The University of North Carolina Wilmington has ranked eighth in the nation for its online bachelor’s program, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The report, 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
, recognized UNCW for its nursing and clinical research programs, two online programs that qualified for the ranking.
The ranking was based on different criteria such as engagement, which covered student participation and instructor availability, services and technology, faculty credentials and training and expert opinion.
“This new ranking reflects UNCW’s continued commitment to providing an affordable, high-quality education, not only for traditional students but also working professionals, military-affiliated students and others who seek the convenience and accessibility of online degree programs,” UNCW Chancellor Jose Sartarelli said in a news release. “UNCW continues to emphasize excellence in developing programs and modes of delivery to meet the diverse needs of our students.”
UNCW’s clinical research and nursing online programs started in 2013. There are 1,522 students enrolled in both programs as of fall 2019. Of that total enrollment, 1,431 are enrolled in the nursing program and 91 are enrolled in the clinical research program, said Nathaniel Miner, assistant dean for finance and resource management at UNCW's College of Health and Human Services.
"Both undergraduate programs have experienced growth in the last few years," Miner said in an email. "In particular, the nursing program has increased from 71 students in fall of 2013 to 1,431 this fall. Some of the results of this growth include increased course offerings for students and UNCW graduated 500 more bachelor’s prepared nurses in 2017-2018 than we did in 2012-2013 – this is helping to meet market demands for nursing professionals."
The majority, 97 percent, of students enrolled in both programs area ages 23 and older, with the average student being 33 years old, according to the report.
Besides its nursing and clinical research program, whose required coursework are all completed online, UNCW’s undergraduate online program also has criminology, international studies and elementary education bachelor’s degree programs.
Tuition for UNCW’s undergraduate online program is $168 for in-state and $643 for out-of-state per credit hour. Federal and institutional financial aid is available for the online program.
U.S. News & World Report data shows 39 percent of 2017-18 nursing and clinical research graduates graduated with debt.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide, a private school in Daytona Beach, Florida, that has been offering online courses since 1995, ranked No. 1 on the list.
UNCW tied for the eighth spot with Colorado State University-Global Campus, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Oklahoma.
The university also ranked sixth in the nation for its online bachelor’s program for veterans for its initiative to help reduce the cost of school.
"While we do not anticipate the type of program growth we have seen in recent years, UNCW is constantly working to assess market trends and evaluate our capacity to meet emergent demands," Miner said. "In addition, faculty work every day to ensure courses are designed to meet student needs and prepare them to meet industry and population needs."