StraighterLine Scholarship Awarded to Baker College Graduate

StraighterLine Scholarship Awarded to Baker College Graduate

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Recipient Madison O'Neill Saved $10,000 and 8 months by Combining Online Courses with Traditional On-Campus Study

WASHINGTON, D.C. (JANUARY 19, 2024)  -- StraighterLine, one of the largest providers of online courses serving over 150,000 learners per year, today announced the winner of its TikTok #HackEducation Scholarship, which recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding achievements and dedication in pursuing higher education through non-traditional means. The winner of the scholarship is Madison O'Neill, a licensed physical therapist assistant who graduated from Baker College in 2021. She is now pursuing a second degree at Baker College in Healthcare Administration. She will finish her degree eight months faster and estimates she saved $10,000 by completing required courses online through StraighterLine.

“At a time when college and consumer costs are rising, the value, relevance and pace of higher education is at a premium. Today’s students, in turn, are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and nimble—focused on finding ways to accelerate time to completion and decrease costs by curating their own educational journey,” said Amy Smith, Ph.D., chief learning officer at StraighterLine. “We salute Madison for her achievements, which are a testament to the power of online and digital experiences to break down barriers to academic and career success.”

The online, competency-based courses powered by StraighterLine played a critical role in Madison’s educational journey. Working a full-time job as a physical therapist assistant, she was able to earn her degree by taking courses online. The flexible nature of the online courses allowed Madison to work at her own pace, completing required courses on her own schedule.  She estimates saving approximately $10,000 by opting for StraighterLine courses and shortened her timeline to completion by eight months. 

“When I first heard of StraighterLine, my junior year of college, I thought it was too good to be true,” said Madison. “I wondered: how could it be possible to spend as low as $80 for a three-credit hour course? I decided to take the risk and was amazed at the amount of money I saved — I wish I had come across StraighterLine sooner!”

Madison will receive a $500 scholarship towards her education. When asked about the transfer experience to other colleges, Madison highlighted the seamless electronic transfer of StraighterLine courses, underscoring the platform's commitment to facilitating educational pathways. 

Since its founding in 2008, StraighterLine has provided thousands of learners with affordable and flexible postsecondary education courses that are accepted at more than 3,000 accredited U.S. colleges and universities. These courses are delivered through low-risk online pathway programs that help institutions address enrollment and retention challenges. StraighterLine also partners with employers to deliver flexible, low-cost career paths that align with in-demand skills.

“Madison's story underscores the transformative power of online and digital experiences in breaking down barriers to academic success. We commend her for her dedication, and we are proud to have played a role in her educational journey,” said Jacqui Spicer, Ed.D, president at Baker College. “As an institution committed to providing diverse and accessible learning opportunities, we value the impact of flexible learning approaches in supporting students on their unique educational path.”

To learn more about StraighterLine visit

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