By Denise Dick
Only 41 people are enrolled in online degree courses at Youngstown State University this semester, but officials believe prospects look good for growth next semester.
The university last summer announced the two undergraduate and five graduate degrees to be offered in the fall.
“With a late start to program approvals and the need for items such as official GRE [Graduate Record Examination] and GMAT [Graduate Management Admission Test] scores for some of our programs, our start was not as strong as the DE [distance education] Office would have liked,” Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, said in an email.
The Ohio Board of Regents approved the courses last July and YSU began marketing them, giving students a narrow window to apply and secure any required tests.
Millie Rodriguez, director of distance learning at YSU, is hoping for a better showing in spring semester. “We have a good, solid pool of prospective students,” she said.
The master of business administration drew the most students with 15 followed by allied health, a bachelor’s degree, with 13 students.
In a meeting last week with The Vindicator editorial board and a reporter, YSU President Randy Dunn said university officials expected online MBA enrollment to be higher, but that it’s early for the online offerings.
Rodriguez said two more programs — a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing and a master’s of financial economics — are in the works for the next year.
Prospective online students come from 22 states and three countries while the majority of actual applicants come from Ohio with some from Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri.
The programs are getting more online traffic through tailored Google searches spearheaded by YSU’s marketing department. National online campaigns are being established to market the YSU’s online offerings on a national scale, Rodriguez said.