The most important thing we do at Troy University is serve students, and this service takes many forms. Troy University’s service includes our role as one of three centers of Alabama’s ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide) Distance Learning program—a program designed to provide high-quality, online classes for all Alabama public schools.
TROY is more than the home for ACCESS in south Alabama, however, as we were the inspiration for the program’s creation by then-Gov. Bob Riley. In 2004, Gov. Riley visited our Southeast Alabama (SEAL) Technology Network and TROY Online and realized if we could offer courses via the internet across 13 time zones worldwide, then Alabama could offer courses to its students statewide. On March 31, 2005 the formation of ACCESS was announced and the program was born.
Because of ACCESS, students from Alabama high schools—some of which don’t have the funding to offer classes their students need to graduate—are receiving online instruction from highly qualified, Alabama-certified teachers. ACCESS offers almost 100 courses—including 11 advanced placement courses—to ensure students receive Alabama high school diplomas. These AP ACCESS courses play a major role in the state of Alabama being ranked number one for Advanced Placement Progress and increased AP test scores. ACCESS also allows students in military families and others who transition between schools to earn or transfer credits with minimal interruption.
In 2006, TROY registered 1,274 half-credit enrollments through our ACCESS Support Center. In the 2013-2014 school year, the University registered 20.000 half-credit enrollments out of 36,000 statewide. Since that time, enrollments have grown each year, and TROY has remained the leader in enrollments throughout the state.
Since beginning our partnership with ACCESS, TROY has helped change the lives of thousands of students by removing the barriers of time and place from their instruction. By meeting this important need within the Alabama public school system, the Alabama high school graduation rate rose to 86 percent in the 2013-2014 school year. Because of ACCESS, Fox News called the state of Alabama a “trailblazer in distance learning.” I am proud that Troy University has led Alabama on this trail of distance education excellence.