Report ranks local universities among best online programs in country

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 8, 2014

S.C. universities were listed among the best online programs ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

The publication said it assessed nearly a thousand online degree programs, up more than 16% from the 2013 list, and divided online programs into six categories.

Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

University of South Carolina Aiken ranked No. 41 on the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs list. Charleston Southern University ranked No. 56, and Limestone College took the 93rd spot.

The bachelor’s degree programs list was based on graduation rates, indebtedness of new graduates, and academic and career support services offers to students, U.S. News said.

Central Michigan University took the list’s top spot. It received a perfect 100 in the student engagement category, which measures student satisfaction and instructor responsiveness.

Best Online Graduate Business Programs

The only S.C. university to make the U.S News Best Online Graduate Business Programs list was North Greenville University in Tigerville.

It took the 143rd spot on the list that focuses on a program’s level of accreditation, reputation for excellence among peer institutions, and academic and career support services offered to students.

The highest ranking program was offered at Indiana University in Bloomington, followed by Arizona State University and the University of Florida.

Best Online Graduate Education Programs

University of South Carolina snagged the No. 15 spot, and USC Aiken was ranked 84th on the U.S. News’ Best Online Graduate Education Programs list.

Francis Marion University in Florence was ranked No. 152 on the list, which is compiled by ranking each program’s level of accreditation, admissions selectivity, and academic and career support services offered to students.

U.S. News named Northern Illinois University as offering the best online graduate education program in the country.

Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs

The University of South Carolina was the only university in the state to be included in the U.S. News Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs list.

USC was ranked 36th on the list, which is based on academic reputation among peer institutions, faculty credentials and admissions selectivity. Its student engagement score, which measures student satisfaction and instructor responsiveness, was 75 out of 100.

Columbia University in New York grabbed the top spot on the list with perfect scores in the student engagement and admissions selectivity categories.

Best Graduate Computer and Information Technology Programs

There were no S.C. universities on the U.S. News Best Online Graduate Computer and Information Technology Programs list.

The No. 1 ranked program was the University of Southern California, followed by Boston University and Virginia Tech.

Best Graduate Nursing Programs

Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston was the only university in the state to break the top 10 on the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs list. MUSC grabbed the No. 2 spot, and University of South Carolina ranked No. 16.

The list was created based on graduation rates, academic and career support services offered to students, and admissions selectivity, U.S News said.

MUSC was second only to St. Xavier University in Chicago, which received a perfect score in the student engagement category and a 95 in the faculty credentials and training category. MUSC scored an 86 in student engagement and a 97 in faculty credentials and training.

The local university beat St. Xavier in the student services and technology category, 57-52, and admissions selectivity category, 95-89.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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