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03/12/2002
Hudson Valley Community College to Offer Complete Individual Studies Degree Online

CONTACT: Sarah Boggess or Eric Bryant (518) 629-8071

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, March 12, 2002
http://www.hvcc.edu

With its online course offerings growing exponentially over the past five years, Hudson Valley Community College will now offer a complete degree program online, President John Buono announced today.

Beginning in the Fall 2002 semester, students will be able to complete the entire Individual Studies degree program through courses offered over the World Wide Web. The college recently completed an extensive review by the state Education Department that determined it was "institutionally capable" of offering degrees online. This makes Hudson Valley one of only a handful of colleges or universities in the State University system to offer a complete degree online.

Individual Studies is a flexible degree program that can lead to either an Associate in Science (A.S.) or Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree. The program provides a wide range of options in choosing from courses in the liberal arts, English, science and mathematics, and is often used by students who transfer to a four-year college or university upon completion of their Hudson Valley degree.

"Most of the students in Individual Studies are on the transfer track, looking to graduate from Hudson Valley and then move to another college for a bachelor's degree," said President Buono. "This full-degree distance learning option will provide them with a great deal of flexibility in how and when they complete their studies."

Students in the Individual Studies degree program must complete 60 credit hours, and, this spring, will choose from nearly 80 courses currently available online. The number of courses will continue to grow in the next several years.

Distance learning enrollment at Hudson Valley has increased on an average of 50 percent each semester over the past three years and the number of courses offered has kept pace. The number of students enrolled in distance learning classes recently surpassed 2,700.

"It's one of our fastest-growing student populations, and we expect it to keep growing," said Buono.

The growth in Web-based learning at the college is due, in part, to student satisfaction. Returned student surveys show that 76 percent said they would definitely take another online course, although a majority also said that more work is involved in distance learning, compared to a traditional classroom course. Students cite the convenience of distance learning, and the ability to study from home, as major benefits.

President Buono made the announcement of the new degree opportunity at the Latham home of Kim Hart, a 24-year-old student who has taken online courses exclusively over the past two semesters because of her work schedule. A recent study by the American Association of University Women showed that women over the age of 25 make up 60 percent of those taking college classes online.

"I cannot say enough good things about the online courses that are offered at Hudson Valley," Hart said. "It is very important for the public to know how convenient it is to get a degree while managing a busy home life, possibly children and a full-time job."

The college hopes to offer more degree programs online in the coming years. "Where it is academically feasible, we will continue to bring degrees online," said Vice President for Academic Affairs Carolyn Curtis. "Several departments are quite close to being able to offer their curriculum completely online."

For more information about the online Individual Studies degree program, contact Todd Wysocki in the Advisement Center at 629-7219 or visit www.hvcc.edu/insonline.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.