QUEENSBURY -- Adirondack Community College will offer in the fall its first degree that can be earned entirely online.

The college is preparing to launch BusinessPass, a degree in business administration tailored for people who are unable to take courses on campus.

The program allows students the option of choosing any combination of online and on-campus courses to give them the flexibility to create a schedule of their preference.

"Online courses fit the needs of people who are not able to travel on campus during the day or during the evening, depending on their work schedule - their family schedule," said Mark Parfitt, director of marketing and community relations.

The college is offering the program as an affordable option over for-profit, online institutions, such as Kaplan University and the University of Phoenix, where the costs per credit are $371 and $445, respectively. ACC charges $142 per credit, according to the college.

Nicholas Buttino, chairman of ACC's business division, said people can use the degree to seek entry-level positions in middle management jobs. But it's also designed for students to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree.

The college has a partnership with Empire State College, which allows students to make a seamless transfer.

Parfitt said the college chose business administration for its first online degree because of its wide popularity among people seeking online education.

The business division is also ahead of other divisions as far as creating and starting an online program, Parfitt said.

Buttino said business administration is the most popular program in the division, which includes accounting, marketing and hospitality.

If successful, BusinessPass could prompt ACC to offer online degrees in other subjects.

The college offers many online courses. ACC students can also take online courses from other colleges and universities within the State University of New York system. But ACC has never offered a degree students could earn by taking every course over the Internet.

While students can enroll in BusinessPass in the summer, more of the required courses will be available in the fall.

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