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Online degree enrollment increases at UNG

UNG has been ranked No. 31 for its affordable online master’s degree program by Great Value College. The school earned the honor based on its seven graduate degree programs online and affordable tuition.

As more companies seek out employees with advanced degrees, many full-time workers are going online to acquire master's degrees to make themselves more marketable.

As one of the largest public university in the state, the University of North Georgia (UNG) assists them by offering seven graduate degree programs online. Graduate student enrollment at UNG jumped by 54 percent in online programs between fall 2015 and fall 2018.

"UNG is deliberate in selecting the best delivery mode to fit our student's needs," said Cory Thornton, interim director of graduate admissions at UNG. "Through expanding our online coursework opportunities, we are able to provide broader access to our programs that respond to state and regional demands in a global society."

Based on its programs and affordable tuition, UNG has been ranked No. 31 for its affordable online master’s degree program by Great Value Colleges (GVC). The premier website provides rankings on several angles through high-quality, research-based articles.

To develop the ranking, GVC editors considered only those affordable master's degree programs with tuition costs of less than $400 per credit hour. Points were then assigned based on the tuition amount and the number of programs.

UNG earned four points.

"The University of North Georgia offers over a dozen online degree programs, over half of which are affordable online master's degree options," according to the GVC website. "No entrance exams are required for admission, and generous scholarships and grants are available for eligible students. All of the affordable master's online programs from UNG are offered entirely online."

A prime example of UNG's success with its online graduate degree program is the Master of Public Administration (MPA).

Dr. Luisa Diaz-Kope, coordinator of the MPA program at UNG, said enrollment in the program nearly quadrupled when the degree switched from a traditional classroom setting to completely online in fall 2017. The program then doubled its enrollment over the next year.

Thornton attributes the jump in online graduate enrollment to flexibility.

"Online courses allow our students to be more intentional in their class selection. Graduate students are no longer limited to courses and programs that simply fit into their busy lives," Thornton said.

Higher enrollment numbers also led to an increase in the diversity of students.

"Since we went online, we are more diverse, because enrollment is not limited by geography," Diaz-Kope said, noting her students range in age from fresh out of college to 50-year-olds in the workforce. "We are diverse in age, race and ethnicity."

This growth is expected to continue as word spreads about not only UNG's MPA program but all of the university's online degree programs.

 At present, UNG offers seven graduate degree programs online. They include:

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