The University of Florida is experimenting with a new program that admits freshman with a catch — they spend their first year taking classes online.

Valerie Strauss reports for the Washington Post:

University of Florida admits 3,000 students — then tells them it is only for online program

Some 3,100 students accepted as freshman by the University of Florida for the fall got a big surprise along with their congratulations notices: They were told that the acceptance was contingent on their agreement to spend their first year taking classes online as part of a new program designed to attract more freshmen to the flagship public university.

The 3,118 applicants accepted this way to the university — above and beyond the approximately 12,000 students offered traditional freshman slots — did not apply to the online program. Nor were they told that there was a chance that they would be accepted with the online caveat. They wound up as part of an admissions experiment.

The new program, begun in 2015, is called the Pathway to Campus Enrollment, or PaCE, and according to Steve Orlando, senior director of the university’s media relations, it “allows us to offer admission to additional qualified applicants with academic potential and demonstrated success.”

“The market for freshman is by no means clear anywhere in the country,” UF Provost Joe Glover said in an interview. “We are trying different things to identify that market. That is one of the motivations.”