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Howard U. Will Expand Its Online Offerings

Washington — A new partnership between Howard University and Pearson Education will allow the university to expand its online offerings started in the fall of 2014. The university will begin offering degree programs through the partnership, called Howard University Online, and hopes to reach up to 25 online programs in the following years.

“We are looking at the nontraditional student who might not come to our campus,” said Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard’s provost and chief academic officer. Howard University Online will be “aimed at professionals who are clearly trying to advance their education.”

He added that the university also hoped the new offerings would attract students in Africa and the Caribbean. The courses will be taught by Howard faculty members, although what will be offered and how much the courses will cost have yet to be determined, Dr. Frederick said. He declined to share details of the contract with Pearson.

Historically black colleges and universities have seen a steady, if slow, expansion of online offerings in the past few years, according to a June report by Howard’s Digital Learning Lab. The report says that 27 of the nation’s 106 historically black colleges now offer online or blended degree programs, three more than in 2012.

The partnership is part of Howard’s effort to increase revenue and enrollment and to expand its global presence at a time when some black colleges are struggling to stay afloat.

The deal was announced just two months after the vice chairwoman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Renee Higginbotham-Brooks, wrote a letter to fellow board members lambasting the university’s leadership and its lack of resources. Ms. Higginbotham-Brooks described a university facing significant enrollment declines, a weak fund-raising infrastructure, and smaller federal appropriations.

Correction (8/8/2013, 12:16 p.m.): This article originally misstated the middle initial of Howard’s provost. He is Wayne A.I. Frederick, not Wayne H. Frederick. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.

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