DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has been recognized as one of the top schools in the nation in providing a quality education during the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Educate to Career (ETC), a non-profit organization, ranks Southeastern among the Tier 1 schools (the top level). The 2020 ETC College Rankings rate 1,200 schools by their ability to offer a quality education under any conceivable scenario: in-classroom, online, and a blend of each format.
Colleges that rank in Tier 1 must meet the following criteria:
- A physical campus for in-classroom instruction should the health authorities allow colleges to open in the fall
- Robust software and systems to support distance learning programs
- Faculty experience in teaching online
- Reasonable tuitions & fees on a relative basis
“We are constantly looking for ways to assist our students, whether it be in academic delivery mode or financial assistance,’’ said Southeastern president Thomas Newsom. “Utilizing funding through the federal CARES Act, we were able to distribute more than one million dollars directly to our students recently to help with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. A total of 2,557 of our students received varying amounts of assistance. In addition, the University has established the“Shelter for the Storm’’ fund through the Southeastern Foundation to assist students with challenges related to the pandemic and future issues that might arise.’’
In 2014, ETC first released a system for ranking colleges which was based upon the ‘economic value’ created by the colleges the organization scored. The system revolutionized college rankings because it was based on economic metrics, including colleges’ abilities to graduate students at a reasonable total cost, and to get them into the labor market with high relative earnings.
With the COVID crisis, everything has changed regarding college selection criteria. With ETC’s new rankings system, a ‘distance learning’ component is mandatory for a high ranking simply because there is a real possibility that at least some instruction will be done via the Internet. Schools that have systems and experience in distance learning, with a campus to support in-classroom teaching have the right formula for today. And factoring in that the U.S. is now in the midst of a deep recession, tuition is also a primary consideration.
Southeastern is one of 15 schools in Oklahoma to earn Tier I status.