Pursuing a degree online requires commitment and discipline and is often times more demanding than a student expects. A big part of WGU’s mission is to help students, even before they enroll, prepare themselves for success in an online learning environment.
Since 2010, WGU has referred many prospective applicants to StraighterLine to expose them to a rigorous online experience at a low price and with limited financial risk that lets them better understand what to expect in a formal online degree program at WGU. WGU more than makes up for the modest loss of potential tuition revenue with students who come back prepared to succeed and more likely to persist to degree attainment and achieve higher completion rates in higher ed.
"Since 2010, WGU has referred many prospective applicants to StraighterLine to expose them to a rigorous online experience at a low price and with limited financial risk."
Exclusive Focus on General Education Courseware and Student Experience
General education courses – the ones that everyone takes in their freshmen and sophomore years -- are substantially identical and heavily transferred across most colleges, certainly among leading online degree programs. It is StraighterLine’s mission to make the online experience for these courses even better than what traditional colleges offer.
- Over 90% of StraighterLine students that transfer persist to a degree.
- StraighterLine’s model for course delivery – self-paced learning with extensive academic and non-academic support – is now called Competency Based Education and is a centerpiece of the U.S Department of Education’s higher education reform agenda.
- StraighterLine is the only non-traditional course provider to be part of the Gates’ Foundation’s Digital Courseware Challenge grant program.
- MyLine – StraighterLine’s student portal – easily integrates all the services necessary to start, stop and succeed. These include easy access to tutoring, advising, assessments, proctoring, billing, credit transfer, starting courses and stopping courses.
- StraighterLine’s end of course assessments are psychometrically valid and reliable – an assessment standard that most colleges do not employ. By setting a respected standard, students, colleges and employers can trust the credits earned at StraighterLine.
- StraighterLine is a pioneer in the mandatory use of online proctoring and identity verification – requiring online proctoring for all courses since 2012.
"It is StraighterLine’s mission to make the online experience for these courses even better than what traditional colleges offer."
Low Prices and Low Risk
StraighterLine charges a $99 a month subscription plus per course fees, in many cases saving students 90% or more, and provides a guaranteed credit pathway to schools in its Partner College Network. Because StraighterLine doesn’t use the revenue from general education courses to pay for other parts of a college – like buildings or sports teams -- StraighterLine can offer online college courses much more cheaply than colleges themselves.
StraighterLine also makes it easier to know what you are getting before committing. StraighterLine offers a free-trial option and a liberal refund policy. Also, by subscribing instead of paying a flat fee, students can save more by finishing quickly or can spend less if they aren’t able to complete – a level of flexibility also not offered by colleges.
Further Discounts For Good Students
Outside highly selective institutions (who have lengthy waitlists and more applicants than they can serve already), most colleges want to enroll more students. With extremely high persistence rates, StraighterLine students are more valuable to colleges than those that drop out quickly. To attract these students, colleges are happy to provide a tuition discount in addition to awarding credit for StraighterLine’s ultra-affordable courses. StraighterLine enables this scholarship through its scholarship/discount program.
"With extremely high persistence rates, StraighterLine students are more valuable to colleges than those that drop out quickly."
A Clear Credit Transfer Pathway Makes This All Possible
StraighterLine works with the colleges in its network and their faculty to show exactly how StraighterLine’s courses will transfer and fit within that institution’s degree programs… providing a guaranteed pathway on which students can rely before they start.
This provides unique clarity and ease of transfer, and means no surprises when a student is ready to enroll in a formal degree program. It’s free for a college to participate, and StraighterLine receives no money from colleges in any form – enabling StraighterLine to remain an independent advocate for students.
Burck Smith (@burck) is the CEO and founder of StraighterLine.