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SUNY launches streamlined online learning program

The State University of New York is making it easier for students to graduate by making its campuses' 12,000 online classes available on one website.

Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced the launch of the program Open SUNY during her State of the University address Tuesday, saying it will make it easier for students to find the classes they need to take and allows students the chance to learn on their own time while dealing with their day-to-day lives.

"This isn't about SUNY being trendy," Zimpher said. "It's about making sure New Yorkers have the educational opportunities they need to be successful in the 21st century economy. And it's not a small task. Today, 6.9 million New Yorkers have a high school degree, but no college education."

Zimpher says the new online program meshes with President Barack Obama's call for affordable education.

"In essence, Open SUNY will allow us to reach everyone on their own terms," Zimpher said. "And this increased anytime access will mean that students won't be shut out of classes they need to graduate. And by vastly increasing access in this way, we are speeding completion, which is clearly an effective way to cut college costs."

Open SUNY also includes the introduction of eight online degree programs, which Zimpher says go beyond what is currently offered online. They are being rolled out at six campuses including SUNY Oswego, SUNY Delhi and Broome Community College among others. The chancellor said the virtual programs align with the state's workforce needs in applied science, business management, nursing and others.

Zimpher says SUNY plans to continue growing its online programs to meet an anticipated 100,000 additional students enrolling at SUNY schools.