Jones International University to Shut Down

Jones International University, the Colorado-based distance education school founded by cable pioneer Glenn R. Jones in 1993, will be shutting down due to a sharp decline in enrollments, according to theDenver Business Journal.

The publication said JIU’s decision follows a 55% drop in enrollments between 2011 and 2014, leaving it with about 2,000 students.

The decision will not impact the operations of Jones/NCTI, a provider of workforce education, career planning and performance products for the cable/broadband industry that is headquartered at the Jones building in Centennial, Colo. (pictured). “Jones/NCTI will continue to provide employee training, consulting services, and online educational services for the cable/telecommunications industry,” a spokeswoman said via email.

In a message on its Web site, JIU said currently enrolled students have been alerted to the impending closure and its timeline, along with details about how they can transfer their studies to Trident University International as part of a formal agreement. Trident, founded in 1998, is an online university based in Cypress, Calif.

“Jones International University is committed to a smooth and orderly transition and providing you clear direction and information during this time,” JIU added.

TheDenver Business Journalsaid JIU expects to complete its wind-down over the next 12 to 15 months, noting that students with less than a year left in their studies will be able to complete their courses and graduate from JIU.

JIU, once billed as “The University of the Web,” began to offer classes in the spring of 1995. JIU was the first online university to receive accreditation, obtaining that distinction in 1999 from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of  Colleges and Schools. JIU awarded its first graduate degree in 1997.  

Glenn Jones, who sold Jones Intercable, once a top-10 cable operator, to Comcast in April 1999, has been a leading proponent of distance learning, going back to Mind Extension University (ME/U)*, an education-focused cable channel that launched in 1987 and was sold to Discovery in 1999, when the Jones-run programmer was known as Knowledge TV. Jones has also authored books about his vision for distance learning and online education, including Make All America A School and Cyberschools: An Education Renaissance.

Jones’s legacy and passion for distance learning will live on at Trident.

"The decision to close JIU was particularly difficult for our founder, Glenn R. Jones, who poured his energy and personal financial resources into making JIU the first regionally accredited fully online university,” Bryan Wallace, JIU’s COO, said in a statement to the DBJ.  “In recognition of Mr. Jones’s military service, entrepreneurial spirit and extensive contributions to the fields of business and education, TUI is renaming its College of Business Administration The Glenn R. Jones College of Business Administration."

*The author of this article, Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner, was an employee of Jones Education Networks and ME/U from 1994 to 1998, and took several courses from JIU.