Affordable Colleges Online recently named Slippery Rock University one of the nation’s “46 cheapest online colleges,” but we aren’t jumping for joy at the recognition.
While nontraditional classroom spaces have some benefits and there is a low cost often associated with them, there is a very negative connotation associated with both “online” and “cheap.”
There is an idea that online programs are “not as good programs” and cheap schools are “poor quality schools.”
The listing did take into account educational quality, but that was just a supplemental factor to the category. It proclaims that SRU is a cheap, online school that also has some decent educational qualities.
We think that this actually hurts the students attending the university in a traditional manner as it gives the illusion that SRU is some cheap online school. If this reputation grows it could result in misunderstanding from potential employers.
The recognition presents the university as an exclusively online institution instead of one where the majority of programming is tailored to the undergraduate student life on-campus.
Carrying with us a “Rock Solid” education shouldn’t depend on the method through which a degree is obtained. We truly believe that it is possible to learn a great deal while earning a degree; however this is not the reputation carried by such programs that do offer online degrees.
While the quality of the education is questionable in an online program, it cannot be denied that a person is missing out on some great things offered at a traditional school.
Slippery Rock University is so much more than an online school. It offers a scenic campus, the opportunity to experience hands on learning, and unparalleled involvement.
With over 200 clubs and organizations, there are so many great opportunities at Slippery Rock University. Whether it’s bringing fantastic speakers to campus like Marcus Latrell with the University Program Board and Student Veterans Association, performing in cabarets with the Musical Theatre Society, playing on one of the university’s sports teams, gaming with the Urban Gaming Club, or fighting cancer with Relay For Life, as a student you have so many chances to meet new people, have fun and develop yourself socially and professionally.
Academically, being on campus offers students direct engagement with professors, the chance to complete group projects, perform with the SRU Orchestra or Marching Pride and do independent research with professors.
The school is also within driving distance from Grove City and Pittsburgh, giving students the opportunity to experience many different cultural events and nearby internship locations.
There is no way to get these great experiences from a cheap online school and portraying it as an online university is diminishing the value that all of these experiences have.
We are proud of Slippery Rock University for striving to do online education right. The university offers online degree programs include 14 master’s degrees, one educational doctorate degree, three graduate endorsements and certifications for educators, according to a press release from the university.
We aren’t saying there’s anything wrong with choosing an online education, but we also aren’t particularly excited about recognition as a “cheap online school” when there is so much more to the school than that.
“These online colleges put quality education and student success first,” the ranking said.
That being said, we would much rather SRU be recognized as a university offering a quality education than as cheap and online.