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Neighboring state takes giant step forward in online learning

November 20, 2000

Feel as if we're standing in someone's shadow? Could be.

A front-page article in the Nov. 15 edition of the Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky has launched the first program in the nation to encourage universities to turn a profit by offering instruction over the Internet.

Kentucky Virtual University will use a $1.5 million state “venture capital” fund to provide interest-free loans for Kentucky colleges and professors developing online projects.

“It's a more entrepreneurial approach, which Internet technology requires,” said KVU chief executive Mary Beth Susman.

The $1.5 million comes from a state technology trust fund established by the Kentucky legislature during in 1997 as part of a higher education reform package. The same trust fund was used to create KVU.

Since it began offering courses in the fall of 1999, KVU has grown rapidly and now has 3,156 students. “We've found that the more programs we offer the more students we have,” Susman said in the Courier-Journal article.