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UNK among nation’s best schools for online master’s programs in education

UNK’s online graduate programs allow teachers, administrators and other education professionals...
UNK’s online graduate programs allow teachers, administrators and other education professionals to further their careers through advanced training.(Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 2:03 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s reputation for training top-notch teachers and educational administrators is no secret.

Year after year, UNK receives recognition for the academic programs that allow these professionals to further their careers – and 2022 is no different.

UNK remains one of the best schools in the country for people pursuing an online master’s degree in education, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Released Tuesday, the publication’s annual “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs” list compares 337 public and private institutions of all sizes, with UNK landing in the top 12%.

In a seven-way tie for 34th place, UNK is the highest-ranked NCAA Division II school on the list. Only Creighton University, tied for eighth, ranks higher than UNK among Nebraska schools. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is also tied for 34th.

“This ranking is a reflection of the quality programs offered by the UNK College of Education and the commitment demonstrated by everyone who works here,” said Mark Reid, the college’s dean. “I am so proud of the faculty and staff who make this success happen every day and grateful for the administrative support that allows us to thrive.”

The U.S. News & World Report rankings include graduate programs where “the vast majority” of required coursework can be completed via distance learning. Programs were judged on five categories – engagement, student excellence, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies and expert opinion – with areas such as graduation and retention rates, class sizes, student indebtedness and support services factored.

In addition to the overall ranking, UNK is one of just 39 schools to earn a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans” list. Tied for 11th place with the University of Kansas, UNK is the only Nebraska school to receive this recognition.

To be eligible for the veterans-focused list, schools must rank in the top half of the “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs” rankings, be certified for the GI Bill and have at least 10 students with military backgrounds enrolled in these programs. They also must participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program or be a public institution that charges in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, for all veterans applying from out of state.

“Veterans and active-duty service members gain the most from distance education that is affordable, accessible and reputable,” Eric Brooks, principal data analyst for U.S. News & World Report, notes. “The 2022 Best Online Programs for Veterans rankings measure these factors in consideration of financial benefits available specifically to people with military experience.”

More than 1,000 students are active in online master’s degree programs in education through UNK. There are 29 degree options in areas such as art education, curriculum and instruction, educational administration, higher education student affairs, instructional technology, music education, physical education master teacher, PK-12 reading, Spanish education, special education and STEM education.

“UNK’s online graduate programs provide a service and academic opportunities to students who are unable to attend classes in person,” said Dean of Graduate Studies Mark Ellis. “Most UNK graduate students have full-time careers that prohibit them from being on campus. This is particularly true with students who are K-12 educators or active-duty military. The Office of Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach is proud to support these students and we look forward to continued success and recognition of our online graduate programs.”

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