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State university system offers online degree programs

The State University of New York (SUNY) launched Open SUNY, the online public higher education learning platform that initially offers eight online degree programs through six campuses, according to SUNY’s website on Tuesday. The goal of this initiative is to “vastly increase access, speed degree completion, and increase success among students and graduates,” the website describes SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s program introduction. Open SUNY “is poised to lead the nation in offering public higher education to students worldwide,” Newsday reported on Tuesday.

Educators Founder of the Khan Academy Sal Khan, Amherst College President Biddy Martin, the New York Times Washington bureau chief and moderater David Leonhardt, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, and edX President Anant Agarwal attend the Has the University
Photo by Neilson Barnard

Open SUNY degree programs

The eight Open SUNY degree programs were chosen because they are closely aligned with New York's workforce needs. They are:

• SUNY Broome Community College: AAS in Clinical Laboratory Technician
• SUNY Delhi: BS in Nursing
• Empire State College: BS in Business, Management, and Economics: Human Resources Management
• Empire State College: BS in Science, Mathematics, and Technology: Information Systems
• Finger Lakes Community College: AAS in Tourism Management
• SUNY Oswego: Masters of Business Administration
• SUNY Oswego: MBA in Health Services Administration
• Stony Brook University: BS in Electrical Engineering

The same rigorous standards apply for the online programs including lab work that may include a mailed laboratory kit to students. More online degree programs are expected in the 2014-15 school year.

About SUNY

There are 64 SUNY college and university campuses. As the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, SUNY educates about 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs. Another 1.8 million NYS citizens enroll in professional development and personal enrichment programs.

Open SUNY’s enrollment goal is 100,00 students over the next three years.

Online courses

Many public and private schools now offer online classes. SUNY alone offers more than 12,000 courses taught by 7,000 faculty members that will now be available to every SUNY student. Although New York residents pay lower tuition rates, students living elsewhere may be admitted at a higher tuition charge. The tuition for the online degrees equal that charged for traditional on-campus learning. Cost savings include those paid by traditional students for fees, room and board.

In addition, there are free private online courses called MOOCS (Massively Open Online Courses) taught by some renown university professors. However, students do not earn a degree through MOOCS. MOOC completion rates hover between between five and ten percent, according to Newsday.

To bolster online course completion rates, Open SUNY degree programs carry unique student and faculty supports including 24/7 student technical support, tutoring services and faculty training.

Online education future

The advantages of studying anytime and anywhere becomes a disadvantage for students who are not disciplined nor motivated beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom. Watch the video closely for tips on how to choose wisely. Cost savings become money wasted when courses are paid for but not completed.

Prospective students may expect more choices as an increasing number of private schools and public university systems add undergraduate and graduate online degrees. They may also anticipate a blend of online and traditional courses as higher education institutions explore options for better graduation rates and cost reductions.

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