CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 18, 2013 — Southeast Missouri State University’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been ranked among the nation’s best this week, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Southeast’s online bachelor’s degree programs are ranked 42 on the U.S. News list, ahead of all public colleges and universities in Missouri. The only Missouri institution ranked higher than Southeast is Columbia College at number 36. Columbia College is a private institution in Columbia, Mo.
Southeast currently has more than 700 students who are pursuing degrees completely online, with more than 500 of them enrolled in its five complete online undergraduate degree programs:
• Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Technology Management • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) • Bachelor of General Studies • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Interdisciplinary Studies
Southeast officials say the Southeast in the Year 2020 Steering Committee targeted the University’s online degree programs several years ago as a means to provide education to more place-bound students. Dr. Allen Gathman was named associate dean for Online Learning. In addition, the University’s Budget Review Committee authorized funding for increased marketing of Southeast’s online degree programs.
“We are pleased our online programs have again been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report. This affirms the very positive feedback we get from our online students and alumni,” Gathman said. “Our online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach our face-to-face classes, so we know they meet the same high quality standards that characterize all programs at Southeast. The ranking also reflects the quality of technical support we provide to give students and faculty the tools they need to succeed.
“Enrollment in our online courses has nearly doubled over the past two years, and at least two departments plan to offer new online bachelors’ programs this coming fall,” Gathman added. “It is our commitment to continue to maintain high standards of quality and service to students as our online program offerings expand.
This is the first time U.S. News numerically ranked programs administered for distance learners that are 100 percent online, just as it ranks traditional colleges and graduate schools. In selecting the nation’s best online bachelor’s degree programs, U.S. News surveyed 860 degree-granting programs offering classes that are 100 percent onlineᾰthe federal government standard for qualifying as distance learning programs. These are not blended learning programs that combine classroom and online education, but totally online programs. The number of schools offering fully online degree programs has nearly doubled in the past 10 years with 62.4 percent of colleges and universities offering fully online programs in 2012, compared with 34.5 percent in 2002, according to a January 2013 online education report by the Babson Survey Research Group.
These programs were assigned an overall numerical rank based in three different categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology. Factors used to compute the rankings this year include retention rates, graduation rates, and the indebtedness of students upon graduation.
Online education, with its flexibility, is becoming an increasingly popular option, according to U.S. News, which is why they say these ranking should help people sort out the best options for them.
“Online education is becoming an essential part of higher education,” said U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly. “Our goal has always been to provide our consumers with the most accurate information so that they may make their best decision. Incorporating online education rankings and data is the next step in providing our consumers with the information they need.”
In its “2013 Best Online Education Programs rankings,” U.S. News evaluated 237 online bachelor’s degree programs, as well as online master’s degree programs in business (213), education (208), nursing (101), engineering (70), and computer information technology, or CIT (30). To review the complete list (860 programs), including the top 160 ranked online programs, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings.