ELKO – AffordableColleges.com ranked Great Basin College No. 24 in the nation for having the best value in online associate degrees.
The website also ranked two associate degree programs at Great Basin College in the top 10 for having the best value for online degrees in the nation.
The associate of applied science in business administration, entrepreneurship, was ranked No. 1, and the associate of applied science in early childhood education was ranked No. 7.
Both degrees were ranked among other entrepreneurship and early childhood education programs in the United States.
GBC’s online associate programs stood out in quality and affordability when reviewed with schools across the country, said Erica Carson, public relations coordinator of AffordableColleges.com.
To weigh scores, AffordableColleges.com uses the most recent data available from the integrated postsecondary education data system that offers reliable and accurate insight into affordability, academic pedigree and online/distance learning programs.
The No. 1 ranking comes after the business department received approval from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents to offer a new bachelor’s degree emphasis in management and supervision.
Previously, the Bachelor of Applied Science degree was emphasized in management in technology. It is often sought after by GBC associate degree graduates.
The new emphasis, with added coursework in international business and leadership, will lead students to be better prepared for “the workplace of tomorrow,” according to GBC.
George Kleeb, management and marketing instructor at GBC, said students choose to study entrepreneurship at the college for many reasons.
“Students learn everyone will have the choice in their lives to decide if they want to be self-employed,” Kleeb said. “As many entrepreneurs know, there’s good and bad opportunities in business. We teach our students how to make the best decision.”
Kleeb also noted that graduate rates are “successful because each student takes away key fundamentals and applies them to their individual goals.”
The importance of an associate-level education continues to be at the forefront of many regional and statewide initiatives to build a better economy closer to home.
Lynette Macfarlan, early childhood education professor and program adviser said her program benefited from recent recognition GBC received for offering affordable online associate-level education.
“The ECE enrollment numbers have nearly tripled. I didn’t want to turn anyone away,” Macfarlan said. “This was my chance to spread the word that a child’s brain develops rapidly during the first four years of life.
“The way children are treated during this ‘critical stage’ of brain development will ultimately determine who they become as adolescents and adults. The results can be positive or traumatizing.” Macfarlan said. “How we treat and teach young children determines their future.”
Macfarlan said that although many of her students come from within the GBC service area, others are from Carson City, Reno, Fallon and Las Vegas. She said she has students enroll from other parts of the country and the world.
“I have welcomed students into my online program from Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Utah, Ohio and even Japan,” Macfarlan said. “My students come to realize that behind their computer screens, they have a real, live instructor who supports their learning 100 percent.”
Teresa Stauffer, elementary education instructor and program adviser, said one of the most important things in the ECE program is the personal attention that Macfarlan gives to each and every student.
“Lynette is quick to respond to inquiries. She gives personal time to students to ensure maximum student growth through the entire program,” Stauffer said. “Students adore her because she is available to them for support [and they] know that Lynette cares deeply about their success both as students of GBC and as employees in pre-schools and schools.”
These rankings come as the NSHE and Nevada community colleges launch the new Nevada Promise scholarship program.
Approved during the 2017 legislative session, the goal of NV Promise is to allow graduating Nevada high school seniors to complete a certificate or associate degree at no cost to the student.
The program begins with the high school graduating seniors of the 2017-2018 school year. Applications are due by Oct. 31.