Among "best" and "most affordable" online

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Rowan University has been named one of “the best online colleges in America” and among the “most affordable” online institutions by two independent rankings sites for the 2014-15 academic year.

The sites, bestcolleges.com and OnlineU.org, respectively, compared only accredited colleges and universities that offer full academic programs online.

Bestcolleges.com ranked Rowan 17th out of 50 colleges and universities on the basis of acceptance, retention, graduation and enrollment rates.

The site noted Rowan’s wide range of online offerings from across seven academic disciplines and programs including a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities/Social Science, an RN to BSN hybrid degree, 11 Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees, two education-oriented doctorates, and more than a dozen certifications and endorsements.

Four-year schools included in the survey had to offer at least one fully online bachelor’s degree.

Including Rowan on its list of the most affordable online schools, OnlineU.org cited a wide and varied list of web-based programs. Rowan, through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE), offers 29 online and hybrid program options, from certificates to bachelor’s degrees to doctorates.

The site noted a “low net price” overall, regional accreditation, and such valuable programs as a Master’s degree in Engineering Management (the site’s #2 ranked engineering degree), a Master of Business Administration (the site’s 20th ranked MBA program) and the site’s 28th most affordable teaching degree.

CGCE Founding Dean Dr. Horacio Sosa said offering online education can be a challenge for both students and educators, but many students, especially adults and non-traditional learners, prefer it because of the convenience and flexibility.

“For many students, the option to study online and off-campus is a great one because it enables them to pursue or complete a degree program while meeting the demands of a job and/or raising a family,” Dr. Sosa said.

He said the most recent rankings are gratifying because Rowan is relatively new in online education, and because they reflect Rowan’s commitment and investment of resources to maintain high quality curricular standards  and support.

“Converting course content from in-class to online poses technological as well as pedagogical challenges. We are grateful for the work of our faculty and staff for producing courses and programs that are being recognized well beyond our state,” Dr. Sosa said. “Our goal is to deliver the highest quality education both online and in the classroom and to do it affordably.”

Kim Wetter of SR Education Group, the Kirkland, Wash. company that produces OnlineU.Com, said 532 public and private colleges and universities were reviewed for the first annual “most affordable” survey.

She said OnlineU.com is a non-profit web site for which no advertising is accepted.

“We wanted to provide clear, unbiased information and help shift the conversation from the high cost of higher education to which colleges are offering an affordable online degree,” Wetter said.

The latest rankings add to the growing body of recognition Rowan has received. In the last five years, Rowan has jumped 10 places in U.S. News & World Report rankings for Regional Universities (North) category, which includes universities that primarily offer undergraduate and master’s level programs. For 2014 Rowan ranked third among public universities in its category and tied for 18th in its category overall.

U.S. News ranked Rowan’s College of Engineering 33rd nationally and 12th in its category among public universities.

The University for 2014 also ranked #2 for veterans in its category in the first such survey by U.S. News.

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