OCU Earns Honor for Affordable Online Education
Ohio Christian University has been deemed one of the most affordable online educations in the country by a national agency.
SR Education Group, an organization that advocates accessible higher education, conducted a study of 535 colleges and universities that offer online degrees. The group surveyed 12 categories ranging from accounting to social work and ranked schools based on affordability.
OCU topped the Counseling category, charging $5,075 for their Masters of Arts in Ministry — Pastoral Care and Counseling degree.
Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., and University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc., ranked second and third, charging $5,555 and $5,712, respectively.
“A lot of schools like OCU are making it affordable to go to online school,” Wetter said.
“We are delighted to be eligible for this distinction,” said Dr. Hank Kelly, OCU provost, “We strive for affordable education that meets the needs of the workforce.”
OCU offers 20 degrees online: five associates, 11 bachelors and four masters. Currently 2,313 students are enrolled in OCU’s online programs.
Wetter said SR Education Group started the study in May 2013. The group had been involved with the higher education community and seen the tolls student loans are taking on students. The study’s web site, www.onlineu.org, launched in November.
Wetter said online college is more convenient and cost effective than traditional college.
“They can get it so much cheaper,” she said, “A lot of people are stay at home moms with kids in preschool. Also there’s people who currently have a job and want to better their careers. Quitting a job to go back to school isn’t feasible for everyone.”
Kelly agrees, noting the average age of the Adult Studies program is 37. He said that demographic is not looking for extras and that helps keep costs down.
“We try to run a lean and mean organization here,” Kelly said. “There are not a lot of frills.”
Many college ranking systems focus on prestige and selectivity, Wetter said. She said she believes more studies should focus on affordability.
Kelly hopes being included in SR Education Group’s study will add to OCU’s reputation.
“I hope it advances us regionally with prospective students,” he said, “We are trying to offer what the community wants.”
SR Education Group is based in Kirkland, Wash., and was founded in 2004.