SJSU Online Launches, Opens More Doors for Adult Learners

Sent: August 18, 2022

From: Vincent J. Del Casino, Jr., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear SJSU faculty and staff, 

Every day, thousands of Californians enroll in programs at for-profit or other non-profit institutions from outside the state seeking to complete their degrees online. Many of these students are returning adult learners who find it difficult to navigate the traditional schedules of a “bricks-and-mortar” campus experience. Others are mid-career professionals who are balancing full-time work and a family, while also seeking a way to move into the next job at their organization. Others want to seek out life-long learning but need to find a way to engage in that learning that can work at their pace and with their busy schedules.  

That’s why I am so pleased to share the news that SJSU Online formally launched on August 1 to offer undergraduate degree-completion programs that are 100% online. SJSU Online will empower Californians who have earned some college credits, including those who may have stopped out at SJSU, to return and complete their bachelor’s degree. We will begin enrolling students in five programs next January – with plans to expand our offerings in fall 2023 – and will offer three rolling admissions cycles annually. 

The need for this opportunity among adult learners is great. In California alone, there are roughly 2.5 million people who have completed at least one year of college but not earned a bachelor’s degree. I’m incredibly proud that SJSU is diversifying its learning modalities to broaden access to higher education for this underserved group of learners. These future Spartans all want the same things – to achieve personal growth, feel a sense of pride, and excel in their careers. 

The interest we’ve received in the first month alone is promising. Nearly 300 inquiries have come in from both new-to-SJSU prospective students and previous SJSU students who want to come back and finish what they started as a Spartan. These inquiries should turn into applications, which open on September 1. We believe our modest goal of 190 new SJSU Online students is easily achievable. 

The stories our enrollment counselors are hearing reaffirm why this work is so important. One 58-year-old grandmother wants to attend SJSU Online to complete her degree after years of wishing she could go back. Another successful, 32-year-old businessman wants to set an example of obtaining a bachelor’s degree for his two toddlers. The flexibility provided by a high-quality online degree from a campus with SJSU’s outstanding academic reputation fits perfectly into his life plans. Opening an online pathway to degree attainment for these students, and many other returning adult learners, will definitely change lives. 

Under Ron Rogers’ leadership, SJSU has put together an outstanding set of professionals in faculty professional development as well as enrollment, marketing, and student support services that allow us to make these programs our own. These are SJSU programs and the courses attached to this experience belong to the faculty and departments who built them. I want to thank the committed team of staff and faculty who have spent months thinking creatively and planning for this moment. Your willingness to envision a new future has made this initiative possible. We welcome new collaborators across any discipline or college to join us in this journey. 

I hope you will take a moment to celebrate this milestone for SJSU with me. You can learn more about SJSU Online in the recent campus NewsCenter article