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10 Satellite Campuses With Impressive Reputations All Their Own

When we hear mentions of big-name schools, most of us automatically think of their flagship campuses in their states, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, South Carolina, etc. But often, these locales are just one piece of the puzzle. Branch campuses and satellites, whether a stone’s throw from the main campus or halfway around the world, can be quite accomplished in their own right, leveraging their smaller sizes and particular locations to offer college experiences the flagship can’t match. These 10 schools have developed big enough reputations to pull themselves out of their big brothers’ long shadows.

  1. Carnegie Mellon University, Silicon Valley:

    For a school that wants to grow its reputation of being a technology education leader, where better to set up shop than right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Over 2,600 miles from Pittsburgh, this CMU campus in Mountain View, California is surrounded by names like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The campus has made a name for itself in several areas, least surprisingly in tech research like that done in the Mobility Research Center and in helping foster over a dozen startups in 10 years. But the branch is also a noted social good practitioner, launching the Disaster Management Initiative to support new solutions for crisis management, and developing a tradition of fence painting to raise money and awareness for worthy causes.

  2. Penn State Erie, The Behrend College:

    Penn State has no less than 20 undergrad campuses scattered throughout Pennsylvania, all of which have their own accomplishments to hang their hat on. But to us, the Erie location impresses the most. Its beautiful 725-acre campus is second only to the main campus, as is its graduation rate. It is especially proud of its plastics training lab, which at 10,500 square feet and housing 10 multi-ton injection molding machines and other devices, is the biggest of its kind in the country. Behrend also holds its own in the athletic department, with 21 NCAA Division III titles across multiple sports to its name.

  3. University of Michigan-Flint:

    In recent years this satellite of the flagship campus in Ann Arbor has been the fastest-growing school in the state. Although once known as a commuter school, the Flint campus has grown into its academic reputation with enhanced student activities and housing options. The school has an excellent pedigree of turning out nurses through both its accelerated nursing and doctor of nursing programs, and with a new $900,000 grant from the federal government it will continue to do so. Thanks to the Student Veterans Resource Center, UM-Flint is also an inviting school for returning soldiers.

  4. The University of Texas Medical School at Houston:

    A branch of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, this campus in Houston is right in the heart of arguably the best medical sector in the world. Through affiliations with leading cancer center MD Anderson, Children’s Memorial Hermann, and other hospitals, the Houston campus is able to train young doctors in world-class clinical environments. The branch is regularly ranked highly for being a top med school for Hispanic students, as well as nursing, dental, and dermatology students. In fact, it’s the only medical school in the entire state with six colleges.

  5. Texas A&M University at Galveston:

    Mention anything remotely Aggie-related around a student or grad from here and you’re sure to hear a “Whoop!,” but TAMUG certainly has its own (salty) flavor not found in College Station. If you live in Texas and you want to have a career in marine biology, you wouldn’t think of going to school anywhere else. Perched right on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, TAMUG is home to the only maritime academy on the third coast. With 21 research programs operated out of the campus — from studying sea turtles to marine mammals and invertebrates — the sea is as integral a part of TAMUG as the Dixie Chicken is at the main campus.

  6. Tufts European Center:

    For those who want some education that bears the Tufts name but want to get it in a more exotic location than Boston, there’s the Tufts European Center in Talloires, France. Set in what was once a Benedictine priory 1,000 years ago, the Center serves as a summer study abroad destination for Tufts undergrads and alumni, adults, and even high school students. Students immerse themselves in the French culture by living with host families and taking small, informal classes that frequently feature excursions out of the classroom. They also have the opportunity to learn about the world at large while at the Center, as it is known for promoting international dialogue through events like the Talloires Symposium.

  7. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis:

    Every year since U.S. News & World Report began including an “Up-and-Comers” category in its college rankings in 2008, IUPUI has been climbing the charts, making it basically the college to watch. One of the “Programs to Look For” is service learning, which this campus excels at thanks to its Center for Service and Learning. Now in its 20th year, the center provides students, faculty, and staff opportunities to improve their community through the Office of Neighborhood Partnerships and professors learn how to engage students in volunteering through the Office of Service Learning.

