Strayer University’s roots can be traced back to a Dr. S. Irving Strayer, who began a small Baltimore business school in 1892 as a way to provide working adults with an affordable, convenient education that would educate them on the changing business model at the time. More than 119 years later, Stayer’s vision has expanded to Strayer University, a private, for-profit institute that offers multiple disciplines, including business still, at more than 90 additional locations, and his founding principle of attainable higher education continues to hold true. Given its flexibility, distance learning was a natural fit with this ethos, and in 1996, the school offered its first online course. Since then, Strayer’s online education offerings have grown to include multiple degrees and concentrations, making higher education achievable for working adults to finally finish that degree, or take courses that will provide them with practical, marketable job skills to advance their careers.
Strayer offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees based a strong curriculum for students interested in various fields of study, including accounting, business administration, education, criminal justice, health services administration, marketing, and, one of its most popular areas, information technology. Not all courses are offered at Strayer’s brick and mortar locations, but they are all available online and bear the same academic requirements as those offered in traditional classroom settings. Courses are aimed at advancing students’ careers and training them for jobs in marketable areas. So while there’s no philosophy or creative writing courses here, students can gain valuable skills that can be applied to competitive, growing fields.
More than 60,000 students attend one of Strayer’s more than 90 campuses, which are found in 25 states, or take courses online, making it the seventh largest degree-granting university in the U.S., according to the latest data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Strayer continues to grow, adding campuses every year at an astonishing rate. In five years, it’s nearly doubled the number of campus locations it offers, creating more opportunity for students to attend classes in person or online.
Strayer has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, one of the six regional accrediting bodies in the United States, since 1981, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Strayer ranks among the top online universities, according to the Online Education Database. It is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to accept international students, and as a member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, it participates in associate and bachelor’s degree programs for active duty military personnel. Indeed, as part of its military mission, Strayer offers military scholarships in addition to the military’s tuition assistance program and other education resources to offer 100% tuition coverage for undergraduate tuition and a majority of graduate tuition; participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, which covers all eligible tuition and fees for eligible veterans; and works to award credit based on previous educational credit, training or experience.
The Student Experience
The majority of students who attend Strayer work full-time jobs, so to provide them with the utmost flexibility, the university offers two online formats: synchronous and asynchronous.
In synchronous classes, students and instructors meet at the same time, much like a traditional classroom – students can even raise their hands and ask questions in real time while listening to live audio lectures. Students must log on at scheduled times and days to attend class, so this option can be beneficial for those who find that they learn best in a classroom atmosphere, but are simply unable to consistently make the physical commute to a campus.
For students unable to adhere to a set schedule, asynchronous classes are best, allowing students access to their coursework whenever and wherever they want. Recorded lectures and video presentations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and students take complete control of when they take on an assignment or review course notes. Not every online institution gives students the option of both types of classes, and makes Strayer stand out from the rest.
A working knowledge of a computer is, of course, crucial to the success of online students. Students who need assistance in computer literacy can obtain this training through online tutorials offered by Strayer. Additional online resources include the Learning Resources Center, which provides tools for research, including databases, e-books, and direct access to a librarian for reference questions, as well as free academic tutoring.
Teaching at Strayer
While no two professors are the same, Strayer faculty is comprised of instructors who are experienced both inside and outside the classroom, reaching advanced levels of education by attaining master’s or doctorate degrees or becoming successful professionals in their given field. Several even possess real-world backgrounds in both business and academia, providing valuable insight and connections into the field students are already in or about to enter.
Instructors are trained to facilitate a stimulating online learning environment, and classroom discussions focus on real-world work challenges, further engaging students with their chosen professional path. Stayer’s career services development also advises faculty to help them better understand the career-related needs of their students.
Strayer Graduates in the Real World
Graduates of the University’s online campus go on to pursue careers in a number of different fields in growing industries, depending on their academic degree, level of education, and experience. But for all students, there are several resources that their fingertips to help on that journey.
The Career Development Center provides both current students and alumni help with writing effective resumes and cover letters, improving interviewing skills, and perfecting the art of networking through resources that are available online, all the time. The career services’ “My Metro Area” feature further provides students with career services and job resources in their region, while career fairs and online job postings point students toward available, local opportunities in their fields.
Strayer’s Online Alumni Directory enables students to stay connected and network with their classmates long after graduation. The database consists of contact and job information on alumni, so graduates can get in touch with those in similar fields, and keep their own profiles up-to-date.
For a one-on-one connection, Stayer’s mentor program connects current students with alumni, so they can gain insight, encouragement and support in realizing their professional goals from a graduate in their field who also was once in their shoes. For those about to graduate, this can be a valuable way to prepare for the current work landscape, while for mentors, it can be a meaningful way to still stay connected to the Strayer community.