NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's online master's degree in early childhood education program has been ranked as one of the most affordable in the nation by, a website dedicated to helping students find a path to a rewarding, quality education.

"SFA has a reputation for an academically strong early childhood education program," said Dr. Elizabeth Vaughan, chair of SFA's Department of Elementary Education. "To also be recognized for affordability is an indicator of the value our students receive."

Site editors reviewed materials such as loan default rates, tuition, graduation rates and financial aid data to draw a distinction among the ranked programs. used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which offers insight into affordability, academic pedigree and online-learning programs.

SFA's Master of Education in early childhood online program takes 36 credit hours to complete, and the course content includes child development, curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment, leadership and research. Courses are taught in half-semester formats, and students may determine the pace at which they progress.

"This program is designed to meet the specific needs of individuals who work with children from birth through 8 years old and who want to become specialists in the field," Vaughan said. "The online format meets the needs of working professionals in child care, preschool, Head Start and public school settings."

Generally, it takes two years to complete the program. Approximately 100 students are enrolled each semester.

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