Pace Online Program Ranked Top 10 in the Country


Andreas Christou, Senior Copy Editor

In a recent article, US News ranked Pace University #10 in the nation, for the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, according to “factors such as graduation rates, indebtedness of new graduates, and academic and career support services offered to students.”

This is the fourth time Pace has been rated in the top half percent of this study conducted by US News.

“The reason I think we have been rated in the top half percent, is because the people involved in teaching these courses are very passionate in their fields and responsive to student needs,” said Dr. Amar Gupta, Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Pace’s online education program began 15 years ago, when a group of telecommunication companies and unions got together, and began to encourage representatives from their work forces to complete or pursue a college degree.

Pace was originally approached to develop an associate degree program. This led to the development of Pace’s most popular online degree program, National Coalition for Telecommunications Education and Learning (NACTEL), with telecommunications technology, according to US News, serving as a major for 87 percent of Pace’s online students.

From there, five associate’s programs have been developed, along with programs to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees online. About four years ago, iPace formed, as the university began to look for an online opportunity for a bachelor’s degree completion program modeled after NACTEL.

Pace’s online degree programs, especially NACTEL, have become quite popular in recent years, most especially appealing to working individuals, whom Pace works closely with to accommodate their schedules.

“These students are mainly working adults in the telecom industry, such as natural disaster responders, and they may face delays in their ability to perform in class,” said Ward Carpenter, Director of the NACTEL Program. “We go out of our way to recognize work and family commitment, and do whatever we can within university policy to help them succeed.”

Online students at Pace come from all 50 states, and various countries around the world. Pace notably is committed to their online program, not differentiating it from the quality of education available to students in the classroom. They also have a number of support services that serve as advocates for online students within the university environment.

“At some colleges, the online program is treated as a stepchild, with a separate department,” Gupta said. “Here, we treat NACTEL and iPace as part of our school, and this encourages students to stay at Pace, which has graduation rates higher than most online colleges”

As for future plans, the program is evolving as the industry has, developing changing courses for the changing times. The NACTEL program is placing more of an emphasis on mobile phones and mobile security, as well as information security, telemedicine, and telehealth.

“We want to blend all our students together, by using good onsite classes and techniques to benefit the online students, and integrating the onsite and online markets,” Gupta said.

The Pace online community is rapidly growing, with 1,040 graduates since the online program’s inception, and 107 students currently eligible for graduation this spring.