With Open SUNY+, New York Expands Online Education

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The State University of New York has announced the expansion of their learning center Open SUNY+ Program with 56 new degree programs.

SUNY+ is expected to increase student enrollment by approximately 100,000 students and the program has reached 6,000 students already for next semester, according to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. The new degree programs means Open SUNY+ now offers a total of 64 degree options, writes Brittany Horn for Times Union.

“The growth of Open SUNY in its inaugural year is remarkable,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said. “We are more confident than ever that, at full scale, Open SUNY will emerge as the world’s largest online learning environment.”

New additions also include the option of completing a certificate program for the first time, as well as a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

SUNY offers 12,000 courses under the Open SUNY system. One third of the programs are in information technology, the rest of the other are mainly comprised of education, health care, criminal justice, and business, writes the Associated Press.

The 64-campus university hopes to increase enrollment by 20 percent over the next five years and Open SUNY+ is their main channel for reaching those numbers. The system currently enrolls a total of roughly 460,000 students.

Beyond the actual course material, Open SUNY+ offers several levels of support for students and teachers, making it a unique experience in online education.

Benefits include a personal concierge to serve as a point of contact for any questions students have about their program, a 24/7 help desk and tutoring, access to experiential learning to give a hands on experience to better prepare students for employment, and degrees that are recognized as high need to help facilitate success after graduation, according the Open SUNY+ website.

SUNY has received a positive outlook from Moody’s Investor Services. SUNY was rated as Aa2/stable with a positive outlook, citing expansion of their online learning platform from Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance report, writes Rick Karlin for Capitol Confidential.

“The new program, called SUNY +, is an effort to grow total system enrollment by 20% over the next five years. If successful, SUNY’s net tuition revenue would increase by $140 million annually (accounting for 50% growth over current net tuition revenue of $1.4 billion when fully phased in).

SUNY already has more than 150 fully online degree programs and some key incumbent strengths that should help it succeed in the competitive online market. SUNY’s favorable pricing and brand recognition materially increase its prospects for volume growth in an increasingly crowded field. With net tuition per student of just $6,991 (cost of two semesters after scholarships), SUNY is priced much lower than many competitors. SUNY already has both geographic and program diversity, and a large base of alumni (approximately 2.4 million living in New York), giving it high name recognition across the state that will also help it attract online students