Open Admission Online Colleges

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

The concept of online colleges and the open admission online colleges is a relatively new idea to many who may be unfamiliar with the idea of having an education without earning a college degree. An open admission online college is one in which any qualified person is allowed to apply and attend classes based on their skill levels and knowledge instead of their educational credentials that come from getting a standard undergraduate, graduate or PhD degree. A number of some of the best open online colleges offer this type of education as well as those that do not offer such an open level of study. Have you been trying to get all the information you can on open admission online colleges? Have you been able to get all the information you want? If you haven’t, you need not get worried. The article below brings you the information you are looking for.

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About Open Admission Online Colleges

High school was a challenging time for everyone. If you were the kid that neglected to live up to your potential within those four formative years, you might have despaired of ever going to college. For many, academics aren’t a strong point, but career success often lies locked on the other side of a daunting four-year degree. If this sounds like your situation, you may be able to benefit from open enrollment.

When you apply for college, the admissions department looks at a 2.5-3 year segment of your life to determine whether you’re qualified to attend. Those three years may not paint the best picture of how determined and prepared you are to achieve your goals in a college setting. That’s where open admissions come in.

If you want to attend school without worrying about a commute, the online aspect of these institutions is where you’ll want to focus. These virtual platforms allow students more flexibility in their schedules, allowing higher education to fit easily into everyday life.

To help you achieve your future career, the school you earn your degree from must be recognized by an accrediting agency. After you narrow down your list of schools, be sure to research their accreditation at the site for CHEA and USDE Recognized accrediting organizations.

Sometimes You Just Need a Second Chance

What is Open Enrollment or Open Admissions?
Open enrollment or open admissions colleges reduce their admission criteria to just a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Additional requirements are more streamlined: placement tests, application forms and fees, proof of high school graduation, and additional English proficiency testing for international students.

Generally speaking, community colleges retain open admissions, as their main goal is to make associate-level education accessible to all students. A few universities follow this same philosophy as well, in addition to some veteran-friendly schools that waive strict requirements.

If there are more applicants than there are seats, some schools may have limited space.

Benefits of Open Enrollment
There are a lot of benefits to entering an open enrollment program. These schools are typically more affordable than those with more restrictive admissions policies. With open enrollment, the competitive component of the admissions process is practically nonexistent. In a sense, you don’t have to “pay” to compete before you even get to the classroom. When you don’t have to worry about which schools are going to reject or accept you based on your test scores, a lot of the anxiety involved in the application process goes away.

However, because the selection process is much more open, in-class competition isn’t as stiff either. That can be both a good and a bad thing, depending on where you sit on the need for competition spectrum. Since open enrollment lacks the stringent academic requirements of other programs, your classmates may not be the most highly-motivated individuals.

Many students in open enrollment schools find that they actually thrive in a non-competitive environment where rivalry doesn’t exist between peers. A degree earned online from an accredited school is just as effective as a degree earned through traditional methods. Ultimately, it isn’t how long it takes for you earn the degree, but what you get out of the experience that counts.

Without further ado, here are the top online colleges with open enrollment. These schools are ranked based on our own proprietary formulas and statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Benefits and Shortcomings of Open Enrollment

Picking a school with an open admission policy may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone.

Before you go that route, it’s beneficial to weigh the pros and cons of open enrollment so you can decide for yourself whether it’s the best choice for you.


  • Chance to improve GPA. If you struggled in high school, you may find it more difficult to get into a selective university. At a college that admits all students, you can have a chance to bring your grades up. Eventually, your new GPA may help you transfer to a four-year school or join a graduate program.
  • Less time spent on applications. Writing essays and tracking down reference letters can be a time-consuming process. Filling out applications for open enrollment schools is usually much faster. You may simply need to fill out an online application and turn in your high school transcripts.
  • Lower cost. While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, open admission colleges often cost less than ones that are more choosy about who enrolls. If you’re on a budget, low tuition costs may be the key to earning a college degree.
  • More diverse student body. Often, selective schools attract many students from similar socioeconomic or academic backgrounds. Colleges with open enrollment can level the playing field, so to speak. You may find that the student body is more diverse when it comes to age, wealth, race, academic experiences, and a variety of other factors.


