Dunedin, Florida -- The University of Florida is targeting high school seniors to apply for their online four-year degree program.
While some Dunedin High School students like the idea, others are not sure it's for them -- even with the 25 percent reduction in tuition and fees compared to on-campus tuition and fees.
"I would want to do it and I think it'd be pretty convenient. You don't have to get up and go to class, you can stay home. But at the same time, I want to know what college is like," said Marc Allison, a 12th grader at Dunedin High School.
"I want to go and I want to have a million different memories. I want to meet all these people, and I need to make contacts for when I go out into whatever field I pick. And how am I going to make contacts if I'm online and the only time I leave my room is to go get food?" said junior Bianca Persechino.
The online degree will offer the exact same eight semesters of education for at least five majors as UF's on-campus option in Gainesville.
The program's Associate Director Brian Harfe said they are currently adding another four majors.
"We wanted the four-year online degree option for two reasons: so qualified students across the country could take our classes, and if they cannot physically be on campus they can earn a UF education. So if they have a family, or a job that limits them, this can be an option for them," said Harfe. "Also, our enrollment has been capped for years so we physically do not have more space for more students, and the online degree allows more students to attend."
He said there are almost 600 transfer students enrolled in the four-year online program and about 90 freshman applicants. Getting into the university is just as hard for the online students as the on-campus students.
"There is no difference in your degree either," said Harfe. "You earn a UF degree and it's the same whether it is online or at the campus."
He also said they are experimenting with 3D printing for some laboratory classes. For example, in a geology course the 3D printer would print a 3D image of a rock and send it to students so they could work on their lab work at home.
The online classes require a student to have a computer with a camera and audio that way the UF technology can monitor your personal surroundings during the class and eye movements during testing.
The university's goal is to have 1,000 students enrolled in the online program next fall.