K-State Global Campus enrollment, scholarships on the rise

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While enrollment numbers have declined throughout most of Kansas State, scholarship and enrollment numbers at the Global Campus are seeing a general increase. K-State’s Global Campus handles online degree programs, also referred to as “distance education.”

The fall 2017 semester saw a 4.14 percent drop in enrollment from the fall 2016 semester, making it a nearly 1,000 student deficit and the biggest drop in 30 years, as previously reported by the Collegian. Although numbers continue to drop for the rest of campus, the Global Campus seems unaffected.

“We have steadily increased since 1996,” said Melinda Sinn, alumni and external relations coordinator at the Global Campus.

Over 12,000 students enrolled in online courses for fall 2017, with 4,800 being online-only students. Currently, the Global Campus graduates between 500 and 550 students each year via online degree programs and facilitates education to students in all 50 states and 44 countries.

The Global Campus also presented $53,600 in the form of scholarships to more than 50 distance education students for the fall 2017 semester, Sinn said. This marks a dramatic increase from the $15,900 awarded to 15 students in 2013.

Contributing factors include efforts made by Sue Maes, former dean of the Global Campus, to boost the funds available for distance education scholarships. Maes retired in September.

These efforts include partnerships with community foundations to provide funds. Maes and her husband established an endowed scholarship. Sinn also established an endowed scholarship in honor of her mother, who passed away in 2013.

Maintaining relations with alumni also assists funding as former distance students may feel the desire to give back to the educational system.

“K-State considers themselves to have four campuses,” Sinn said.

This conglomerate includes the Manhattan, Olathe, Salina and Global campuses.

While the physical campuses handle on-site, accredited education, the Global Campus oversees online degree programs in addition to non-credit conferences and workshops for professional development.

“The main purpose of the Global Campus is to serve working adults,” Sinn said.

Rebecca Dale, academic advisor for the Global Campus, said the Global Campus works to accommodate non-traditional students.

“Whatever additional education they need to better themselves, we have that covered,” Dale said.

Amy O’Grady, senior in food science and industry and recipient of the College of Agriculture’s scholarship for distance education, is one of the non-traditional students served by the Global Campus.

“I work full time, I have three kids, so online [education] is pretty much the only way I would’ve been able to achieve a degree at this point in my life,” O’Grady said.

O’Grady is a certified dietary manager at a small hospital in Wathena, Kansas. Her distance education scholarship allows her to study food science at the Global Campus.

“My experience has been terrific,” O’Grady said. “The classes online make it achievable for a non-traditional student. I still feel like I have a K-State experience, even though I’m not on campus.”

The K-State Global Campus was established in 1966, and has been offering online courses since 1996. The Global Campus celebrated its 50th anniversary this past year.

The Global Campus is currently searching for a new dean following Maes’ September retirement. Duane Dunn is the interim dean.

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