitment to student success includes a proven balance between embedded emerging technology and the maintaining low costs to students. It’s commitment to developing critical partnerships, cultivating meaningful philanthropic support, and hiring the best talent is key in balancing growth and controlling costs.

Motlow State fall classes begin August 23. Apply today to For more information regarding reduced costs for students, email [email protected] or call 800-654-4877. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}