Teaching & Learning

Access to Education

When Utah State University Extension student Kiersten Hewitt decided to go back to school after a 12-year break, she said the idea was a little intimidating. But as a student at USU's Brigham City Branch Campus, Hewitt quickly realized it would all be worth it as she joined a growing number of students returning to school, balancing a career and home life with academic pursuits.


USU is committed to helping students, like Hewitt, obtain accessible and affordable educations close to home. As Utah's land-grant institution, the university has 850 faculty who provided education during the past year to more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students at its distance education sites. The USU Distance Education Program offers 60 degree programs and certificates, including associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Students can attend Utah State classes at the three regional campuses, seven full-service centers and multiple education sites located in all of Utah's 29 counties. Courses are offered at 57 locations throughout Utah and are taught face to face, online and via interactive broadcast.

"USU changed my life, said Kiersten. The university offers a much broader range of services and flexibility in academic choice than any other university in the state because of its distance education program."

In spring 2006, Hewitt was named the top non-traditional student in the United States by the University Continuing Education Association. The award is based on academic achievement, as well as exemplary school and community involvement.

Hewitt graduated in spring 2006 with a bachelor's in psychology and a dual minor in sociology and family, consumer, and human development. And while she says it can be incredibly challenging to balance school, work and family, she feels it is all worth it and said that anyone contemplating going back to school should do it.

Kiersten is currently working on a master's degree.

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