New York is home to more than just the Big Apple ó many of the country’s finest colleges and universities are housed within the state. Many of these have added full-featured online bachelor’s degree programs to their repertoires, allowing students a flexible and low-cost option for higher education. The following schools represent a few of the online education systems in the state of New York:

Excelsior College

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 27
  • Fields Offered: Business, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, Nursing, Technology
  • Accreditor: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)

The University of the State of New York (USNY) has long been dedicated to providing adult learners with high-quality distance learning options. In an initiative that sprang from the World War II era, in which veterans could receive college credit for military education and experience, the USNY created Regents College as an external degree program. In 2001, after the institution gained its own charter, Regents College adopted the name Excelsior College. True to the Latin roots of the word “excelsior” and its home state motto, Excelsior College helps learners reach “ever upward” through distance learning. Today, more than 30,000 students are enrolled in Excelsior College’s various undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Excelsior College offers one of the largest selections of online bachelor’s degree programs in New York, many of which offer specializations and areas of concentration. Many different professional certifications are also offered by the institution to further aid students in obtaining jobs after graduation. Even though most of the coursework can be done independently, students generally must be able to access the Internet to submit assignments and progress reports to course professors. Assignments may be submitted through mail or fax as long as the work arrives within the module’s deadline. Online courses are more widely available, granting students 24/7 access to material and instructors.

Pace University

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 4
  • Fields Offered: Business, Communications, Technology, Nursing
  • Accreditor: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)

Pace University is a 100-year-old institution that has three brick and mortar campuses in New York, located in New York City, Westchester, and White Plains, as well as an online division. Its iPace degree path was recently named the best online bachelor’s degree programs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. To make that publication’s Honor Roll list, Pace’s online programs were ranked in the top one-third in the following categories: faculty credentials and training; student engagement and assessment; and student services and technology.

In addition to its entirely online degree programs, Pace offers additional blended learning programs designed specifically for adults. Many of the courses in these programs are offered both online and at one of Pace’s three campuses. Students also have the possibility to gain credits through an experiential learning assessment. Online courses are managed through Blackboard software. Students who are unfamiliar with such software are invited to take the Online Learning Community and Orientation offered by Pace University.

The State University of New York

  • Number of Online Bachelor’s Degrees: 22
  • Fields Offered: Liberal Arts, Business, Healthcare, Social Sciences, Communications, Law, Education, Technology
  • Accreditor: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)

The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest comprehensive system of public institutions of higher education in the United States. It consists of more than 64 campuses across the state and 7,660 degree and certificate programs. Additionally, the SUNY network offers dozens of online bachelor’s degree programs.

Students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree online can visit the SUNY Learning Network (SLN) to browse degree programs that are offered through SUNY’s different campuses throughout the state. Students can use the SLN to find degree programs and seek technical support, but registration and actual instruction will come directly from the institution offering the course and degree program. The SLN uses ANGEL Learning Management Software to support students and professors. These virtual classrooms foster intensive interaction, individual attention, high standards, and enhanced learning outcomes.

Higher Education in New York

New York is home to some of the most important libraries, universities, and research centers in the world, making it an ideal location for students of all subjects. Unsurprisingly, the state is one of the most popular for college students in the country. In fact, according to the state Education Department, 874,617 students were enrolled in four-year degree programs in the state’s postsecondary institutions in 2009. New York also has the most universities and colleges of any other state. Among these institutions, 96 universities and colleges offer online undergraduate courses.

New York’s higher education system is managed by the State Education Department. The University of the State of New York is the organizational branch that governs public and private institutions of higher education in the state. Though dubbed a “university”, the USNY is not an institution itself but a licensing and accreditation body that regulates standards for all levels of education. The USNY has recently introduced the Virtual Learning Initiative in a number of school districts in order to offer low-income students the opportunity to take advanced placement and college-level courses.


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