World News and Report ranks UNO’s online BGS program 20th in the nation


For students like recent graduate, Antigone Jackson, the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s online Bachelor of General Studies program has acted as their lifeline to higher education.
Jackson- who lives in Lincoln, Neb. and recently received her degree in library science- was drawn to UNO’s program because it offered her degree choice and was flexible enough to allow her to receive a quality education from a distance.
“I knew right away that this program would fit me because I took classes around my schedule and only had to go to Omaha for class once or twice a month,” Jackson said. “The staff really cares about their students and wants to see them succeed. They really do everything they can to help their students get their degree. I feel blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful program.”
This wonderful program, UNO’s online BGS degree, was ranked as one of the top 20 bachelor’s programs in the United States by News and World Report on Jan. 8, putting it among the top programs in the Midwest and the top program within the University of Nebraska system..
“UNO’s program stands out because of the quality of the education,” said Gina Toman, director of Continuing Studies and assistant dean for the College of Public Affairs and Community Service.  “UNO’s program has excelled at giving students a sense of belonging even though they may be taking classes online. The program’s faculty also has outstanding credentials with their experience and professional development.”
UNO’s BGS degree, ranked 20th out of the over 280 institutions included on the list, offers 50 areas of specialization, 12 of which are fully-online programs.
Central Michigan University and SUNY College of Technology in Delhi, NY were ranked first and second, respectively. Outside of the Nebraska system, the only local school to rank higher than UNO was Bellevue University at 18.
“It makes sense to me that the BGS program is nationally ranked in the top 20 because it effectively met my needs,” said program student Annie Charbonneau. “Something that really impressed me and made my time at UNO productive and pleasant was the guidance I received from academic advisors.”
Since the program was founded in 1951, over 23,000 students have graduated from UNO with a BGS degree. It was the first completely online degree program within the University of Nebraska system.
The BGS program began offering distance education courses in 1997, which included students watching a taped recording on their television to take notes. As technology advanced, so did the program. The online degree was first offered in 2007, and now provides live streaming audio and video, smartphone and tablet applications and online labs through blackboard as part of its online course offerings.
“The student experience remains the most important to us, and that is what drives most of the work we do,” Toman said. “From creating a diversity of online degrees for those in Omaha and from around the world studying to offering academic advising both in office and online, students have the support system to be successful.”
Currently, there are 1,300 students enrolled in the BGS program, and 250 are taking 51 percent or more of their classes online.
While UNO’s program is excited to be considered among the nation’s best, Toman said they are always looking for ways to improve. For the future, Toman said the faculty has looked at providing more online course offerings and areas of study, as well as placing more student services online.
“We have a solid program, but we stay abreast of what changes we can do to make UNO better as a whole,” Toman said. “This recognition speaks highly to UNO’s commitment to online learning and how that can meet the demands and needs of students.”BGS program