  • Different academic environment. The highest-performing students often gravitate toward selective colleges. As a result, open enrollment schools often have fewer academic superstars. If you thrive on being challenged by your peers, you might miss being surrounded by top-of-the-class students.
  • Fewer student resources. Because colleges with open enrollment often cost less, they may not have as much money to invest in the nicest facilities and the newest technology. If you’re willing to pay more, you may benefit from the increased resources available at more selective—and more expensive—schools.
  • Less prestige. You can get a solid education at a regionally accredited open enrollment college. Even still, your degree may not have quite the influence that an Ivy League education would provide. Employers and graduate admissions committees may prefer candidates from more prestigious schools in some cases.
  • Academic rigor. An open admission policy doesn’t mean that college will be a piece of cake. Earning a degree will still require work and perseverance. If school has always been a struggle for you, college may not be any different. Unlike in high school, though, you may have the opportunity to pace your studies in college.

You can always decide to apply to several different schools—some with more lenient admissions policies and some with stricter requirements. Once you find out where you’ve been accepted, you can make your final decision.

How to Choose a College with Open Admission Policy

There are many open enrollment colleges out there, but they’re not all of the same caliber. It’s beneficial to select a reputable school that will meet your needs. Here are some factors to consider as you explore schools:

  • Accreditation. Choosing an open admission school doesn’t mean that you’ll have to skimp on academics. Regional accreditation shows that a college meets acceptable standards.
  • Signs of student success. Most colleges can provide statistics to help you evaluate whether they’re doing a good job of educating students. One figure to consider is the first-year retention rate—the higher the percentage, the better. You can also look for the career placement rate. The majority of graduates should be able to find relevant work after completing college.
  • Student resources. If you struggled in high school, you may need a hand with finding success in college. You can take a look at whether a college has introduction-to-college classes, free tutoring, or other programs that could be of assistance.
  • Transfer policies. This college may not be the last stop on your educational journey. Some two-year schools have articulation agreements with four-year universities so that graduates are guaranteed full acceptance of all their previous coursework.
  • Two-year vs. four-year. You can receive an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an open enrollment college. If you want to ease into college life, you may find that getting an associate degree from a community college enables you to build up your stamina for the more challenging courses at many four-year institutions.

Determining which factors are important to you can help you identify the best open enrollment colleges for you.

Open Admissions University Requirements

Getting into a school with an open enrollment policy can be less stressful than applying to highly selective schools. There are usually fewer steps to the application process. Common requirements may include:

  • Completed application form with personal information
  • Application fee
  • Interview with admissions counselor
  • School transcripts or GED record

After submitting materials, you may also take placement tests before enrolling in classes. This can help the school know which courses are best for your current level of knowledge

List of Open Admission Online Colleges

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format with an open admissions policy.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Bellevue University offers open admission. None of the programs require applicants to submit ACT, SAT, or GRE test scores. To be eligible for admission, applicants must have either a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. Some programs may have additional admission requirements.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Bryant and Stratton College

Bryant and Stratton College campus

Bryant and Stratton College offers open admission. The school has admissions advisors to assist interested applicants. Applicants must submit a FAFSA application, a photo ID, a high school diploma or the equivalent, an entrance assessment, a math evaluation, and an English evaluation.

Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Clovis Community College

Clovis Community College campus

Clovis Community College offers open admission. Academic advisors are available to assist students. Applicants may submit their applications through email, fax, or mail. When applying, they must submit Accuplacer, ACT, or SAT test scores and their official transcripts.

Clovis Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Coastal Pines Technical College

Coastal Pines Technical College campus

Coastal Pines Technical College requires applicants to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and official transcripts from all schools attended.

Applicants who were homeschooled are required to submit ACT or SAT test scores when applying. ACCUPLACER placement tests in reading, writing, math, and algebra are required for all applicants.

Coastal Pines Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Copiah-Lincoln Community College campus

Copiah-Lincoln Community College offers open admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools attended and either have ACT test scores to submit or complete an Accuplacer placement test. Academic advisors are available to assist applicants with the admission process.

Copiah–Lincoln Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Florida National University

Florida National University campus

Florida National University offers open-door admission. To be eligible, applicants must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. While they do not need to have SAT or ACT test scores, applicants must complete a diagnostic test. Official transcripts must also be submitted to the school when applying.

Florida National University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Frontier Community College

Frontier Community College campus

Frontier Community College offers an open admission policy. While students are guaranteed entrance to the school, select programs have different admission requirements.

Applicants must be 17 years old or older. When applying, applicants must submit an admissions form, official transcripts, and national standardized test scores and complete a pre-entrance physical examination.

Frontier Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University offers open admission to interested applicants who are 16 years old or older. Official transcripts from all schools attended must be submitted when applying. Admission requirements vary by program, but applicants who do not meet GPA requirements may still be admitted to the school if they have high enough test scores.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Lewis and Clark Community College

Lewis and Clark Community College campus

Lewis and Clark Community College offers online admission for new students who have a GPA of 2.3 or higher. Applicants must submit an online application with official transcripts from all schools attended and ACT or SAT test scores. Applicants may sign up to receive information about their enrollment verification through an additional website.

