Online Schools in Texas
In 2000, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), working with state educators and legislators, drafted a set of goals to help close education gaps in Texas by 2015. THECB hoped to raise higher education enrollment from 5 percent in 2000 to 5.7 percent in 2015 -- an increase of 630,000 students. According to a 2012 progress report, the state is currently on pace to meet this goal, but has seen a dip in annual participation. Online schools in Texas may help the state achieve, or even surpass, these enrollment numbers. Often more convenient and flexible than traditional degree programs, online colleges can give more students the opportunity to pursue higher education.
Online Education Resources for Students in Texas
A growing number of colleges and universities in Texas now offer online degree and certificate programs. For example, Texas Tech University features numerous degrees that are fully online, along with some that are a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. The University of Texas system currently offers both undergraduate completion programs and full master's degrees online. Similarly, Abilene Christian University boasts five online graduate programs, including Master of Education in Higher Education and Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development.
In addition to these institutions, national online schools offer a wide range of fully online degrees to students in Texas. These include Walden University, ITT Technical Institute, Kaplan University, and University of Phoenix. Some of these colleges even have physical campuses in Texas, where students may be able to pursue hybrid learning options.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Texas
School accreditation is important for many reasons. First, proper accreditation helps ensure that a degree earned from a particular college will qualify graduates for employment. It also influences whether another institution will accept that school's credits, if a student chooses to transfer. Generally, private associations are responsible for the accreditation of colleges, which must meet criteria provided by the Secretary of Education. These institutions are also reviewed by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Six accrediting agencies service multiple states, grouped according to region.
Most postsecondary institutions in Texas fall under the jurisdiction of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Schools with a national presence may be accredited by other agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission. Prospective students should check with a school representative to find out about a particular institution's accreditation status.
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