This summer, 38 SUNY Broome alumni achieved their next educational milestone: a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s through Excelsior College.

While the accredited, nonprofit institution is based in Albany, students don’t need to hop onto Interstate 88 and head to the state capital. Instead, students in the SUNY Broome and Excelsior College partnership program take most of their coursework toward their bachelor’s degree at SUNY Broome, finishing their degrees online.

The program has received national notice. College Factual, an informational site that ranks colleges and universities, recently listed Albany-based Excelsior College as the top school for non-traditional students.

“I made it through within two years. I did it!” said Katie Magda, who earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Business.

Twelve of the 38 graduates did make the trip to Albany for Excelsior’s graduation ceremony. Overall, graduates’ majors included business, nursing, psychology, healthcare management, criminal justice, health science, liberal arts and social science with a concentration in human services. Many also balanced full-time jobs and parenting with their pursuit of a degree.

“Dream big! This program’s flexibility made my dreams easier to reach,” said Nicole Paugh, who earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business and received the $1,000 Phi Thea Kappa scholarship through Excelsior. “Flexible schedules work for single moms!”

Nicole Paugh

Nicole Paugh

Paugh also made a buddy along the way: fellow SUNY Broome and Exelsior graduate Samantha Potter. Potter, who works full-time in the SUNY Broome Registrar’s Office, decided to pursue her Bachelor’s in General Business after a three-year break after learning that college alumni receive discounted tuition.

Originally nervous about online courses, Potter ultimately grew to prefer them. She met Paugh in a SUNY Broome class and the two pushed each other to succeed.

“If I was feeling unmotivated or letting my procrastination habit get the best of me, she got me back on track,” Potter said. “She was my academic rock as I was forced to cope with a devastating family tragedy only two weeks into our final and most difficult trimester.”

Potter is considering another return to the college classroom: this time to pursue her MBA. Tracy Brown, who earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Healthcare Management in December, is on the same path and just completed her first class toward a Master’s in Health Science with a Public Health concentration.

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss,” counsels Stephanie Jump, who earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology in just a year and a half, after her SUNY Broome credits transferred to Excelsior. A stay-at-home mom when she started, she scheduled homework and studying around her son’s naptimes. The flexible schedule also proved a blessing when she returned to work part-time.

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Stephanie Jump

“I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about trying it,” she said.

Like Stephanie, Stacy Knapp appreciated the flexible course schedule. As a mother of five children who works full-time, this flexibility allowed her to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Business, with a concentration in accounting.

She read on her lunch breaks and completed course assignments whenever she had a spare moment.

“Despite needing to have two surgeries during this time period, I was still able to complete my online class requirements and not miss a beat,” Knapp said.

Stacy, too, is looking toward the future and is now working toward a Master’s degree in her field.

“I am very thankful for the professors at Broome and the start they gave me,” she said.

Stacy Knapp

Stacy Knapp

Interested? Visit http://www.sunybroome.edu/excelsior for more information.

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