Lewis and Clark Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University’s admissions process is designed to allow applicants to submit an application in just 5 steps. Applicants must submit official transcripts when applying but the requirement may be waived when transferring at least 12 qualifying credits with a GPA of 1.5 or higher. Each program comes with an online completion program.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National American University

National American University campus

National American University offers an online application to simplify the admissions process.

To be eligible, applicants must either have a high school diploma or official transcripts from a post-secondary institution. Applicants may transfer qualifying credits from their time studying at a different university or earn credits from qualifying life experiences.

National American University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

National University

National University campus

National University offers an online application process for those interested in attending the school. Applicants must complete ACCUPLACER evaluations in mathematics and English and have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher. Some programs may have additional admission requirements. Student support is available through phone and email.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Oconee Fall Line Technical College

Oconee Fall Line Technical College campus

Oconee Fall Line Technical College allows interested applicants to apply online with an application fee. When applying, applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools attended and either a high school diploma or the equivalent. Official placement exam scores must also be submitted to the school.

Oconee Fall Line Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Rasmussen University

Rasmussen College campus

Rasmussen University has admissions advisors available to assist applicants with the application process.

Applicants must complete an entrance placement exam and submit official transcripts from any previously attended universities and a background check. Students may gain additional credits from transferring qualifying credits from other programs they’ve attended, a self-directed assessment, or military training.

Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Salem University

Salem University campus

Salem University requires new applicants to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additional admission requirements may be required for different programs. Any student who has studied at another institute will automatically be considered a transfer student and may transfer in up to 90 qualifying credit hours.

Salem University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Stanly Community College

Stanly Community College campus

Stanly Community College requires applicants to complete an online North Carolina Residency Determination Service questionnaire before filling out an application.

Official high school transcripts and placement test scores must be submitted to the school when applying. Some programs have limited enrollment and have additional application requirements.

Stanly Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Sullivan University

Sullivan University campus

Sullivan University offers a number of online programs. Applicants may apply online with a small enrollment fee. ACT or SAT scores and a high school diploma or the equivalent must be submitted to the school when applying. Transfer students may be able to receive additional credits if they have already attended a post-secondary institution.

Sullivan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers a number of different online programs, each with its own admission requirements. Most programs require applicants to submit official transcripts from all schools attended, test scores, and a resume along with their application. Many of the programs allow qualifying credits from other schools to be transferred in.

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

West Kentucky Community and Technical College campus

West Kentucky Community and Technical College allows applicants to submit an online application.

When applying, applicants must submit ACT or other assessment test scores and copies of their official high school transcripts or GED. Before applying, applicants may complete an online orientation to see if online classes are good for them.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College campus

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College accepts applications through the school’s website, the mail, or direct submission to their office. Applicants must have proof of graduating from high school with a GPA of 2.6 or higher and ACCUPLACER, SAT, ACT, or similar test scores.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Best Open Admission Online Colleges

Are you looking for Best Open Admission Online Colleges? On, we’ll help you find the best open admissions colleges to satisfy your educational and professional goals. College is a big commitment, but a good education can make a big difference in your future. That’s why we rely on expert advice from trusted publications like U.S. News Best Colleges to help us identify great open admission schools that won’t cost you a fortune. You can explore our listings of accredited open admission schools below to find one that matches your interests and career goals – from top-ranked online bachelor degrees to programs for aspiring RN to B

1 National University San Diego, CA
2 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
3 Florida National University Miami, FL
4 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
5 Sullivan University Louisville, KY
6 Granite State College Concord, NH
7 Bryant and Stratton College Buffalo, NY
8 Salem International University Salem, WY
9 Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
10 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE

  1. Bellevue University

Score: 100

Average Net Price: $12,055
Retention Rate: 76%
Graduation Rate: 41%
Salary After Attending: $80,100

Located in the very heart of Nebraska, Bellevue University operates as a top-tier institution of post-secondary education, offering online curricula in over 70 different fields and boasting minimal costs and a high post-graduate salary average. Its courses enable students to work full-time while pursuing their education, featuring flexible hours and 24/7 online technical support. Bellevue is also a non-profit university, which means that all tuition is put toward maintaining high-quality education.

