Fort Hays State University and StraighterLine Join Forces to Help Stop-Out Students
HAYS, Kan. November 1, 2021 — Fort Hays State University (FHSU), a regional comprehensive public university in Hays, Kansas today announced a new pathway for students who had to take a break from their education to return to FHSU to complete their degree. In collaboration with StraighterLine, the new Fort Hays State Academy offers low-cost, competency-based online education courses that provide students a flexible way to restart their degree program.
“One of the great and enduring strengths of our university is the extent to which our faculty and staff invest personally in the success of every student,” said FHSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jill Arensdorf. “Our partnership with StraighterLine will allow us to extend opportunities to students who have temporarily had to step away from pursuing their dream of a college education.”
Enrollment Numbers and Stop-Out Students
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, enrollment numbers began to decline nationwide. A recent report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows postsecondary enrollment nationwide dropped by 3.5% for the spring semester of 2021, reflecting a decline seven times larger than the previous year, directly correlated to undergraduate enrollment. In Kansas, the decline is even steeper, with enrollment numbers showing a decline of 6.3% statewide for the spring 2021 semester.
The Benefits of a Bachelor’s Degree
Research shows that people with bachelor's degrees are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages than workers without degrees or only associate’s degrees. The 2020 Kansas Economic Report projects the largest increase in jobs to be among occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree. In Kansas, it is projected 20,453 jobs that require its employees to have a bachelor’s degree will be created between 2018-2028.
An Innovative Approach to Helping Students
“Higher education institutions around the country have seen students stopping-out for one reason or another. The challenge for colleges and universities is how to get those students back and reengaged,” said Burck Smith, founder and CEO of StraighterLine. “Fort Hays State University is taking this challenge head-on with an innovative approach. This Academy gives students a flexible, low-cost, low-risk way to jumpstart their college education and get back on track to earning their degree.”
The Fort Hays State Academy courses are available anywhere, anytime — to work with a student’s schedule. Students can take up to three courses (nine credits) for a tuition cost of only $170 per month, including eTextbooks. In addition, the program offers student support online seven days a week, free online tutoring and math or writing assignment feedback.
“Stop-out students need more support than the average college student. One of the benefits of this partnership is the student support and free online tutoring available to students,” Smith said. “Our data shows StraighterLine students complete and pass their courses 25% more often than other online students. The support they are offered, along with the quality of StraighterLine courses, gives students what they need to be successful.”
The Academy program is open to students who were previously enrolled but stopped out before earning a degree. Students who enroll in the Academy can take up to three courses to earn up to nine credits toward a degree. These courses include Intro to Psychology, Intro to Sociology, Intro to Business, Medical Terminology, Intro to Criminal Justice, Survey of World History, Personal Fitness and Wellness, College Algebra, Intro to Statistics, and Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) I, and A&P I Lab.
Students who are interested in enrolling in or learning more about the Fort Hays State Academy can visit www.fhsu.edu/cpl/fhsu-academy.
About Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University was founded in 1902 as the Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School-a teacher's college. Our hometown, Hays, Kansas, is located on the high plains of north-central Kansas. The original home of the institution was on the grounds of Fort Hays, a Nineteenth-Century frontier military outpost. The state of Kansas initially intended the university's academic programs to focus on agriculture, but it opened in as a "normal" or teacher's college. FHSU is a regional comprehensive public university where determined, innovative, and caring faculty and staff share a deep commitment to teaching and mentoring students. Total enrollment at FHSU exceeds 14,000 students who pursue their educational goals on-campus, online, and at our two international partnership campuses in China.
A pioneer in distance education, we began delivering correspondence courses to teachers in rural Kansas early in the 20th Century. Today, FHSU Online delivers more than 200 flexible, affordable, and high-quality online programs. FHSU Online is one of only six universities in the world to earn the United States Distance Learning Association’s rigorous 91-point quality certification.
The mission of Fort Hays State University is to develop the engaged global citizen-leaders our world needs. More than 95% of FHSU students secure jobs or enroll in graduate or professional programs after they graduate, and FHSU consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the American Midwest.
StraighterLine is a student success company and the category creator for providing scalable solutions to deliver affordable, effective and accelerated learning pathways to formal degree programs and widely recognized industry credentials. The StraighterLine platform supports over 40,000 new students a year, including directly through the StraighterLine.com website as well as through the company’s growing network of university and employer relationships. Visit www.straighterline.com or partners.straighterline.com for more information.