When you think of the online education space, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford come to mind. With systems like Coursera, edX, and OpenCourseWare, these schools, along with a number of other big name ones have made a name for themselves as innovators and industry leaders. But the Ivy Leagues aren’t the only ones bringing something to the table in this burgeoning new frontier–other, lesser well-known schools have been working just as hard investing their resources in creating quality online education programs and have found success in doing so. Below are three of these schools.
Southern New Hampshire University
If there is one school that has benefited the most from investing in online education, it’s Southern New Hampshire University. Nestled up in Manchester, NH, SNHU’s Center for Online and Continuing Education has helped it become the largest online degree provider in New England. Paul LeBlanc, the university president, helped transform the school’s once tiny online program since coming on board in 2003. The school now has 10,600 students enrolled across 120 undergraduate and graduate programs, ranging from a social media MBA to a creative writing BA.
Originally founded in 1932, the school was, and still is based on a brick-and-mortar campus. After launching the online program, enrollment has soared and the percentage of first year undergraduates returning for a second year has nearly doubled since 2008 from 35% to 69%. Revenue is up to $74 million from $10 million in 2007. Here’s the kicker–the school has built one of the most successful online degree programs as a non profit institution.
Earlier this year, Fast Company ranked SNHU among the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. So what’s next for the school? They aim to be the nation’s largest online degree provider by 2014. They’re continually looking for new opportunities to expand their programs and have found two potential partners to team up with, setting the path for a bright future.
Westfield State University
Located in the densely packed higher education capital that is Massachusetts, Westfield is part of the state’s public university system. Among the state’s public schools, none have invested as much into the online space and have gained as much recognition as Westfield. The school recently earned a spot on the US News Honor Roll for online university programs and for good reason. They boast the number one ranking for faculty credentials and training and earn top marks in student services and technology and in student engagement and assessment.
Washington State University
Located on the West Coast in Pullman, Washington, WSU is also a public state university. It made last year’s list of the top 10 best online BSBA programs on TheBestColleges.org, a ranking based on reputation, accreditation, student satisfaction, and cost. It holds many accolades, including accreditation by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – International (AACSB), the world’s most respected business program accrediting entity and has been repeatedly noted among the top 60 as a Tier 1 school on the U.S. News and World Report. WSU has one of the nation’s most robust online business administration programs, despite only launching in 2010, with majors in Accounting, Management and Operations, and Management Information Systems.
These schools have set the bar for online education by creating quality programs and finding success. With an ever growing amount of students deciding to take classes on the web instead of spending more time and money on a campus-based education, other schools must follow their example and invest in online programs like these or become obsolete.