Coast to Coast
SLIS Student Body Growth Across the United States
Over the past five years, the enrollment in SLIS programs more than doubled with over 300 students attending as of the Fall 2020 semester. Surveys of incoming students indicate the asynchronous online delivery of the SLIS graduate programs better suits their needs as a majority of SLIS students work during their graduate education. Additionally, the online programs do not require students to relocate to the Baton Rouge area. In Fall 2020, SLIS expanded to offer three of its graduate programs through the LSU Online platform; specifically, the Graduate Certificate in Archival Studies (CARST), the Graduate Certificate in Records & Information Management (CRIM), and the MLIS focused on Archival Studies. The LSU Online programs offer courses in a term-based format, with two terms per traditional semester and use a flat rate for tuition and fees—thereby eliminating the out-of-state fee.
Historically a vast majority of SLIS students came from Louisiana. SLIS, always innovating, moved to an entirely online degree (what we refer to as SLIS Online) years before LSU created its own online platform, LSU Online. At the time, the SLIS student body expanded to include more out of state students. In particular, students from Arkansas, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia who could pay the in-state tuition rate as part of the Academic Common Market (ACM). During the Fall 2020 semester, 44% of students in the SLIS Online programs resided out of state. Of those, more than half came from the ACM states. The introduction of LSU Online vastly increased the number of out-of-state students attending SLIS (more than 83% out-of-state students). All combined, a significant majority of SLIS students (68%) now reside outside of Louisiana.
Surveys indicate SLIS students enjoy the geographical diversity of their classmates as it broadens the background experiences they draw on during class discussions. Likewise, SLIS students are engaged in more local, regional, and national professional organizations than ever—representing nearly the entire country. SLIS anticipates this geographical diversity to only increase in the future as it continues expanding its LSU Online offerings.