NIU’s online master’s program in education ranked third in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Online Programs Rankings, released Jan. 7, 2015.
The magazine noted that most of the program’s online classes are recorded and archived so students can access them on their own time – an important factor in student retention, as 98 percent of the students in the program are employed when they first enroll. The program’s new student retention rate was 100 percent in two of the last four years, and the three-year graduation rate is 81 percent.
U.S. News also noted the program’s 24-7 live tech support and instructor responsiveness, with instructors expected to respond to student needs within 24 hours.
About one in four college students took at least one distance education course during the fall of 2012, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. That’s a total of about 5.4 million students nationwide turning to online programs to further their education.
U.S. News & World Report ranks online bachelor’s degree programs and online master’s degree programs in business, engineering, computer information technology, education, nursing and criminal justice, as well as MBA programs. Only degree-granting programs offered mostly or entirely online were considered for the 2015 list.
More than 1,200 programs were considered, an increase of more than 20 percent since last year. U.S. News also revised its methodology in making this year’s rankings.
NIU’s online master’s in education program was outranked by University of Houston, which moved up to the top spot after being tied for No. 3 last year, and Florida State University, which jumped to No. 2 from being tied at No. 61 in 2014.
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