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Founded as a higher learning institution specifically for mature adults in 1972, Thomas Edison State College offers a variety of programs based on self-directed study to senior adults and those whose current lifestyles limit traditional educational opportunities. The school promotes itself as an institution designed with the needs of working adults in mind, and the average age of the college’s population is 36. Approximately 21,400 students enroll at Thomas Edison State College and can pursue more than 100 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, completion and certificate levels. According to the school’s website, Thomas Edison State College is “one of New Jersey’s 11 senior public institutions of higher learning and one of the oldest schools in the country designed specifically for adults.”
Thomas Edison State College Accreditation Details
Thomas Edison State College holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Several of the school’s individual programs also maintain accreditation with their corresponding accrediting boards and organizations. The W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing, for example, holds accreditation with the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing for its bachelor’s degree, master’s-level programs and graduate certificate programs in nursing. The nursing school is also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees. In addition, the New Jersey Board of Nursing approves all of the school’s nursing programs.
The Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET has accredited Thomas Edison State College’s undergraduate degree program in Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology, and the Polysomnography program has been awarded initial accreditation through 2017 by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Thomas Edison State College Application Requirements
Thomas Edison State College was created for “mature adults,” which means older adults who typically already have careers or life experience when they start classes. The school requires all incoming undergraduates to be at least 21 years old unless they qualify for a special exemption. Applicants also must have also earned their high school diploma or GED to gain acceptance. For students pursuing the bachelor’s degree program in nursing, a valid U.S. nursing license is required.
Students do not need to complete standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT, but international applicants who come from a non-English-speaking background must demonstrate English proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL exam. Due to the unique scheduling offered by the school, students can apply to Thomas Edison State College at any time. There are no application deadlines. The school admits students during 12 terms throughout the year.
For graduate applicants, the school sets out different application requirements depending on the chosen program. All graduate-level programs except for the Graduate Educational Leadership, Nursing and MBA programs demand the following application and admission requirements:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher
Completion of an essay, personal statement and two letters of recommendation
Three to five years of professional experience in the student’s chosen field of study
Because the school’s online graduate programs are competitive, students need to demonstrate academic excellence and relevant work experience in order to be considered for certain programs. The school offers detailed guidelines regarding the essay, personal statement and letters of recommendation. There are four application deadlines for graduate admissions depending on when a student plans to enroll: January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1.
Different admissions and application requirements exist for the MBA program as well as the nursing and educational leadership programs. Students who are interested in these degrees should visit the school’s website for detailed instructions on how to apply. In general, these programs require more significant work experience.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Students may choose from the following undergraduate tuition options at Thomas Edison State College:
Comprehensive Tuition Plan: Students under this policy have a locked-in rate for 24 consecutive months that covers all aspects of tuition minus books, maintenance fees and course materials. The rate for 2014-2015 was $5,871 for New Jersey residents and $8,647 for non-residents.
Enrolled Options Tuition Plan: For students who don’t need the full range of services offered under the Comprehensive Tuition Plan, the Enrolled Options Tuition Plan allows them to pay for college in portions. Under this plan, students pay a set annual enrollment fee along with per-credit fees based on their program of study. The annual enrollment fee is currently $1,691 for New Jersey residents and $3,154 for non-residents. There’s also a $125 technology fee.
Per Credit Tuition Plan: The school allows students to pay for classes on a per-credit basis under the Per Credit Tuition Plan. Current rates are $407 per credit for New Jersey residents and $491 per credit for out-of-state residents.
Graduate tuition rates are generally $617 per credit plus a $299 graduation fee. There’s also a $75 dollar application fee. Rates vary according to program. Students should check with their chosen program to estimate the cost of attendance. The school’s Financial Aid office awards grants, scholarships and other assistance opportunities to those who qualify. Public and private loans are also available.
Programs Available at Thomas Edison State College
Most students at Thomas Edison State College do not take courses on campus. According to the website, the college “does not require [students] to attend class at a specific place and time. There are no set times to log on for any lectures or online events.” Programs begin once per month, every month and typically last for 12 weeks. Students have three options for taking courses that fit around busy schedules: online courses, guided study courses and e-Pack® courses.
Bachelor’s programs vary widely in topic and include fields such as air traffic control, human resources management, medical imagining, and sociology. At the graduate level, students might study programs in public and municipal finance, liberal studies, clinical trials management, or information technology. There are also certification and completion programs as well as non-degree programs available for professional development.
Transfer students can apply up to 80 hours from a two-year school and up to 120 hours from a four-year university to their degree programs. The school also takes into account prior work experience, which includes professional training, licenses, certifications, military training and other experience that relates to the individual degree program. Thomas Edison State College offers more than 100 programs at various levels, which makes it an ideal college for students who need to finish a bachelor’s program, complete professional training or earn their master’s degree without attending a physical campus.