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Jessie Long, Director of Adult Education, Newberry College

Jessie Long, Director of Adult Education at Newberry College, joins us today to discuss adult distance education.

Tell us about the distance learning programs offered at Newberry College.

The fastFORWARD program at Newberry College is a realistic, affordable solution for working adults looking to complete a bachelor's degree. By combining the practicality and convenience of online learning with the intimate and deep commitment of Newberry College, this blended program can show students the most direct route to a degree, then personally guide them every step of the way. The fastFORWARD program is designed for adults who have complete at least 60 credit hours of college courses and want to earn a bachelor's degree in either business - organizational management or early childhood education.

What is the typical duration of each of your programs?

Students in the fastFORWARD program can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in business - organizational management in as little as 18 months and a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education in as little as 24 months.

What would you say makes Newberry College programs different and better than other comparable online programs?

Newberry College's faculty and staff are genuinely concerned about our students. Because our fastFORWARD courses are taught in a blended format (which combines the best of in-classroom and online learning), students have the opportunity to develop a strong bond not only with the instructor but also among their fellow learners. With a 14:1 student-teacher ratio, Newberry College ensures that students receive individual attention and guidance as part of its values-based curriculum.

How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online college?

Whether students feel they will continue their education further or not, they should be wise in choosing a fully-accredited institution. A degree from an accredited institution will not only go farther in the job market, but in the continuing education market as well.

There is some debate as to whether or not online degrees are as worthwhile as traditional degrees. What steps does Newberry College take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they'd receive in a classroom?

Adults who enter the fastFORWARD program are considered full-time students and therefore receive all the same opportunities as our traditional students. Our programs are also taught by highly qualified instructors who have both online and in-class teaching experience. We are dedicated to the intellectual, social, physical and spiritual development of our students in a caring and supportive environment, whether that is in the physical classroom or the online classroom.

What would you say are some of the benefits of earning a degree online rather than in a traditional classroom?

In today's hectic society, with adults trying to juggle work and family, an online or blended degree program offers much more flexibility. Adults can hold down a full-time job, cook supper, put children to bed and be a full-time student.

If a student enrolled in one of your programs was interested in finding an internship in their field in their area, do you have any means of assisting them in acquiring an internship position?

If an internship is required for completion of a program, it is built-in and placement is determined by our faculty/staff.

Does Newberry College offer any job placement services to your students and graduates?

All Newberry College students can access our Career Services department to get more information about career planning and resume writing.

Is financial aid available to students in your programs?

fastFORWARD students are eligible for various financial aid that is generally divided into grant and loan programs. Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid may be eligible for Federal Pell Grants, the South Carolina Tuition Grant, and/or subsidized/unsubsidized Stafford loans.

Do you have any advice for students enrolling in online classes for the first time?

Students looking to enroll in online courses or even blended courses for the first time need to ask themselves if they are truly committed to beginning and finishing a program taught in such a format. Like many other commitments, quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising regularly, etc., going back to school takes determination.

What do you enjoy most about your position at Newberry College?

I enjoy working to ensure that students select a path that is right for them and guiding them to the end.

For more information on the fastFORWARD program offered at Newberry College, visit them online.

Thank you Jessie, for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!

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