College For Adult Learners Marks Record Enrollments

September 10, 2002

Empire State College, a statewide arts and sciences college of the State University of New York, recently marked record enrollment for the 2001-02 academic year. The college served 15,657 students – its highest enrollment ever for a one-year period – at its more than 40 regional locations and Center for Distance Learning based in Saratoga Springs.

Founded in 1971, Empire State College has a special mandate to serve “nontraditional” students, who, for a variety of reasons, choose not to take classes at a set place and schedule on a college campus. Most Empire State College students are working adults (with an average age of 37, although they may be anywhere from 18 to 85) who juggle their studies with their job, family and community commitments.

Empire State College was a pioneer in distance education, and was the first SUNY college to offer a degree totally online. Through the SUNY Learning Network, the college is the top provider of online degrees among four-year colleges in the state, serving 2,124 students in the spring of 2002.

Joseph B. Moore, president of Empire State College said, “The faculty and staff work hard to make us the college of choice for adults. We’re heartened by the response of the adult learners from Long Island to Buffalo. We will continue to develop the programs that meet the changing needs of our students and their communities across the state and beyond.”

Said State University of New York Chancellor Robert L. King, “Record-setting enrollment is an affirmation of the superior quality of education available through Empire State College. This is a remarkable milestone, and I congratulate President Moore and his faculty and staff.”

Empire State College students design their own degrees within specified areas of study, and are assigned a faculty “mentor” to guide them through their degree planning and academic studies. Many students enroll in regional centers across the state – for example, in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York City. The college’s Center for Distance Learning serves students who choose not to, or cannot, enroll at a local center. These students earn their degrees using online or other independent study methods.

George Sinnott ’86, commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service, and the chairman the Empire State College Council, said: “As working adults realize the importance a solid college education has on career placement, promotion and job satisfaction, they continue to turn to us as their college of choice. At the core of our success is a superlative faculty and staff that provide a student-centered environment that sets the benchmark for our competition. Add innovation, convenience and affordability, and you have the Empire State College formula.”

Empire State College, of the State University of New York, was designed with the needs of the nontraditional student in mind. Founded in 1971, the college offers flexible degree programs in the arts and sciences through independent study, web-based courses and study groups, as well as credit earned through college-level life learning. With 38,000 alumni, Empire State College enrolls more than 15,000 students per year in its associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Easily accessible at more than 40 locations across New York State and through its Center for Distance Learning, Empire State College is the SUNY solution for working adults.