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Given its small size, it’s no surprise that Delaware is home to fewer than 10 institutions of higher education. These range from public state schools to art and design colleges. The Delaware Department of Education’s Higher Education Office oversees the state’s colleges and universities, working to ensure that Delawareans have access to state resources for higher education by administering financial assistance programs and providing postsecondary education information to students, parents, and state policymakers. One of its major initiatives includes adopting the Common Core State Standards, which define the knowledge and skills students should master to succeed in college and will also enable every state to measure student academic progress instead of maintaining a patchwork of standards.
Several of the state’s major institutions of higher education have initiated distance learning programs to increase the accessibility of its academic offerings. The University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Delaware State University all offer online college degree programs and online college courses in a range of subjects and degree levels. Here’s a more detailed look at the schools, their histories, and their distance learning offerings:
The University of Delaware is among the top universities in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. It is the largest university in the state, with more than 17,000 undergraduates, more than 3,600 graduates, and nearly 800 students in professional and continuing studies spread across its main campus in Newark as well as four satellite campuses. Curiously, it is both a private school and a public school ó it has a private charter and private funding, but it also receives some state assistance. This allows the school to maintain such private-school characteristics as small classes and a large endowment, but at a more affordable price. Delaware residents are given first priority when applying, too, with more than 90% who apply accepted. Students can choose from three associate programs, 147 bachelor’s programs, 119 master’s programs, 54 doctoral programs, and 15 dual graduate programs through seven colleges and in collaboration with more than 70 research centers. Through the school’s distance learning program, students can take some of these degrees online, too, with degree offerings including an associate of arts, RN-to-BSN, and master’s in mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and nursing.
Delaware State University is the second-largest university in the state, behind the University of Delaware, and is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top universities in the North. It was established in Dover in 1891 as the State College for Colored Students, and though it has since changed its name and now serves a diverse student population, the university is among the top premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country. Students can choose from 56 undergraduate degrees, 26 graduate degrees, and five doctoral programs in traditional disciplines, as well as such unique areas as biotechnology, applied mathematics, applied optics, education, nursing, social work, and sport sciences. Some of the university’s classes are available through distance learning, as online college courses are offered through Blackboard. The school also uses Blackboard for blended learning courses, wherein students meet both on campus and online, and Web-enhanced courses, where classes are conducted in a classroom and Blackboard is used to distribute content or conduct activities.
More than 13,000 students attend Wilmington University, which has its main campus in New Castle near Wilmington as well as seven other locations in Delaware, four in New Jersey, and two in Maryland. The private, non-profit university offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a variety of career areas, such as accounting, allied health, business management, criminal justice, education, public policy, legal studies, and web information systems. Nearly 40 degrees are also offered online at the bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels. Online programs are in business, behavioral and social sciences, education, health care, liberal arts, and technology.