  8. University of Pittsburgh at Bradford:

    The draw of UPB almost certainly isn’t the nightlife — tiny Bradford, Penn. claims just 8,700 residents. Students come for its reputation as a place they can get the quality of the Pittsburgh flagship without getting lost among nearly 30,000 other students. The Princeton Review has named Pitt-Bradford a “Best Value College” for 2012, in no small part thanks to the intimate nature of the school. Professors are considered students’ friends, going above and beyond to facilitate learning by extending office hours, giving out their private cell phone numbers, and more.

  9. Idaho State University-Meridian:

    ISU-Meridian is one of two branch campuses for this university, the other being in Twin Falls. But it’s here in northwest Idaho, just 10 miles west of Boise, that you’ll find The Core, an impressive innovation incubator in the vein of the Harvard Innovation Lab. Through it the school partners with local businesses, educators, and creators to foster new ideas in the realms of health, science, and tech. Public seminars and educational talks are commonplace occurrences here, from Health Science Experiment Night to free community health screenings. Being The Core’s anchor collegiate affiliate has helped it grow its reputation of being a driver of both economic and research development in the state.

  10. Colorado State University-Global Campus:

    The Fort Collins location is known for being eco-conscious, having lovely grounds, Rams football, and more. CSU-Global, on the other hand, has a campus of a completely different stripe: it’s digital. In its five years of existence, this 100% online university has become a leader in offering higher education for adult learners and others for whom a traditional campus is not in the cards. CSU-Global’s rep is one of working with students to make school life simpler; they do it by starting classes every four weeks and guaranteeing tuition will stay frozen as long as a student is enrolled.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University is a four-year, public research institution located in Flagstaff, Ariz. The university is best known for its main Flagstaff campus, but also offers classes at 34 satellite locations across the state. NAU has nationally-ranked graduate programs in education, history, nursing, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and biological sciences, according to U.S. News & World Report. The university was established in 1899, opening with only 23 students and one professor. From these small beginnings, NAU has grown into a major university with a fall 2011 enrollment of 25,364, including the Flagstaff campus, Yuma campus, community campuses, and online students.

Programs Offered

Northern Arizona University offers a wide variety of academic programs, including 80 undergraduate degree programs, 56 graduate degree programs, and more than 70 online degree programs, according to the NAU website. Some of the university’s best-known programs are offered through the College of Arts and Letters; College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences; and the W.A. Frank College of Business. In particular, NAU’s accelerated Master of Business Administration (MBA) program has been recognized in the Princeton Review‘s Best 300 Business Schools guide for 2011, and the business college as a whole is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB-International). NAU offers both master’s and bachelor’s programs fully online, some of which are bachelor’s degree completion programs designed for students who have already completed an associate degree at another college. Online classes provide much-needed flexibility to nontraditional students whose work and family commitments keep them from attending traditional classes on campus. Online classes may be synchronous, which requires students to log in at a certain time of day; asynchronous, which allows students to log in whenever they want; or hybrid, which requires a blend of online and on-campus work.


Northern Arizona University has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, since1930. Many individual programs at NAU also hold specialized accreditation, which prospective students can verify at College Navigator.


First-time freshmen will need to submit a completed application and $25 application fee, as well as their SAT and/or ACT scores if they wish to be considered for scholarships. Freshmen applicants who apply online may self-report, while paper applicants must have their official transcripts sent from their high school. The freshmen admissions deadline is July 13 for the fall semester, Nov. 1 for the spring semester, and May 1 for the summer semester, according to the NAU website. Automatic admission is given to students who have a minimum 3.0 GPA and have taken all the required college prep courses, while admission consideration will be given to students who have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have no more than one deficiency in any two areas of required college prep courses. Graduate admissions requirements vary by department, but in general, students must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, appropriate undergraduate preparation in their chosen major, and a minimum 3.0 GPA, although conditional admission may be granted for those who do not meet GPA requirements. Many graduate departments also require students to submit scores from an entrance exam, such as the GRE, GMAT, or MAT.


Arkansas State University-Beebe

Arkansas State University-Beebe is a two-year, public institution and one of four major campuses in the Arkansas State University System. Along with its main campus in Beebe, Ark., ASU-Beebe offers classes at satellite campuses in Searcy, Heber Springs, and Little Rock Air Force Base, where it serves both military and civilian personnel. Founded in 1927, ASU-Beebe is the oldest two-year institution in Arkansas, and joined the ASU System in 1955. While ASU-Beebe only offers associate degrees and certificate programs, a select number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees available through ASU-Jonesboro can be completed at the ASU-Beebe campus. Aside from offering high-quality traditional degree programs, including Arkansas’ only veterinary technician program, ASU-Beebe also offers online education, which has been available through the university since 1999.

