Northeast Mississippi Community College wants everyone to get a high-quality education.
Whether that is through traditional day or evening classes, dual enrollment through the college’s area high schools or through an e-Learning experience (online) that allows students to work toward their degree at their own pace, Northeast is at the forefront of offering classes to everyone.
OnlineColleges.com, a subsidiary of QuinStreet, Inc., ranked the college as the second best college in the nation from which to earn an associate degree online.
During its study, the experts at OnlineColleges.com looked at such things as program availability, affordability and other factors that are important to students.
“We have always taken pride in our commitment to provide quality higher education to our district, our state and this tri-state area as cost effectively and conveniently as possible,” Northeast president Ricky G. Ford said.
“Receiving national recognition for this commitment is simply motivation for us to continue implementing creative strategies to keep moving forward.”
Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), OnlineColleges.com was able to generate a list of all colleges and universities that met the
following criteria: 1) have at least one percent of students attending school in some form of distance education; 2) have awarded at least one degree or certificate at the associate degree level in 2015-16; 3) be institutionally accredited; 4) have all of its school data reported in the IPEDS system including 11 major categories.
OnlineColleges.com looked at 872 colleges and universities based on the 11 following criteria using 2016-17 date from IPEDS — the latest data available and found that Northeast was second in the nation as the best college to earn an associate degree online from.
“The national recognition reflects our commitment to providing quality online courses to help students be successful,” Dr. Kim Harris, Northeast’s eLearning Coordinator explained.
“Our focus is providing diverse opportunities that allow the flexibility to balance students’ priorities and assist them in reaching their educational goals to improve their lives and the community around them”
In its study, OnlineColleges.com looked at the number of programs at an associate degree level that was offered online through distance education, degree prominence, ratio of undergraduate students participating in distance education as compared to the total enrollment of the school, average in-state tuition, graduation and retention rate, the ability of tuition plans, services such as academic and career and placement for completes, credit offerings — dual, life, advanced placement and military, the percentage of students awarded federal, state, local, institutions and other sources of financial aid and the average amount of federal, state, local, institutional and other financial aid awarded to a student.
“The criteria for this ranking is quite extensive,” said Dr. Michelle Baragona, Northeast’s Vice President of Instruction.
“It encompasses practically every aspect of the degree program from course offerings to retention to graduation. Our faculty does an outstanding job working with our students in the classroom and as advisors to put them in position to be successful at Northeast and hopefully, after they transition to a four-year school or to the workforce.”
OnlineColleges.com stated that earning an associate degree can bolster a person’s confidence along with multiple areas in a person’s life as compared to just a high school education. Some of the reasons given for getting an associate degree were 1) higher weekly pay; 2) better job security; 3) flexibility and affordability and 4) promotion and work advancement opportunities.
“In our state there are jobs out there that need to be filled, but most of them require a candidate who possesses education above the high school diploma level,” Ford said.
In its research and its mission to provide information about online colleges and degrees throughout the United States, OnlineColleges.com focused on the similarities between a tradition day/evening course and an online class such as quality of education, rigor of study, credibility of degree, range of programs, communication with instructors and the ability to connect with classmates.
However, the company did point out some of the advantages of taking an online course as compared to a traditional day/night class. Flexibility was one of the biggest factors with fewer time constraints in place, students learn when and wherever is convenient for them as it gives students with family commitments, returning students, working professionals and students with learning difficulties the ability to fulfill their educational desires.
With courses offered via the Internet, students do not have to move away from home to take classes or come to a campus to take part in discussion as it is housed in the online course. Those with accessibility issues are also prime candidates for online education. As health or mobility issues may hamper the traditional educational experience, online courses allow those confined to a room or bed the ability to be part of the educational experience through the interaction of an online course.
“I would encourage anyone that is considering getting or finishing a degree not to hesitate to contact the eLearning Office at Northeast,” Dr. Harris continued.
“One of my favorite parts of working here is connecting with students and seeing them reach their education goals. Our summer and fall courses are now released and we are here to help you get started with your online classes.”
OnlineColleges.com commended Northeast on its ability to make sure that a student does not have to worry paying for their education stating, that 98 percent of the college’s student body receives one form of financial aid or another in 2018.
In addition to its ability to help students find ways to pay for colleges, Northeast is a member of the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), which offers an array of individual online courses and as many as 20 fully online associate degree programs.