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Groupon for University Tuition

By now, I'm sure most of you have heard of Groupon and its amazing discounts that can be used to make dining, manicures, a night at the theater, and a number of events so much cheaper. But here's a novel idea; using Groupon to cut the cost of tuition.

In an attempt to grow its education masters degree program, National Louis University was the first school to give Groupon a try. From September 6-10, this private institution located in downtown Chicago offered a 60% discount for an introduction to teaching course this fall.

The offer stated: "Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as a gift. BA degree required. Classes are non-transferable. May redeem across visits. Completion of the course does not guarantee admission to an NLU degree program. Valid for new students of National Louis University only."

The course included 15 hours of field experience and the potential to receive 3 credits toward a masters degree in teaching. According to Groupon, "The university ranks first in Illinois for the number of graduate degrees conferred...with alumni earning more Golden Apple awards than any other school of education. It is also credited as the founder of the modern American kindergarten movement and the Parent Teacher Association."

The regular tuition for this course is $2,232, but with the Groupon offer, tuition was only $950.

The Chicago Tribune interviewed Jocelyn Zivin, vice president of marketing and communications for the university, who said, "There are all kinds of factors in the K-12 world that are really discouraging teachers and people seeking teaching degrees. We'd like (potential students) to understand what the realities are, whether you are committed to this profession ... and see if you have what it takes."

And the president of the university, Nivine Megahead, explained why they chose Groupon to get more students signed up for the course, saying, "We realize in order to thrive in the competitive environment of higher education, we need to be where our students are, speak to them in a way they are used to speaking, and many of our potential students receive daily emails from Groupon."

So, how did this experiment work out for National Louis University? Well, with 25 slots available, 18 people went for the Groupon deal. Successful or not; you decide.

"Part of our mission at National Louis, since the university's founding 125 years ago, is to identify people of talent who want to be teachers," Zivin said. "This is an innovative way to deliver on that mission and reach those folks."

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