Charter Oak State College: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

Updated About content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Charter Oak State College

New Britain, Connecticut


Charter Oak State College offers an external degree program and so, by definition, is a distance learning institution. Students earn their credits "externally" and transfer them into the College, or they can enroll in distance learning courses offered by Charter Oak.


The College offers a selection of distance learning courses; however, students are not required to take Charter Oak courses to earn a degree from the College. Some of the courses use videotapes and texts and some are online courses. The courses are facilitated by faculty mentors who are accessible by e-mail, telephone, and U.S. mail. Students purchase texts at a distance from a designated bookstore and rent videotapes from a mail-order service. A catalog of offerings is available each semester.


Charter Oak State College offers four degrees in general studies: Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Science. To earn an associate degree, a student must complete at least 60 credits; a bachelor's degree requires at least 120 credits.

A Charter Oak degree is more than an accumulation of the required number of credits. At least one half of the credits toward a degree must be earned in subjects traditionally included among the liberal arts and sciences: humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences. Achievement in these areas demonstrates breadth of learning. In addition, students pursuing a baccalaureate degree must complete a concentration, consisting of at least 36 credits, that demonstrates depth of learning.

A concentration plan, in conjunction with an essay, must be submitted to the faculty for approval. Concentrations may be constructed in many areas, including applied arts, art history, the behavioral sciences, business, child study, communication, computer science, engineering studies, fire service administration, public safety administration, organizational management and leadership, human services, individualized studies, languages, liberal studies, literature, music history, the natural sciences, religious studies, the social sciences, and technology studies.

Charter Oak State College was established in 1973 by the Connecticut Legislature to provide an alternate way for adults to earn a college degree. Recognized as the College that offers degrees without boundaries, Charter Oak awards associate and bachelor's degrees. Charter Oak is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is a Servicemembers Opportunity College.

Charter Oak's degree program was designed to be especially appealing to people who work full-time and have family and financial responsibilities as well. The program is designed for independent adult learners who have the capacity and motivation to pursue a degree program that provides flexibility in how, where, and when they can earn credits. The Charter Oak program assumes that its students possess a basic understanding of the elements of a degree program and that they will seek guidance as often as necessary to progress satisfactorily with their studies.

Students earn credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, including Charter Oak, and from noncollegiate sponsored instruction, standardized tests, special assessment, contract learning, and portfolio assessment.

One of the hallmarks of Charter Oak State College is its individualized professional advisement services. Each student is assigned to an academic counselor, who is a specialist in the student's chosen field of study. That counselor is accessible via telephone, fax, or e-mail and works closely with the student to develop a plan of study for completion of the degree program.


The College has evaluated a number of noncollegiate courses and programs for which it awards credit toward Charter Oak degree programs. Many health-care specialties from hospital-based programs are included, such as medical laboratory technician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, radiologic technologist, registered nurse, and respiratory therapist or technician. Other evaluations include the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential; the FAA Airman Certificate; Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut; Institute of Children's Literature in West Redding, Connecticut; the National Opticianry Competency Examination; the Contact Lens Registry Examination; and several fire certifications, including Fire Marshal, Deputy Fire Marshal, Fire Inspector, Fire Fighter III, Fire Officer I or II, and Fire Service Instructor I or II.


Students can transfer credits from other regionally accredited colleges and universities; age of credits is not a factor in their transferability. There is no limit to the number of credits that can be earned using standardized examinations, prior learning, including ACE-evaluated military credits, ACE and PONSI-evaluated noncollegiate learning, and portfolio assessment.


Full-time faculty members from public and independent institutions of higher education in Connecticut are appointed to serve as consulting examiners at Charter Oak.


Admission is open to any person 16 years or older, regardless of level of formal education, who is able to demonstrate college-level achievement. To be admitted, a student must have earned 9 college-level credits from acceptable sources of credit.


All students pay a $50 application fee. Connecticut residents pay a first-year student services fee of $635 for an associate degree or $925 for a bachelor's degree. Nonresidents pay a first-year matriculation fee of $895 for an associate degree or $1190 for a bachelor's degree. Active-duty service members and their spouses pay in-state resident's rates for all Charter Oak fees and services. All students pay a graduation fee of $165. Tuition for video-based courses is $145 per credit for Connecticut residents and $205 per credit for nonresidents; tuition for online courses is $145 per credit for Connecticut residents and $205 per credit for nonresidents. There is a $24 registration fee for all students.


Financial aid is available to Charter Oak students from several sources, including federal, state, and institutional grants and loans. All students who wish to apply for aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Charter Oak State College's Application for Financial Aid. The FAFSA may be completed online and can be accessed at Charter Oak's forms can be accessed online at The Charter Oak State College school code is 032343.


Admissions Office
Charter Oak State College
55 Paul Manafort Drive
New Britain, Connecticut 06053-1250
Telephone: 860-832-3800
Fax: 860-832-3999
Web site:


Charter Oak reviews applications on a rolling basis; students may matriculate anytime during the year.