Portland State University distance learning, or PSU, has risen from humble beginnings to become a leader in urban education. Founded in 1946 in Vanport City, an abandoned wartime housing project in North Portland, the Vanport Extension Center was created to meet the city’s need to provide World War II veterans and GI Bill recipients with a quality urban education. The campus was later moved downtown in the South Park Blocks area, and gained status as a 4-year college in 1955. Today, PSU has approximately 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students and seeks to be a leader in urban education in the West Coast.
True to its roots in making education accessible, PSU utilizes different distance learning modalities to best meet the needs of today’s busy adult learners. One distance learning method is to create satellite campuses. PSU has 2 additional campuses in Portland, 2 in Beaverton, and in Salem and Gresham. Classes are usually offered at non-traditional times, such as nights and weekends to accommodate professional schedules. Another distance learning method is to offer courses online. PSU’s online programs are overseen by the School of Extended Studies. The vision of the School of Extended Studies is to “bring the University to the community.” This is a benefit for today’s busy adult learners, who often have obligations with work or family that prevent them from frequently attending traditional on-campus classes at set times.
PSU offers several classes at the high school, college, and dual-credit levels, and complete degree programs through online distance learning. Additionally, students can begin a degree online, and complete their degree at the main campus or satellite campuses and online concurrently. This is known as “blended distance learning” since both on and off-campus methods are utilized. High school courses are offered online in Business, Math, Science, English, and the Social Sciences. College courses are offered online in Chemistry, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Geology, History, Math, Nutrition, Psychology, Sociology, and Statistics.
As previously mentioned, Portland State University offers several degrees through online distance learning. Distance learning degrees include bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Online bachelor’s degrees include Social Science (BA/BS), Liberal Studies (BA/BS), and a BS in Business Administration with an option in Management Leadership. The Business Administration program is a blended distance learning program, with on-campus courses offered on Wednesday and Saturdays. Undergraduate minors in Psychology and Sociology are offered online as well. Master’s programs that are offered through distance learning online include Curriculum and Instruction (MA/MS), Education Media (MA/MS), Computer Science (MS), Electrical and Computer Engineering (MS), and Engineering and Technology Management (MS).
Tuition and fees vary by program and by educational level. Undergraduate tuition ranges $125 and $135 per credit hour. Graduate tuition ranges between $315 – $503 per credit hour. This is a great deal, as online classes are typically smaller and result in more individual attention. Financial aid is available for those who qualify in the form of grants, federal and alternative student loans, work-study and veteran’s benefits.