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UTPB earns national recognition for various online programs

Online student acknowledges recruitment team

UTPB+online+programs+top-notch+nationally.+
UTPB online programs top-notch nationally.

UTPB online programs top-notch nationally.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

UTPB online programs top-notch nationally.

Kelsie Clifton, Features Writer and Columnist

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As I sit here and finish up my online test and think about the fact that I only have one semester left of school, I am thankful for the opportunity to attend The University of Texas of The Permian Basin (UTPB) online. As an online student, I could not think of a better online school to attend, I have looked, and this University by far has exceeded my expectations which is why I am not surprised by the recent articles I have been reading about our online program.

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin was named one of the nation’s best colleges for online learning by AffordableCollegesOnline.org (ACO) for 2016-17. ACO is a leader in higher education information who works with students, parents, researchers and subject matter experts from across the globe to provide resources, rankings, make college more affordable, and spread the importance of accreditation.

“This recognition provides powerful evidence that it pays to be a Falcon,” said David Watts, president of UTPB, in a recent interview. “Our students receive an exceptional education at an exceptional value.”

Academic Online Undergraduate Advisor, Amanda Perez, believes that (like Dr. Watts) exceptional education and exceptional value are indeed what separates UTPB from other online programs.

“Nowadays, people are looking for education that has more bang for your buck, if you will. With our faculty and staff working with students towards their academic goals as dedicated (as everyone is), it’s easy to see that this is the atmosphere we’ve all helped create,” Perez stated.

UTPB was recognized a total of seven times by ACO, which generated their rankings by analyzing cost and quality metrics of thousands of U.S. colleges with online degree programs, per a release that was published on the school website.

UTPB’s notable rankings include the following state and national lists:

Regional accreditation, in-state tuition and fees, school-based financial aid, student-teacher ratio and number of online programs were all primary data points that were used to identify the Best Online Colleges of 2016. Only public institutions were eligible for a spot in the ranking.

“We wanted to honor the colleges and universities setting the bar for online learning,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org “These schools are going above and beyond the industry standard to help make online education programs higher quality and more affordable.”

Perez agrees with ACO on their statement regarding UTPB being providing an affordable online program.

“Of course, it’s very true that UTPB is among the top online colleges that offer high quality at an affordable price. I see this every day when advising students via email. It’s completely normal to want the best at an affordable price and I believe that’s our biggest advantage as a University as well as huge plus for the Online Programs,” she stated.

As an online advisor, Perez is essentially the student’s first stop. Once the student is accepted into the online program, she and the online advising staff take the student in and guide him or her through the advising process. She goes over everything from the degree plan, a transfer evaluation and a summary of courses remaining for the student to complete if the major requires it. She is also there to answer any questions a student may have after registering to help get them started.

“We also try to prepare the student to take on the responsibility of planning out their own schedule by looking over their degree plan and learning how to use that for their own benefit. It doesn’t take long for a student to become familiar with everything but in that meantime, we’re here and happy to help,” Perez explained.

As an online student, I appreciate that there is someone who contacts me a week after my new courses have started to see if I am having any issues with the program. Perez clarified that the person who calls me is connected to the recruitment team.

“Academic Partnerships (AP), is apart of our third-party recruitment team. They are our recruitment specialists for our University, specifically for the online programs. They’ll call students to make sure they enroll in time and register or to help with any information regarding applying to our University,” she informed.

Perez says that they do understand that the online programs are a bit different from on-campus programs as far as communication, advising, courses, etc. However, that doesn’t mean an online student shouldn’t have the best when navigating forward. They try to bridge that gap to help each student feel like they are being listened to and heard while receiving the guidance they need to complete their degrees and the positive feedback from students shows that.

“I usually receive a lot of thank you [responses] for helping out a student if they have any questions or if they need to get ahold of a professor. Most of the time it’s a thank you for the prompt response time which is something we’d like to pride ourselves on, especially with emailing. We don’t want any student to feel like they’re waiting too long without a reply or action being done on their behalf. They’re all wonderfully appreciated though and we’re always happy to hear that from them.”

 

The academic online advising does have an active twitter (@UTPBAdvising) and Facebook (UTPB Advising) account that both online and on campus students can follow them at to stay up to date on things around campus and in their office.

Kelsie Clifton writes for the Mesa Journal. She is an online student who lives in Odessa.

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UTPB earns national recognition for various online programs