Programs Offered

Arkansas State University-Beebe offers a wide variety of associate degrees, certificates of proficiency, and technical certificates. These programs are available in areas of business and agriculture, education and social science, English and fine arts, mathematics and science, computer aided drafting and design (CADD), computer systems and networking technology, and occupational technology. Notable programs include the veterinary technician program, pharmacy technician program, and the John Deere Ag Tech Program, which is the only one in the state and one of only 21 such programs in the nation. In addition, ASU-Beebe offers adult education programs to help students earn a GED. Students who need added flexibility in their studies may enroll in programs though ASU-Beebe’s online college, which delivers courses through the Blackboard and Web CT learning management systems. Students may complete degrees fully online, in an Internet-assisted format (for courses that have required labs), or with a combination of online and traditional classes.


Arkansas State University-Beebe has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, since 1971, according to College Navigator.


Arkansas State University-Beebe has an open admissions policy. First-time freshmen must submit a completed application, submit scores from a university-approved placement exam (such as the ACT or COMPASS), submit an official high school transcript or GED, and submit proof of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinations, according to the university website. Transfer students follow a similar process, only they must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, and may not need to submit a high school transcript if they have completed enough college hours. International applicants must submit a completed application, high school or college transcript translated into English, TOEFL scores, a formal letter promising that the student will pay all required tuition and fees, a bank statement, and proof of medical insurance, shot records, and TB skin test, according to the ASU-Beebe admissions website.


Arapahoe Community College

As the first community college in Denver, Arapahoe Community College was founded in 1965 with 550 students. Today, it provides more than 21,000 students a high-quality education through small class sizes, a community-centered environment, and a commitment to life-long learning. In addition to the main Littleton Campus, ACC has expanded to two other campuses — the Parker Campus, a satellite campus for those living in Douglas County communities, and the newly-opened Castle Rock Campus.

Programs Offered

At ACC, students can choose from 84 degree and certificate programs in areas such as accounting, math, criminal justice, automotive technology, mortuary science, engineering technologies, business administration, and more. Two-year associate programs result in the following degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of General Studies, and Associate of Applied Science. In addition, ACC’s Colorado Guaranteed Transfer Courses allow students to take courses that will transfer to any public, four-year institution in the state. This college also has options for nontraditional students, offering more than 300 online courses through ACConline, as well as community education courses and workforce training.


ACC has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has been a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1970. In addition, it has earned specialized accreditation from agencies like the American Board of Funeral Service Education, National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, and the American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, as verified by College Navigator.


ACC has an open door admissions policy, meaning all high school graduates and GED holders over the age of 17 are admitted. Applicants must complete an admission application and provide proof of high school graduation or GED. High school students can apply for concurrent enrollment, and 16 and under students must submit an underage instruction letter and underage parent consent.


Wichita State University

Wichita State University is a four-year public institution in Wichita, Kan., that was established in 1895 as Fairmount College, a small Christian institution associated with the Congregational Church. The name was changed to the Municipal University of Wichita in 1926, when the university became publicly owned. Wichita State University has a student population of 14,909 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. The university operates a satellite campus in Derby, Kan., a west campus, a downtown center, and the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

Programs Offered

Wichita State University offers academic programs through its College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, College of Health Professions, the Fairmont College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the W. Frank Barton School of Business. These six colleges offer majors in several areas, including accountancy, aerospace engineering, anthropology, communication, computer engineering, computer science, creative writing, criminal justice, dental hygiene, English, geology, management, medical laboratory sciences, music education, and philosophy. Wichita State offers pre-professional programs in chiropractic, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, and veterinary medicine. Wichita State offers online noncredit career training programs in health care, business, Internet, design, and technical, Networking and CompTIA certification, Microsoft certification, construction/automotive technology, and video game design and development.


The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Wichita State University since 1934.


Wichita State University requires prospective students to submit a completed application with a $30 application fee. Freshman residents of Kansas are required to submit an ACT composite score at or above 21, or a combined SAT score of 980, or a rank in the top one-third of the high school graduating class, or a 2.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale (2.5 for non-residents). Wichita State University accepts applications on a rolling deadline; SAT/ACT scores are required by August 1. According to the U.S. News, Wichita State University had an acceptance rate of 93.9% in 2011.


