|Photo: David Tisdale|
|The University of Southern Mississippi|
Southern Miss is ranked 18th on the list, which cited schools that offer students affordable, high-quality programs combined with the flexibility of distance learning.
"When it comes to online learning, these schools are the best of the best," said Dan Schuessler, founder and CEO of ACF. "They appeal to prospective students and working professionals because they provide the same academic excellence in their online programs as their campus courses.”
According to ACF, the number of schools offering fully online degree programs has nearly doubled over the last decade, and online enrollments continue to make up an increasing proportion—nearly 50 percent—of all enrollments in higher education.
"As the demand for distance learning continues to rise, we're seeing more and more institutions incorporate online learning into their curricula,” said Schuessler. "We want to recognize these schools for their drive for innovation in higher education and their success in expanding their high-quality programs to the online learning environment."
Southern Miss currently leads the state as the top online learning provider based on the number of students enrolled in its online classes and degree programs, which is expected to increase with the launch of Mississippi's first fully online Undergraduate General Business degree. Students from more than 40 states and countries around the globe are enrolled online at the University, which is rated among Best Value Schools' Top 30 Best Online Colleges for 2014 (http://www.bestvalueschools.com/best-online-colleges-2014/).
“We're honored to be recognized by ACS in this ranking as we enjoy steady growth in the number of students choosing our online programs,” said Sheri Rawls, director of the Southern Miss Learning Enhancement Center. “Online learning is ideal for those with busy work schedules, family obligations, the place-bound or those who live far from our campuses. It's another way to get a quality degree from an accredited institution and improve their career prospects.”
Highlights of the university's online enrollment growth include:
- Approximately 17 percent growth from fall 2013 to fall 2014 in student credit hours generated from online enrollment
- The summer 2014 semester consisted of 32 percent of total student credit hours generated from online enrollment.
- The University's e-learning initiative began in spring 2009. Since then the growth of online learning has increased by 120 percent in student credit hours. The initiative was focused on developing additional fully online degree programs and courses to improve student satisfaction, raise retention and graduation rates, and increase enrollment at Southern Miss.
Source: The University of Southern Mississippi - News