May 31, 2016

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Offers Accelerated Opportunity to Earn Course Credits Online

PHOTO CREDIT: Lorraine Dawkins, a VSU alumna who earned a Master in Public Administration degree in May 2016. (

VALDOSTA – In an effort to promote student engagement, success, and retention, Valdosta State University now offers students the opportunity to earn core course credits in accelerated, eight-week online sessions through SmartPath Core.

SmartPath Core offers a direct path to online core courses allowing students to complete their core coursework for a bachelor’s degree in a non-science major in as little as three semesters of enrollment. The program provides students with the opportunity to personalize their progression pace and set a clear map and path from the beginning to the end of their core requirements as they lay the foundation for a VSU online or on-campus degree program.

“The preferences, demands, and needs of our student population [are] changing and SmartPath Core is a direct response to these changing needs,” said Meg Giddings, director of the Office of Extended Learning. “Whether a student is looking to complete their entire core online, needs to strike a balance between family, professional, and academic commitments, or needs a hybrid schedule to allow time for work — whatever the situation — SmartPath Core offers solutions that work with the realities students face every day.”

All SmartPath Core classes are currently being offered on the fast-track, eight-week session schedule, which was selected in response to student feedback and assessments of learning outcomes. Throughout each session, students who seek to complete a full schedule of online classes through the SmartPath Core program can focus on two to three courses at a time, rather than attempting to balance four to five courses at once.

“For students who simply need to pick up a course or two, it provides a great solution to balancing your term loads to maximize their success,” said Giddings. “For students who are just beginning their college career, SmartPath Core provides a path to map their progress through Areas A-E of the curriculum for non-science majors. Students who are balancing their studies with families and careers can identify a path through their course requirements that fits with their schedule and life demands.”

SmartPath Core courses are available to all students who meet VSU’s admission requirements and have completed the necessary prerequisites for the online course credits they wish to earn.

The first eight-week phase of VSU’s Fall 2016 SmartPath Core program will begin in August with six course offerings. The first short session will conclude in October, followed by a second session from October to December. Registration is now open.

Prices are $250 per credit hour plus a $65 technology fee and a $295 institutional fee. Financial aid options are available. Qualified students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the admission application process.

Phase two will launch in Spring 2016, followed by phase three in Fall 2017. Each phase will include an additional five courses that will be available to VSU students online.

“All SmartPath Core courses are offered every semester and no student is turned away from the classes because a section is full,” said Giddings. “VSU offers an array of online baccalaureate degrees, and students who choose SmartPath Core can transition into one of the online majors to complete their degree with Valdosta State.”

Contact the Office of Extended Learning at (229) 245-6490 to learn more about online education opportunities available at VSU.

On the Web:

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Visit to learn more.