This spring, Kathy Hart will take her final course at SUNY Broome – and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business on May 15.

Thanks to the SUNY Broome and Excelsior College partnership, the Binghamton resident will achieve the next milestone in her educational career – and stay close to home. Excelsior College is an accredited, nonprofit institution dedicated to adult learners, who can take courses both at SUNY Broome and online in the pursuit of their bachelor’s degree.

“I would highly recommend this program. I can’t think of an easier way to get your bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Current Excelsior students and those interested in the program meet regularly at SUNY Broome to touch base, noted Terri Fadden staff associate with the SUNY Broome/Excelsior Partnership Office. Recently, Hart led one such meeting, walking current and prospective students through Excelsior’s online interface.

The portal offers students all the tools they need to monitor their progress: credits remaining and completed, course catalogs and descriptions, financial aid, and complete syllabi so that students know exactly what they’re getting into when they enroll, Hart related. The interface even has an online library of journal articles, which Hart recently used for researching a paper in her human resources concentration.

“The whole experience is at my fingertips. It gives me everything I need to do it,” she told prospective and current students.

Online courses are available in eight-week and 15-week segments, and involve reading, writing papers, videos and participating in discussions. Students can also earn college-level credits by passing proficiency exams, although that isn’t an option Hart used.

Hart admits that her educational journey has been a long one. With both a young daughter and a job — her employer pays for her courses, as long as she earns an A or B —  she faces an intricate dance of time and obligation. That’s the toughest part of pursuing an education, she noted, adding that she often works on her courses after her daughter goes to sleep.

Katie Magda of Windsor also has transitioned from SUNY Broome to Excelsior, and has been proceeding at a steady pace. She’s pursuing a degree in business with a focus on accounting. While she found the courses challenging, Excelsior helped her through it, she said.

“I’m getting there,” she added.

Linda Wolcott of Binghamton hasn’t yet enrolled in Excelsior, although she is interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology or health sciences and pursuing a career as a counselor.

“I’m focusing on my education so I can find a better job,” she explained.

So, why Excelsior College?

“You can pace yourself with this program. Online courses fit into your schedule,” she said. “You can take them here rather than go out of town.”

Kathy Hart walks current and future Excelsior College students through the college's online portal.

Kathy Hart walks current and future Excelsior College students through the college’s online portal.