It wasn’t exactly how Richard Homburg had planned it, but the real estate school bearing his name is getting set to offer its first two bachelor’s degrees.
Jarrod Wiener, Homburg Academy’s president, said establishing an international educational institution presented challenges because not everyone involved is in the same place.
“We’re international by design and we’re making the most of it,” he said.
Students who enroll in either of the school’s bachelor of science programs will get their university level degrees through the Zurich, Switzerland-based Homburg Academy instead of the Charlottetown-based Homburg Institute.
That’s because changes to the provincial degree-granting legislation were put on hold after opposition to the plan, including from former UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan. The change would have been necessary for any school other than UPEI and Maritime Christian College to grant degrees in the province.
Despite some of the difficulties faced in P.E.I., Homburg Academy plans to start offering its real estate development, and real estate finance and investment programs in September.
Wiener said there are 70 courses on offer, some of which are mandatory and some of which are electives in order to give students choices. Those include courses in business management, design, architecture and planning, real estate finance, real estate development, project management, construction management, law, and marketing.
“We’re not constrained by faculties, which is one of the great things,” Wiener said.
Each program will cost $24,000 over four years with no additional fees, putting it in the same range as UPEI where undergraduate students pay $6,096 a year in tuition.
Students in the Homburg Academy programs will take 10 courses a year over four years.
Wiener said the school wanted to make the program fees manageable and expects to offer about $80,000 in scholarships for the programs.
“It’s affordable,” he said.
But while much of the work setting up the courses, including the technical aspects of establishing an online course load will be done in Charlottetown, all of the courses will be offered online without any classrooms.
The Homburg Institute’s staff work in a corner of an almost empty office space in Charlottetown for such things as piecing together video lectures, shooting video in front of a blue screen and building the school’s website.
Wiener said the online courses are a combination of work done in real time and on the students’ own schedule through lectures and interactive tutorials.
“It’s a multimedia experience,” he said.
Homburg Academy hopes to have about 25 students in each program and wants to get people from Atlantic Canada to enroll.
As part of that goal, Wiener said some of the money the school is setting aside for scholarships will go to Island students.
“How much of that we allocate specifically we’re still working on,” he said.
More information about the new programs is available at www.homburgacademy.org.