Eastern Washington University’s (EWU) relationship with Academic Partnerships (AP) began in 2018, two years before the pandemic. EWU was one of the first schools in the United States to announce it was moving all its classes online in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our partnership with AP was crucial in our ability to make this transition quickly and effectively,” said Dr. David May, former interim president of EWU. “With AP’s help, EWU had already built a strong foundation of online expertise, instructional design, and know-how among our faculty and technology teams.”
Founded in 1882 as a teacher-training academy, the regional public university, which today serves more than 10,000 students across more than 150 areas of study, approached AP in 2018 seeking support in developing and growing new online degree programs. AP was excited about the opportunity to partner with a university whose core themes are access, opportunity, and excellence and whose graduates are 44% first-generation college students.
In the fall of 2018, after several months of planning and collaboration with AP, EWU launched its first accelerated online graduate degree programs, focused on education. The next year, online graduate business programs were added, followed later by a Master of Public Health and a numerous certificates in business, education and healthcare.
EWU’s online programs have been extremely successful thanks to their accessibility, quality, and affordability. Total cost for the full online M.Ed. degree is $14,700, and for the MBA degree it is $16,500. Many students are EWU alumni who work on the other side of the state and previously lived too far away to consider the university for their graduate work. But the convenience of an online degree changed that, and now many have returned to pursue their graduate degrees. Over the past five years, more than 5,000 students have enrolled in online programs at EWU, with an average third-term persistence rate of 83.5%.*
Throughout the partnership, AP has helped EWU strengthen program recruitment, adapt the university’s curriculum for online delivery, and provided faculty coaching on how to create personal connections with their virtual students.
* Academic Partnerships Enrollment Records. Third-term persistence rate is defined as the percentage of all students who are enrolled through the census date in their first term who are also enrolled through the census date in at least two subsequent terms.