WSU and Community Colleges Chosen for Distance Education Project

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University and an online consortium of 33
Washington community colleges have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to be
part of a national project to increase students’ access to distance education opportunities.
Distance education allows time-, place- or work-bound students to access college-level
courses through technology such as the Internet.
The Department of Education is waiving certain restrictions on federal funding in order to
test ways of expanding financial aid to distance education students. Now students receiving
financial aid will be able to access more educational institutions and will be able to use the
money to buy computers and modems.
The waivers will also facilitate collaboration between two- and four-year institutions,
allowing students to take courses from several institutions while receiving aid from their home
WSU has been a national leader in distance education since 1992 when the first Extended
Degree Program was created. EDP students may work to obtain a degree, broaden their personal
knowledge base and increase their employment options.
Since the program’s inception, the average age of participants in extended degree programs
has been 36. A majority of students have been women. Forty percent of degree-seeking students
are from rural Washington counties, and slightly more than one-fifth are from out of state.
WSU and the Community College Online Consortium will begin working with Department of
Education staff in the fall as part of the distance education demonstration program.