The success at UIS has been fueled, for the most part, by external funding. Given the dropping percentage of funding from the state over the past ten years, any new initiative such as the online program needed to be funded by grants.
Seeded by a modest $52,000 grant from the then VPAA of the University of Illinois system, Dr. Sylvia Manning (who is the now president of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Accrediting Association), the program started in 1997. Nearly four million dollars in grants over the next decade funded start up of 17 online degree programs and numerous online certificates.
An online fee of $25/credit hour sustains the initiative now - generating more than a million dollars annually that is distributed back to the departments, colleges, COLRS, tech support and library in order to keep the program growing. The fee now funds stipends for the addition of new online classes and even new online degree programs.