University News

Program Increases Access to Online Learners

June 7, 2013

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- The Western Illinois University Bachelor of Arts in General Studies Advisory Committee recently voted to change the program's admissions standards to be more inclusive for individuals who are unable to leave home to continue their education.

The committee's unanimous vote changes the admissions standards for the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies to require a "C" or better grade point average in 24 semester hours (previously 60 semester hours) from a regionally accredited institution and removes the requirement that students must be at least five years from their high school graduation date. These changes are consistent with admissions criteria for traditional transfer students, according to Admissions Director Andy Borst.

According to Rick Carter, executive director of the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree is designed as a highly individualized and flexible program, which recognizes that some students may have attended a variety of educational institutions and accepts transfer of passing coursework taken at other regionally accredited colleges and universities.

"Western Illinois University is committed to being a transfer friendly institution. We listen to the life circumstances of our students, and we believe in shaping the educational experience to meet students' needs," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "This change will provide a high quality education to students who may be placebound, but are committed to completing their college degree."

The School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach offers online and face-to-face courses, Carter added. Face-to-face courses are conveniently offered off-campus during evenings and weekends, and WIU's online courses are well-suited for adult students with other responsibilities and for traditional students interested in pursuing an affordable undergraduate degree program.

"More transfer students are choosing to stay closer to home in order to continue their education," Carter noted "This change upholds Western's commitment to academic excellence and also creates greater educational opportunity for students, who after one year at a community college, can complete their bachelor's degree entirely online. As students face greater economic pressures, they may not be able to leave jobs or families to continue their education."

For more information on the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree, contact the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach at (309) 298-1929 or e-mail

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