U.S. News to Collect Online Education Data

As early as mid-July, U.S.News & World Report will begin a first-ever effort to collect in depth data from all online bachelor's and five master's degree level education programs in the United States. To that end, U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly reached out to college presidents to inform them about the new and exciting online education project and to urge them to help facilitate a response from their campuses. Below is the full text of the letter:

Dear ________,

I'd like to ask for your help. Later this year, U.S.News & World Report will be publishing an expanded directory of online education programs with more detailed information including rankings and other searchable data. With the rapid growth of online programs in higher education, prospective students are asking for more, and more useful, data to make informed choices. We are creating a site that will bring the same quality of information to online consumers, and the same opportunity for schools to connect with those students, that we've brought to brick and mortar institutions over the last three decades. I'd like to make sure that we're able to represent your school with the most accurate, updated information.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be sending surveys about the makeup, requirements, and quality of your online education programs. Each discipline-specific survey will be sent to the appropriate departments at private, public, and for-profit regionally accredited higher education institutions in the United States.

The questions are based on academic and industry literature reviews, as well as consultation with numerous heads of online degree programs in multiple disciplines. The questions will be categorized among six distinct program-specific surveys: the master's levels in business, computer information technology, education, engineering, and nursing, as well as an online bachelor's degree program survey. These program and degree levels were chosen because they are among the highest enrollments in online education. We'll be expanding the list of programs in coming versions. In addition, this will be the first initiative to collect program level data from all online degree programs in these disciplines. With your help, the rankings will become much more sophisticated in each succeeding year.

The data we collect will be part of a redesigned online education section at usnews.com. As with our Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools sites, we see this as an essential starting point for students looking to find the best online programs for them. We'll be including profiles of online degree programs, advanced online program searches, and online program rankings or evaluative lists.

Our education rankings have attracted many millions of users over the years because people trust and value the information we provide. At the same time, many schools have benefited from the exposure our coverage has given them. With your help, we will maintain that same credibility and value for the online education community.

For more information about the data surveys, online program rankings or new online education site, please check our Morse Code blog for updates or contact OnlineEd-Official@usnews.com. We look forward to continued collaboration and cooperation with you in the future.


Brian Kelly

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