FAIRMONT, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Fairmont State University announced Wednesday that the school’s National Security and Intelligence graduate program has been ranked among the top online degrees in homeland security by STEPS, or Student Training & Education in Public Service.
Under six percent of colleges and universities in the country have earned a position in the STEPS public service program rankings, according to reports from the STEPS organization.
“We are thrilled to be among the institutions selected by STEPS this year,” said Fairmont State University College of Liberal Arts Dean, Christopher Kast. “This recognition is a testament to the excellence of the University’s National Security and Intelligence program, but also our faculty’s dedication to enhance student learning through online modalities. We are honored to receive this ranking and look forward to continuing to ensure transformative educational opportunities for our students through our public service programs.”
It is estimated that 7,700 postsecondary institutions were vetted in order to establish STEPS’ rankings, and a college or university must hold active regional accreditation from an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education, and have at least one partially online public service program in order to qualify.
Datasets analyzed by STEPS from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS, along with data collected from the schools themselves were crucial in STEPS’ determination of top schools in the country.
Additionally, the following key data points were considered in these determinations: Number of online programs in a given subject area, tuition and fees per academic year, percentage of students receiving institutional financial aid, existence of academic counseling, and offering of career placement services.
“STEPS wanted to find the colleges with the best overall public service education available online. This included degree programs with top-notch academics, support services for students and affordability of enrollment,” said Kyle Smith, community outreach specialist at STEPS. “Identifying and acknowledging these schools is critical as more students look toward online higher education options in a post-pandemic era.”
Notably, this acknowledgement has been bestowed during a time of increased interest in online degree programs following periods of lockdown and remote work/learning.
Additionally, an online study from market research company, Technavio, determined that online higher education could potentially grow by 20 percent over the course of the next four years.
“ Fairmont State is one of the few colleges today prioritizing online learning to meet student demand,” said Smith. “Adding online programs also promotes diversity in higher education, opening doors to those who may not have easy access to a campus-based classroom.”
Additional LOOTPRESS coverage of updates and events from Fairmont can be found here, and more information on Fairmont State University can be found here at the Fairmont website.