|Type||Private online university|
|784 Part-time (Spring 2021)|
|Students||25,245 (Spring 2021)|
Excelsior College is a private online university in Albany, New York. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and comprises three schools: the School of Undergraduate Studies, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Nursing. It serves mostly non-traditional, adult working students through their distance education programs.
Excelsior College was founded in 1971 by the New York State Board of Regents as its external degree program, known as The Regents External Degree Program (REX). The initial development of the program was funded by major grants from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation. Known as Regents College from 1984 through 2000, it operated as a program of the Board of Regents (which also served as its board of trustees). In April 1998, the Board of Regents granted the school an absolute charter to operate as a private, nonprofit, independent institution. On January 1, 2001, Regents College, required to change its name under the terms of the separation, became Excelsior College (Excelsior means "ever upwards" in Latin; it is also the motto of the State of New York).
Excelsior College has more than 26,000 students enrolled in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
History (Regents College)
Excelsior College, originally Regents External Degrees and later Regents College because it was directly administered by the New York State Board of Regents, was from its inception a college that had faculty, majors, academic requirements, and advisors, but no courses. It provided a framework for evaluating and assembling academic credits into a degree program. In some cases a degree was awarded almost immediately after application, if the student had already met all degree requirements. For students needing additional academic credits, Excelsior provided some through its Excelsior College Examinations. For other subjects, through human advisors and online tools Excelsior referred students to regionally-accredited colleges which provided the needed instruction, accessible from the student's location whenever possible.
This was done with sufficient rigor that Excelsior had no difficulty in obtaining accreditation. However, Excelsior students did not qualify for Federal Student Aid, which funded instruction, not the advising and evaluation Excelsior provided. Starting with its first graduate program, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies that began in 1998, Excelsior began adding courses, delivered at a distance through various modalities, such as DVDs.
However, transfer credit remains very important. Excelsior College has from its inception been exceptionally liberal in accepting transfer credit from other institutions. Essentially, any credit from an accredited institution will be accepted, if the course falls within one of Excelsior's degree programs. In fact Excelsior was founded in part precisely to address this question: students that had completed the courses for a degree, but at two or more schools, none of which would honor the others' credits, leaving the student without a degree that documented his or her education. The college has recently added time limits: transfer credit will not be accepted if it is more than 5, 7, 10, or 20 years (depending on the specific degree program) prior to the date of enrollment. Even with these restrictions, this is a much more liberal policy than most other colleges.
Sources of college credit that can be used towards an Excelsior College degree program, and to which advisors will refer an Excelsior student, include Excelsior College distance learning courses, courses from other accredited institutions, college-level subject-matter examinations (including CLEP exams, and DSST/DANTES exams), non-collegiate training (including corporate, governmental, and military training) that has been evaluated for college-level credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) and National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), and assessments of prior learning portfolios. Unlike most colleges, Excelsior College sets no limitations on the amount of allowable transfer credit.
Excelsior College also offers Excelsior College Examinations (ECE) which are comparable to CLEP and DSST exams and are accepted as a source of credits by many colleges in the United States.
Excelsior College is a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. SOC institutions are dedicated to helping servicemembers and their families earn college degrees. Military students can take courses in their off-duty hours at or near military installations in the United States, overseas, and on navy ships. Additionally, Excelsior College has repeatedly been nominated as a top military-friendly school by multiple organizations.
Excelsior College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its bachelor's and master's nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN). The School of Nursing has twice been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. Its baccalaureate degree programs in electrical engineering technology, information technology, and nuclear engineering technology are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.The bachelor's and master's degree programs in business are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
- Deborah A. Ashenhurst (Class of 1994), adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard (2011-2015), appointed Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services in 2019
- Edward D. Baca, Chief of the National Guard Bureau from 1994 to 1998
- Charles W. Bowen (Class of 2002), 10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, 2006–2010
- Benjamin Bryant (Class of 2006), former government official, co-executive producer of the Emmy-winning drama Anacostia, and current host of The Brink with Benjamin Bryant television specials and podcast
- Joe R. Campa Jr., 11th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, 2006–2008
- Stacey Campfield, former Republican member of the Tennessee Senate from the 7th district.
- Daniel A. Dailey (Class of 2011), 15th Sergeant Major of the Army
- John R. D'Araujo Jr. (Class of 1987), Director of the Army National Guard from 1993 to 1995
- Carl Hausman (Class of 1985), Professor of Journalism at Rowan University and author of Lies We Live By.
- Gilbert King (Class of 1985), winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction for Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of the New America.
- Judd Matheny (Class of 2000), member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from the 47th District.
- Anthony Munroe (Class of 1996), President of Essex County College
- Malcolm Nance (Class of 2011), author, scholar, and media commentator on international terrorism, intelligence, insurgency, and torture
- Anthony J. O'Donnell (Class of 1985), Maryland politician
- Richard Pope (Class of 1985), attorney and political candidate in the state of Washington
- Joseph J. Taluto (Class of 1986), retired Adjutant General of the New York National Guard
- Jason M. Vanderhaden, 13th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
- John E. Walsh (Class of 1990), adjutant general of Montana, Lieutenant Governor of Montana (2013-2014), United States Senator from Montana (2014–2015)
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