Bellevue’s generous transfer policy is one of its more remarkable features, allowing students who are unable to finish school due to extraneous circumstances to apply their existing credits to their Bellevue education. Graduates’ only complaints concern textbook prices and the Kirkpatrick series, a class that some students felt had negatively affected their grades. Bellevue professors are known to be friendly and helpful, and the majority of BU students report that class workloads are entirely manageable.

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  1. Florida National University
    Score: 99

Average Net Price: $21,736
Retention Rate: 94%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Salary After Attending: $62,000

Florida National University is dedicated to its motto of “opening doors to the future,” and the university certainly delivers on that promise. Like Bellevue, it offers both physical and online classes, and students can earn their associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in everything from nursing to law. Unfortunately for remote students, some of the physical campus amenities (writing lab, library, etc.) are unavailable in a virtual format. Though tuition costs are relatively high, FNU offers a wide selection of scholarships, several of which are available to all students.

According to, Florida National University earned an overall grade rating of ‘C-‘, scoring lowest in categories like student dorms, campus food, and party scene. In safety and student life, FNU ranks high. Students give the school four stars out of five, with the largest portions of reviewers describing their experience as very good or excellent.

  1. Rasmussen College – Florida
    Score: 97.7

Average Net Price: $18,640
Retention Rate: 100%
Graduation Rate: 25%
Salary After Attending: $72,200

Rasmussen College is a career-focused institution that directs its curricula toward qualification and occupation preparedness. Across its seven schools of study and 24 locations over six states, as well as a series of comprehensive programs offered fully online, Rasmussen boasts 48 different degrees, certificates, and doctoral programs. Students on accelerated tracks can take six-week certificate programs that provide them with head starts in their respective fields. The Higher Learning Commission provides Rasmussen with regional accreditation. Graduates are employed by companies like Apple, JP Morgan, Nielsen Media, and more.

The majority of Rasmussen’s negative reviews relate to in-person classes offered at campuses outside of Florida. On average, online students and those studying in Florida are more satisfied with their education. Rasmussen’s online classes are supervised by a staff of helpful professionals at flexible hours. Online students particularly enjoy the positive atmosphere and the career-centered curriculum of the virtual format.

  1. Granite State College
    Score: 97.3

Average Net Price: $13,604
Retention Rate: 37%
Graduation Rate: 52%
Salary After Attending: $46,200

Granite State College offers a 100% online option for learning and offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in fields like business, healthcare, public safety, communications, technology, liberal arts, and education. The U.S. News and World Report named it among the Best Online Bachelor’s

Guide on Open Admission Online Colleges

Online colleges with open enrollment or open admissions accept all learners who hold a high school diploma or GED credential. Some schools also accept passing HiSET scores. Schools with open admissions do not require applicants to submit additional materials, such as standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, or a resume.

Online bachelor’s programs require approximately 120 credits. Full-time and accelerated degree-seekers can graduate in four years or fewer. Part-time students may need longer. Online learning often provides more scheduling flexibility than on-campus programs. For example, online students in asynchronous courses can view lectures and complete assignments at their convenience.

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The application process for a school with open admissions takes only a few minutes. Applicants submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Some of these colleges and universities also use rolling admissions. Schools with rolling admissions accept applications throughout the year and generally offer additional start dates.

Not all online colleges with rolling admissions also offer open admissions. These institutions may require applicants to submit materials such as standardized test scores and letters of recommendation. Students should fully understand each prospective school’s admission policies before applying.

Asynchronous online programs allow learners to complete coursework at convenient times. This scheduling flexibility is ideal for busy students who may otherwise not have time to earn a degree.

Regardless of location, students can access online colleges with open enrollment throughout the country. Because online students do not need to relocate, they often save money on living expenses.

Students who attend an online college with open enrollment can save money on tuition, fees, and housing. Distance learning also reduces or eliminates transportation costs.

Degree-seekers in online asynchronous programs often work full time, since courses have no set meeting times. The ability to work while earning a degree can help learners finance their education and avoid debt.

Online learners develop practical, transferable skills related to technology and communication. Onlinst students gain experience communicating through discussion boards, using a management system, and videoconferencing.

What does open admissions mean?

Open admissions colleges accept all applicants who graduated high school or passed the GED or a similar test. They have no other requirements.

Do you need to take the SAT or ACT for open admissions?

Although open enrollment online colleges do not require SAT or ACT scores, learners may need to submit test results to qualify for merit-based financial aid packages.

Are there academic requirements for open admissions?

Online colleges with open enrollment require applicants to possess a high school diploma or GED. These schools do not require supplementary application materials.

How do I find schools with open admissions?

Many state schools offer open admissions. Additionally, prospective students can search the internet for the top open enrollment online colleges by state.

