Bluefield University in the News


by | Sep 9, 2011

More benefits and less cost with all majors now online in transformed degree completion program.

At a time when most folks are paying more for less, Bluefield College is asking less for more when it comes to its inSPIRE degree completion program.

In a move described as “revolutionary” and “courageous,” Bluefield College reduced its annual tuition and fees for degree completion students by 25 percent.

“Most colleges, private and public, are increasing tuition,” said Dr. Larry Sinsabaugh, associate vice president for BC’s inSPIRE program, “but Bluefield College is taking a courageous step in an act of faith to appeal to the cost conscious learners by reducing tuition.”

In today’s declining economic environment where competition for jobs is stiffer than ever, a college education makes candidates much more marketable to employers. But, gaining access to that higher education is becoming much more difficult in light of the rising cost of living and families’ falling disposable income.

“We want to ease the economic burden of adults who are trying to go back to college to complete their bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Robert Shippey, vice president for academic affairs. “This reduction in tuition puts us in a position to be a better value for students and helps them get that quality higher education they so deeply desire.”

Tuition for inSPIRE degree completion students at Bluefield College will now run $325 per credit hour, compared to $385 per credit hour this past spring. That’s a 16 percent reduction, but there’s more. In addition to paying less tuition, BC inSPIRE students will receive a free netbook computer and complimentary e-textbooks as part of the tuition package. Cutting those costs, tuition, and other typical fees means BC degree completion students will now pay 25 percent less for their bachelor’s degree.

“We didn’t just cut cost,” said Dr. Dale Henry, whom the college just hired as dean of online programs to transfer all the inSPIRE majors from the classroom to the online environment. “We improved value. Our degree completion programs are now more affordable and have better quality and service that will ensure our students have an excellent experience at Bluefield College.”

Students enrolled in BC’s 36 hour core curriculum before the tuition adjustment paid roughly $15,360 in annual tuition and fees, including books, said Dr. Henry. Now, he added, they’ll pay just $11,600 annually, which includes the netbook computer and e-books.

“Reports show the norm has been to raise tuition over the last two years between five and nine percent,” said Dr. Sinsabaugh, “but Bluefield College clearly stands out in front of the competition by reducing its tuition.”

Ranked among the Top 50 Baccalaureate Colleges in the South in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges,” Bluefield College launched its degree completion program on its campus in southwest Virginia in 1990. Designed to offer the working adult a convenient, flexible, accelerated, non-traditional way to finish their bachelor’s degree, the program included one degree offering at that time in management.

Today, the program, now called inSPIRE, is statewide with added regional hubs in Roanoke, Richmond, and Fredericksburg (Northern), Virginia. Nearly 4,000 students have graduated from inSPIRE, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the program now features a complete online format for its four baccalaureate degree offerings in management and leadership, public safety, human services, and nursing.

“Bluefield College’s vision is to be a nationally recognized Christ-centered liberal arts college, preparing innovative learners and transformational leaders to impact the world,” said Dr. Shippey. “Innovation and entrepreneurial vision are the beacons that will guide this college onward toward excellence and relevance in the 21st Century.”

In addition to being available online for added convenience, BC’s four inSPIRE majors feature continuous scheduling every two months, six times a year. Classes include guided reading assignments, video lectures, interaction with faculty and fellow students, research, reflective engagement, and systematic review.

“The college is providing an ever-present learning environment through asynchronous online learning,” added Dr. Shippey. “Students can learn at their own pace in a place and at a time that is best for them. It’s all about convenience and quality. This is not a diploma mill, but rather the opportunity for a first-rate online education taught by Christ-centered faculty at a very affordable price.”

Bluefield University

[email protected]276.326.4212

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


Meet our core Counseling faculty

Dr. Challen Mabry

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

Assistant Professor of Education & Counseling,
Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program,
Title IX Confidential Counselor

Our team is here for you! How can we help?

This form requires credentials in order to request information.