Increase in online graduates illustrates CSU’s mission of access

CSU’s online programs are increasingly providing access to education that many students wouldn’t otherwise have. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 200 of Colorado State University’s students graduating this fall earned a degree in an online or distance program. That’s 11 percent of CSU’s total graduates this semester, and the largest group CSU Online has seen graduate in a fall term.

This growth in graduates comes along with an increase in the number of online and distance degree programs offered by the University. More than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs are currently offered, with more on the docket to come in 2018.

“Online education is a way to open the doors wider for access to education,” said Ashley Stokes, Interim Senior Director of CSU Online. “We’re reaching a lot of students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take advantage of the excellent education that CSU provides. It’s exciting to see that online education can serve the needs of so many people —whether they live in Colorado, or far away.”

In total, 38 different types of degrees will be conferred to online and distance students this term. Undergraduates will receive degrees from such programs as anthropology, economics, agricultural business, psychology, fire and emergency services administration, interdisciplinary liberal arts, and human development and family studies. Graduate students will receive degrees ranging from master’s in social work, student affairs, and engineering, to Ph.D.s in higher education leadership, systems engineering, and organizational learning, performance, and change.

Students from around the nation and globe

Graduates this semester hail from locations all around Colorado, 34 other states, and three other countries. Within the U.S., students spanned the country from Washington to Connecticut, and even Hawaii. Internationally, students studied from Canada, The Philippines, and China.

“CSU has a number of collaborations that benefit both students and our faculty,” Stokes said. As an example, the University has seen a significant boost in the number of students studying from China, thanks to the Master of Tourism Management program offered as a partnership between CSU’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and Central China Normal University.

“We hope to see many more students studying from around the world, as a result of many efforts to collaborate with international universities,” Stokes said. “There’s so much possibility to extend CSU’s reach with online programs and collaborations. This is only the beginning.”

Traveling thousands of miles

A number of this semester’s graduates will walk in commencement ceremonies this weekend, and for some it will be the first time they set foot on campus. Graduates from as far away as Ontario, Canada, Virginia, Tennessee, and Connecticut are traveling thousands of miles to attend.

In addition to commencement ceremonies, online and distance students are invited to attend a graduation brunch sponsored by CSU Online at the new Colorado State Stadium. “This is a chance for our students to not only celebrate their accomplishments, but to see our beautiful campus, and connect with faculty, staff, and peers they may have only previously interacted with online,” Stokes said.