Florida A&M announced plans earlier this month to join radio host Tom Joyner on an ambitious online distance learning initiative.
Officials on both sides said this is a move to tap into the huge market of black students who are interested in pursuing postgraduate degrees but can not get to, or do not want to attend classes on campus.
According to reports, more than 200,000 black students are pursuing online degrees with the University of Phoenix.
FAMU will be in partnership with Tom Joyner Online Education (TJOE), which launched the distance learning initiative under the brand, http://hbcusonline.com. TJOE officials said two other HBCUs are on board, but they are not officially confirmed yet. The program will be officially launched in September according to university officials.
FAMU will offer online master’s degrees in nursing, business and pharmacy. The goal is to then expand the program offerings over the next three years and recruit former students who didn’t complete their degrees and those enrolled in the military said Franzetta Fitz, who is directing FAMU’s distance learning initiative.
Joyner first announced the online program for students who want to study at HBCUs during a speech at Fayetteville State University in February. Wednesday’s announcement came during the annual FAMU faculty planning conference. President James Ammons, Tom Joyner and TJOE’s six-member leadership team were present during the announcement.
The radio host’s son, Thomas Joyner Jr., president of the Tom Joyner Foundation, will serve as president of TJOE. The Howard University graduate said he will step down as head of the not-for-profit in December to avoid a conflict of interest.
According to university officials FAMU raised a record $1 million in 2009 during the Tom Joyner Foundation School of the Month program.