Why Unity College is going hybrid for good

Hybrid learning program offers a multi-modal curriculum, shorter terms and a nonstandard calendar
By: | August 3, 2020
Unity College in Maine will shift away from on-campus instruction toward a hybrid learning model that blends online coursework and class sessions in national parks, foreign countries and other locations.Unity College in Maine will shift away from on-campus instruction toward a hybrid learning model that blends online coursework and class sessions in national parks, foreign countries and other locations.

Unity College will shift permanently to hybrid online learning that will offer students lower tuition rates and could also lead to a sale of the school’s campus in Maine.

Students in the Unity College: Hybrid Learning program can choose a combination of online learning and face-to-face instruction that could take place in various locations relevant to the course of study, such as national parks, foreign countries and the college’s other properties.

“While the financial impact of COVID-19 certainly expedited our plans, this transition to a fully hybrid model is not simply a reaction to the pandemic,” President Melik Peter Khoury said in a statement. “It is a critical next step in helping Unity College thrive and better serve our students in the 21st century while happening to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof.”

The college will not require SATs and ACTs, and its five-week terms will start on eight different dates throughout the year. Students can take terms off.


More from UB: Colleges focus on systemic racism, see some financial hope


The multi-modal curriculum allows students more flexibility to seek jobs and internships while still in college, Khoury said.

Unity charged just over $22,000 a year for the traditional on-campus program that will be eliminated. The hybrid model will cost students $13,200 and fully online will run $11,280.

Unity leaders say enrollment and revenues have grown steadily over the last 10 years. But the environmentally-focused college is now facing a $12 million to $14 million revenue shortfall due in part to a 33% decline in enrollment for 2020-2021.

It has also laid off 15% of its workforce and furloughed another 11% of its employees.

“Going from campus-centered to entirely hybrid with no dependence on a fixed campus is the very essence of the type of innovation needed to succeed in today’s economic and educational environment,” said Khoury said.


UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.


Interested in technology? Keep up with the UB Tech® conference.