NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University, an institution with a long history of educating teachers, is partnering with education service provider Academic Partnerships to help Head Start teachers across the nation meet a congressional mandate to earn bachelor's degrees by September 2013. The need is crucial - of the 213,000 people Head Start employs, only 30 percent have a bachelor's degree.

The SFA School of Human Sciences is offering a Bachelor of Science tailored for the 150,000 Head Start personnel eligible to meet the 2013 deadline. The Bachelor Completion Program for Head Start Instructors focuses on child development and family living through a life-span, multi-contextual and family-systems approach.

"Head Start is important because it helps children prepare for success in school and life, and that makes helping to educate Head Start employees important," said Dr. Richard Berry, SFA provost and vice president for academic affairs. "For many in Head Start, juggling work and travel to a university would be nearly impossible. So, we're very happy that Academic Partnerships has helped us provide this convenient, effective alternative."

"We are thrilled about working with our newest higher education partner, Stephen F. Austin State University, to help it offer this unique and indispensable program to meet an urgent need," said Joe Lynch, executive vice president of New University Partners at Academic Partnerships. "Academic Partnerships' mission is to expand access to our partner universities' programs by helping them convert their traditional degree programs to online delivery and recruit qualified students."

SFA is located in East Texas, yet the degree program is accessible online to Head Start employees anywhere in the nation. No prior bachelor's degree is required, although participants must currently work in a Head Start facility as education coordinators, curriculum specialists or teachers. Credit is given for hours earned at the community college level.
This online degree option is compatible with the mission of the Head Start Program and is accredited through the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SFA faculty members design and teach all courses offered in the online Bachelor Completion Program for Head Start Instructors.

The online degree program comprises 120 hours, with course lengths of eight weeks for fall and spring and five weeks for the summer. Students pay as they go per online course. Total program cost is $11,784 for in-state students and $18,984 for out-of-state students. Six start dates will be offered throughout the year, beginning August 2011. For registration information about this and other SFA degree programs offered online, call (855) 573-6066.