Foundation ranks BC's online Criminal Justice program among the best

Bluefield College's online criminal justice program has been ranked among the top online criminal justice programs in the country by the Affordable Colleges Foundation, demonstrating, yet again, the value BC places on academic excellence.

A leading resource for online learning and college affordability information, the Affordable Colleges Foundation (ACF) was created in 2011 to provide quality data to prospective students pursuing an affordable higher education. Among the topics studied and evaluated by ACF: financial aid, college savings, opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities, and online learning resources. It's latest evaluation: the quality, affordability and flexibility of online criminal justice programs. And, out of the 495 colleges evaluated in the study, Bluefield College ranked 31st.

"We wanted to highlight schools that are driving innovative learning and meeting the demands of students," said Dan Schuessler, founder and CEO of the Affordable Colleges Foundation. "These schools are not only offering excellent criminal justice degree programs, but they are expanding their program excellence to the much-desired online environment."

The colleges included in the ACF's 2015 Best Online Criminal Justice Degrees, Schuessler added, offer students affordable, high-quality criminal justice degrees, combined with the flexibility of distance learning.

"We're humbled to receive another national recognition pertaining to the quality of our academic programs, this time related to our criminal justice program," said Dr. David Olive, president of Bluefield College. "I'm proud of our faculty and staff whose efforts have helped us develop a rigorous, yet affordable online option for students that helps them graduate on time and get good jobs."

The Affordable Colleges Foundation spent months collecting and analyzing data from government sources and hundreds of colleges and universities to identify the top online degree programs in various major fields. The criteria of the program was that the school must offer a bachelor's degree or higher, must be a public or private not-for-profit institution, and must offer at least one fully online bachelor's degree program. The schools were then scored using online tuition rates, the count of online bachelor's degrees available in the field, student-to-faculty ratio, six-year graduation rates, and job placement for graduates, among other scoring standards.

"This distinction is exciting news for our criminal justice program," said Dr. Kim Farmer, professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. "Given the number of schools under evaluation in this ranking, we feel optimistic regarding the future of our program. Providing an affordable academic foundation for criminal justice professionals serves as a primary goal for our online and traditional degree programs."

According to the Affordable Colleges Foundation, a growing number of colleges today are offering added criminal justice specializations online, from corrections and case management to homeland security, forensics, public administration and more. Flexibility, the ACF added, is one of the top reasons students are attracted to online criminal justice degrees and is one of the reasons Bluefield College ranked 31st on the national list.

"The schools on our list actively help aspiring criminal justice majors move their education and career forward," said Schuessler. "They give students the ability to balance work, family commitments, and education. That's invaluable."

Commitment to academic excellence, Bluefield College offers an online bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. The program is designed to provide a broad understanding of the socioeconomic and political frameworks of the criminal justice system. Specifically, students are introduced to the core principles of the justice system and its components, including corrections, law enforcement, and the courts. With its emphasis on Christianity, Bluefield College encourages the application of ethical principles and critical thinking in the field of criminal justice. In addition to courses on criminal justice, social deviance and criminal procedure, students can pursue internship opportunities with related agencies.

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