Mizzou Online invites University of Missouri schools and colleges to apply for funds to be used to develop online programs. $2 million will be available each fiscal year.

Download the request for proposals document.

Download the program budget template.

Colleges and schools may submit proposals any time during fiscal year. Proposals submitted after all allocated funds for fiscal year have been awarded may be considered in the following year.

A Business Case Required Elements request must be completed for programs that will charge more than base tuition.

Academic investment

The purpose of this initiative is to create increase access to University of Missouri educational experiences through online degrees and certificates. Expanding degree options to students at a distance is at the core of Mizzou's land-grant mission to extend the University’s educational resources to the citizens of the state.

Programs that have received approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) are eligible for funding. Funds will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  • Market analysis and program budget demonstrate strong potential for the program to generate sufficient revenue from new distance students to recoup University investment within three years of program launch.
  • Proposed program adds diversity to MU’s distance program portfolio.
  • Proposal includes a plan to ensure all faculty involved in developing or teaching online courses are adequately prepared, and committed, to incorporate best practices in their courses.
  • Documentation of pre-proposal consultation with designated Mizzou Online Program Coordinator
  • Documentation of pre-proposal consultation with an instructional designer.
  • Work plan is well conceived.

Reminders to departments

Pre-proposal consultation: Schedule your pre-proposal consultation with Mizzou Online. Contact Dr. Kim Siegenthaler.

Progress reports: Academic units receiving funds for the development of online programs are requested to submit semi-annual (June 15 and December 15) program and expense reports to Dr. Kim Siegenthaler. Please use this form for your report.


What can I use the funds for?

  • Release time for instructors, additional compensation for faculty, and summer stipends to develop courses for the program.
  • Instructor compensation for teaching online classes within the proposed program during the development phase.
  • Compensation for support personnel (e.g. recruiter, academic adviser)
  • Program specific marketing (A minimum of 10% of requested funds must be budgeted for marketing. Marketing plan to be developed in consultation with Mizzou Online marketing team).

How many pages should our proposal be?

There is no minimum or maximum number of pages for the proposals.

Can I get funding for individual courses?

Funding is not available for individual courses. The purpose of this RFP is to fund the development of online programs that provide stand-alone credentials, i.e. degrees and certificates.

Will all funded proposals receive $250,000?

No. Proposal budgets should reflect best estimates of what it will cost to develop and launch the program. Budget lines will be reviewed carefully to determine projected needs.

How will the amount awarded be determined? Would a graduate certificate program be eligible for the same amount as a degree program?

The award amount will be determined by Distance Education Review Committee. The committee will determine if items for which funding is requested are in alignment with RFP criteria. Costs vary by type of program and are influenced by the number of courses to be developed. Typically degree programs are more expensive to develop than certificates. Certificate programs are eligible for up to $250,000, but will not necessarily be awarded that amount.

Does the funded amount have to be expended within a year? Can unexpended funds be carried over?

Funds do not have to be spent within one year. Course development as well as marketing initiatives are often planned out over a three year period.

What happens if all proposed courses are not developed within the allotted time frame?

Semi-annual progress reports are required for those receiving funding. In the report, recipients are asked to provide updates on progress and describe any changes to the original schedule. While some revisions to the original schedule are anticipated, funding may be withdrawn from recipients who do not show consistent progress.

The RFP specifies a program launch date within three full semesters of funding. Must all courses within the program be developed by that time?

No, all courses do not need to be developed by the stated launch date. The first class(es) in the program should be offered within three full semesters with others to follow in each subsequent semester. The expectation is that course development will be completed according to the timetable submitted in the RFP.

Who determines academic content of the courses?

The instructor assigned to develop the course and the academic unit determine course content.

What instructional design assistance is available?

Course Design & Technology instructional designers are available to work with each faculty member responsible for developing a course.

How will a consultation with Mizzou Online help me prepare my proposal?

Mizzou Online will help academic units identify needed resources, establish an appropriate timeline, determine financial projections, develop a proposal budget, and analyze the extent and type of advertising and promotion needed to successfully launch and sustain recruitment for online programs.

What kind of assistance will be available to me during the development process?

Mizzou Online will help you develop and position your online academic program for optimum success. A program coordinator will help you conceptualize, plan, implement and maintain your distance program.

What marketing support is available to me from Mizzou Online?

Mizzou Online's marketing and recruitment team provides inquiry management, advertising plans focused on lead generation and creative services, including the development of strategies related to: social media, paid search, digital advertising, print publications, direct mail, email, video and exhibiting. Departments served by Mizzou Online also benefit from ongoing general communications and advertising campaigns that promote all of MU's distance offerings through various media channels and outlets.

What ongoing support will my program receive from Mizzou Online?

Mizzou Online will provide all of its regular services to launched distance programs including program coordination and maintenance, marketing, fiscal/HR support and student services support.

What should be included in my market analysis?

Research on which colleges and universities offer this program and how this program would be different from competitor programs. Evidence of new and sustainable distance student market demand. Evidence of gainful employment related to program completion.

Once a proposal is submitted, how long will it take to know if it has been awarded funding?

The Review Committee tries to provide decisions within 30 days, but it can take longer depending on a number of factors. Clearly written proposals that provide all required information in adequate details typically move through the process quicker.

Who is on the Distance Education Review Committee?

Associate Vice Chancellor, Graduate School & Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs; Vice Provost, Undergraduate Studies & eLearning; Faculty Fellow, Provost’s Office; Director of Course Design & Technology; and Director of Mizzou Online.