The RBA Program assumes that adults have different needs and goals than traditional undergraduates; time, space, and program requirements are designed to meet the special needs of the adult learner. The program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive general education without the requirement of a major (or minor). It is a flexible, yet structured program that provides incentive for the mature student to return to college studies. It also meets the needs of many adults who have had no previous college work.
There is considerable flexibility in how, when, and where course requirements are met: students may earn credit through regular courses; credit by exam; when available through TV and satellite courses, Internet-based courses, correspondence courses; and through writing portfolios. (See College Equivalent Credit section in this handbook).
The RBA Program was created by the West Virginia State Board of Regents in 1975. Although that Board no longer exists, the degree program continues in the 10 public college and universities in the state: Shepherd, West Virginia University, Bluefield, Concord, Glenville, WVIT, West Liberty, Fairmont, West Virginia State, and Marshall University. (Note: Marshall University and West Virginia University currently have RBA programs with an emphasis.)
More than 15,000 students have obtained RBA Degrees statewide since the program’s inception. Shepherd University alone has had more than 1,400 graduates. RBA students have full access to the many intellectual and creative resources of Shepherd University.