When people talk about the glories of game changing behavior in education, this is probably not really what they have in mind.

Historically universities have attracted students though a combination of academic reputation and financial aid. Students have learned to navigate this landscape. But now one university is hoping to attract students with a Groupon.

According to an article by Lolly Bowean in the Chicago Tribune:

National Louis University on Tuesday will offer a Groupon for a graduate-level introduction to teaching course, officials said.

With the Groupon, prospective students can save nearly 60 percent on tuition for the single, three-credit course and earn credit toward a graduate degree, said Jocelyn Zivin, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Chicago-based, private university.

Regular tuition for the course is $2,232. Groupon will offer it for $950, officials said. The Groupon will go live Tuesday and will be available until Wednesday or until it sells out. Only 25 slots will be available, and the deal will tip at 15, Zivin said. The class will meet for three hours on Monday evenings, from late September to December.

Groupon (a portmanteau derived from “group coupon”) is a website that offers shopping deals for brief periods of time. Someone buys a Groupon and that enables him to save a certain amount of money at a specific establishment. The Groupon concept is becoming popular; customers see it as a way to save money and businesses use it as a direct form of advertising.

But the education Groupon is curious. National Louis University explains that the deal is intended to help draw people in who might not have ordinarily considered teaching. “Part of our mission at National Louis… is to identify people of talent who want to be teachers,” said Zivin. “This is an innovative way to deliver on that mission and reach those folks.”

Innovative perhaps, but it’s not really a very good deal. A graduate education course at the higher-regarded University of Illinois at Chicago would appear to cost only about $80 more (about $1038), that’s without any special discount.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer