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January 19, 2014

SNHU emerging as online education leader

President expects to top 35,000 students this year

(Continued)

Savings are great, some say

Affordability is something the students value.

Sean Ball, 35, of Hooksett estimates he’s saved as much as $15,000 through online studies.

Ball, who works for a bank, describes himself as a “hybrid student,” one taking some courses online, some on campus.

He is completing an accounting degree with an emphasis in forensic accounting.

His classmates are from throughout the country. One works for the Internal Revenue Service, another is a Navy investigator.

“If I went to a regular classroom, I wouldn’t have that diversity,” Ball said. “You connect with other people who have vastly different experience.”

The students don’t see an online degree as a disadvantage in the work world.

“I currently work with nurses, doctors, physician assistants,” Rice said. “They all say this is just a route people are taking.”

The age of the hiring employer may affect how an online degree is perceived, Ball said.

“For somebody a little younger in years, this is not as much of a big deal to them,” he said.

His experience in the financial sector is that people doing the hiring have sometimes completed online programs themselves.

Michael McCutcheon, a Londonderry police sergeant, teaches justice studies online for SNHU.

McCutcheon sees employers as more accepting of an online degree.

“I think it has definitely changed,” McCutcheon said.

He compares it to online dating. Twenty years ago, people wouldn’t admit to online dating.

“Now, it’s normal,” McCutcheon said.

Everyone is just more comfortable with technology and more people are studying online, he said.

He said he has four police colleagues in Londonderry pursuing degrees in their spare time.

Online degrees well respected

Seldom do students tell SNHU that employers are skeptical about their degree.

“We rarely hear feedback from students that their degree is being looked at askance,” LeBlanc said.

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