Is there a minimum GPA for open admissions?

Online colleges with open enrollment do not consider GPA when admitting students. However, excellent grades may exempt learners from foundational college courses.

Do all online colleges have open admissions? Private four-year universities and colleges do not typically offer open admissions. Prospective students interested in open enrollment should focus on state schools.

To ensure they receive a quality education, students should look for online colleges with regional accreditation. The U.S Department of Education charters six regional accreditation agencies and sets standards for the accreditation process. Many institutions and employers only recognize degrees and credits earned from regionally accredited schools.

In addition to regional accreditation, prospective online students can look for accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC is a national accreditation agency that evaluates online programs to ensure their curricula meet acceptable levels of rigor. To receive DEAC accreditation, institutions must offer at least 51% of available programs online.

A school’s academic programs may feature programmatic accreditation from field-specific agencies. These agencies evaluate programs in a certain academic subject to determine whether they follow best practices and adequately train learners for careers in the field. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides an online list of recognized programmatic accreditation agencies.

Courses in an online bachelor’s program vary by major. However, most programs include general education courses in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. These courses comprise approximately one-third of the academic requirements for a bachelor’s degree. Of the remaining credit requirements, undergraduate students typically fulfill half through major coursework and half through electives.

Below are some general education courses that undergraduate students commonly complete. Because course offerings vary among open enrollment online colleges, students should contact their prospective institution to confirm course availability and requirements.

Written Communication
Many online colleges with open enrollment require students to take a written communication course during their first year of study. Learners in this class typically complete short academic essays and pieces of creative writing. Coursework helps students prepare for writing requirements in other courses, which may include lab reports and research essays. Some schools require students to take a writing remediation course before enrolling in written communication.

About Open Admission Colleges Near Me

Open enrollment allows students without strong academic backgrounds to gain admission to community colleges and some four-year colleges.

Strict admission requirements can make it difficult for some learners to gain entry to college. Open enrollment provides students without strong academic backgrounds greater access to education, broadening the pool of potential schools and programs available to degree-seekers.

This guide provides information on how open enrollment works and ranks the best online colleges offering open enrollment. It also covers other important information for prospective students, including answers to frequently asked questions.

What Is Open Enrollment?
Many online colleges use open enrollment in place of more selective or competitive processes. First implemented in the 1970s to reduce discrmination, open enrollment increases educational access by removing restrictive measures that might prohibit some learners from attending school. Open enrollment is most often offered by community colleges and other two-year institutions.

In practice, open enrollment typically means eliminating most admission criteria, such as standardized test scores and minimum GPA requirements. Most online colleges with open enrollment require only a high school diploma or GED for admission.

Who Should Apply Through Open Enrollment?
Students without strong academic backgrounds or those who otherwise lack access to higher education benefit the most from open enrollment. Like schools with more strict admission criteria, open enrollment colleges and universities provide a pathway for students to advance their careers and go on to pursue further study.

Other Ways To Enroll
Colleges and universities may have a variety of enrollment policies in addition to open enrollment, including regular decision, rolling admissions, and early decision. The following sections outline these and other common enrollment policies.

Can I Start Online College Anytime?
Prospective learners may wonder: When do online classes start? Most online colleges offer flexible start dates, but they do so within a clear scheduling structure. Some online schools use a traditional semester system, while others use quarter or trimester terms.

The semester system generally consists of two 15-16-week terms in the fall and spring. Quarter systems usually use four 10-week terms in the fall, winter, spring, and summer, while the trimester system comprises three 12-13-week terms in the fall, winter, and spring.

Learners can typically begin taking online courses at the start of any term. However, some schools require students to start in the fall, while others offer monthly start dates. There are also self-paced online colleges, where students access and complete materials entirely on their own schedules, those these are relatively rare.

Multiple Start Dates
Many online college courses have multiple start dates. Individual departments or programs usually set these dates individually at various times within the academic year. Accelerated courses often use multiple start dates to accommodate the varying needs of busy learners, but some traditional and self-paced classes also offer them.

Online colleges with weekly start dates are rare, though they do happen, usually for certificate or vocational degrees. It’s more common to see monthly or quarterly start dates.

Independent Study Course Schedules
Independent study courses let learners explore their areas of interest through opportunities not formally offered in curriculum catalogs. The content of these courses is usually determined between the degree-seeker and an instructor; they arrive at a mutually agreed-upon plan of study. This option works best for degree-seekers whose needs are not met by traditional curriculum offerings. These courses usually begin at a convenient time for both the learner and the instructor.


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