Slippery Rock University was named one of the cheapest online colleges by Affordable Colleges Online in their 2014 ranking.
At $388 per credit, Slippery Rock was ranked 39 of 46, just behind fellow PASSHE member Clarion University, which was 33.
Other universities included in this list were the University of Florida, Florida State University, West Virginia University and James Madison University.
Along with its low cost per credit, SRU was included due to the number of degree and non-degree programs it offers online, the ACO ranking read.
The largest selection of online degrees is offered through the Department of Elementary Education, which offers master’s of education tracks in K-8 math and science and a K-12 reading specialization with a literacy coaching endorsement. Non-degree endorsements offered include elementary education literacy coaching and K-12 reading.
Other programs offered online include a master’s of education in environmental education and a master’s of science in parks and resource management through the Department of Parks and Recreation.
A 39-credit nursing degree for current licensed nurses is also offered online, as well as a 21-credit graduate program for nurses with bachelor degrees seeking a Pennsylvania school nursing endorsement.
Only the doctorate of education, which requires a summer residency, has students spend any time on Slippery Rock’s campus.
Felishia Houck, a junior psychology major, said taking an online class saved her money because the book was provided online without her having to buy it, which is common of SRU’s online classes.
However, she didn’t like the class because of the few reminders that were given for assignments.
“All the quizzes had due dates and you had to finish a quiz before you could start the next one,” she said. “So, if you got behind you were pretty much screwed.”
Jessica Tomichek, a senior public relations major, said registering an online class got her added printer money through the school.
She also enjoyed the convenience of SRU’s online classes.
“If I have something else going on, I can do my online assignment another time,” Tomichek said. “There were several other public speaking classes that I couldn’t take due to my schedule, so it’s nice that I can the online one at any time.”
Michelle Jackson, the Director of Financial Aid at the university, said paying attention to the amount of loan money students receive and deciding whether or not they actually “need” it is another smart way to make college more affordable.
“Although federal financial aid options have not seen significant increases over the years, SRU’s low cost, expansion of scholarship opportunities provided to students and opportunity for on-campus employment through work study allows students the ability to examine other avenues for funding their education before they look into additional loan options,” she said.
The Affordable Colleges Online ranking is intended to lower cost of tuition and increase knowledge of student educational options in a world of growing college expenses, the site states.