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Westfield State Online-education Programs Lauded by U.S. News

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University led Massachusetts’ state universities and placed in the top 30% out of 214 schools in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 “Best Online Education Programs” rankings. Westfield State’s official ranking was 58 out of 214 in the category of online-education bachelor’s programs.

“We are committed to finding new ways to expand access to a high-quality college education,” said Elizabeth Preston, president of Westfield State University. “Offering online access to our academic programming allows us to support the needs of students who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of the educational opportunities we offer.”

Westfield State has offered online classes since 2002 and currently offers six online bachelor’s-degree-completion programs, in business management, criminal justice, liberal studies, history, sociology, and psychology. Evolving the program has been key to its success and expansion.

Last year, Westfield State signed the MassTransfer Plus agreement that allows students who have completed an online associate’s degree at Holyoke Community College (HCC) to transfer to the university’s online bachelor’s-degree program, making it possible for them to complete a four-year degree fully online. The MassTransfer Plus agreement builds on the growing number of fully online degree programs available at HCC and Westfield State, as well as the institutions’ determination to make it easier for Massachusetts residents to obtain an education and move into higher-paying, in-demand career fields.

When determining scores, U.S. News chose factors that weigh how online programs are being delivered and their effectiveness at awarding affordable degrees in a reasonable amount of time. Rankings were determined by four different criteria: student engagement (40%), faculty credentials and training (20%), peer reputation (20%), and student services and technology (20%).

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