Flathead Valley Community College

Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) was founded in 1967 and is located in Kalispell, Mont. The school focuses on student success by offering expert faculty members and small class sizes. Typically, classes have a student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1 and students are never taught by teaching assistants. The college currently offers more than 200 courses that are designed to transfer to any four-year institution in the Montana University System and to schools across the nation. High school students can even take credits through the school as part of the Running Start Program. This program allows students the opportunity to jumpstart their education by earning college credits while still in high school, which will help them save money on tuition, as they’ll already have some college credits completed by the time they enroll in a two- or four-year university.

Programs Offered

Students who are interested in taking online classes from Flathead Valley Community College can begin by taking an online assessment. This will help them prepare for the online classroom environment. Three types of extended learning courses are available at Flathead Valley. Students can take their classes fully online, through Interactive Telecourses, or take a hybrid course. The interactive telecourses are delivered at a satellite location and involve students watching instructors teach class at their normal locations which are then presented over an interactive television network. All extended learning courses are required to meet the same standards offered by classes on campus. However, students will be more responsible for their own learning with distance courses because rather than having a set class time, they must log in and complete their course work according to their own schedules, while still keeping up with assignment and project deadlines. Students can take classes in accounting, medical support, business, computer applications, writing, and more at FVCC.


Flathead Valley Community College has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1970.


There is a six-part process for students seeking admission into Flathead Valley Community College. Students start the process by first applying to the college, which also requires the submission of their official high school transcripts or GED, or transcripts from any college or university that they have previously attended. Prospective students must have their official health records sent to the school as well. Then, they’ll have to complete placement tests, which will be used to determine certain class requirements or degree completion lengths. Once a student’s admission file has been completed, they will need to meet with an academic advisor. Finally, students will be able to register for their classes.

Union County College

Union County College was founded in 1933 and is located in Union County, N.J. The college is the first and oldest community college in New Jersey. The college offers an education to students that are career oriented and that plan on transferring to a larger institution at a later time. Today, four satellite locations operate in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield, and Scotch Plains. The college provides students a liberal arts foundation and continues to develop new programs and courses to meet the needs of students.

Programs Offered

UCC offers students more than 80 associate degree programs and certificate programs. Students of Union County College can take online courses in a variety of subjects. All online classes have a definite start and end date. Students are guided through their classes by faculty members and due dates for assignments and tests. Students enrolled in online classes will receive the same academic quality as students on campus. Prior to taking their first class, students are encouraged to take a tour of the online classroom in Angel Learning to acquaint themselves with all the amenities. All course materials, quizzes, assignments, and tests are available online.


Union County College has held accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1957.


Union County College applicants can apply for admission by submitting their application along with their high school transcript or equivalent. After students are accepted into the college they are encouraged to apply for financial aid and scholarships. All incoming students are also encouraged to take placement tests. These tests will help place applicants in the correct classes and award credit for any subjects they excel in. Prior to registering for classes, students have the option of meeting with a counselor for academic advising.

Rowan University

Located in Glassboro, N.J., Rowan University is as a public university that dates back to 1923. Through the years, the purpose and name of the school has changed. During the 1970s, the school developed into a multi- purpose learning facility and began adding programs in business, communications, and engineering. In 1992, Henry Rowan bestowed the highest financial gift on the school that any school had received at the time. After his contribution, his name was added to the school’s identity. Today, the university offers classes to students at a satellite location in Camden and online.

Programs Offered

Rowan University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students in business, engineering, nursing, education, and computer information technology. The high academic standards of the online programs have caught the attention of U.S. News and World Report. Recently, this publication ranked the university’s online programs highly in the categories of “Faculty Credentials and Training,” “Student Engagement and Assessment,” and “Student Services and Technology.” Students of Rowan University will learn through a classic liberal arts education that is enhanced by the latest technologies and involves students using hands-on experiences.


The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredited Rowan University in 1958.


Students that seek admission into a fall semester at Rowan, must apply by March 1. Students wishing to enter in the spring must apply by Nov. 1. Students will be notified about their admissions status by April 15 and Dec. 1, respectively. Rowan University looks for students that show a strong academic career. Undergraduate students will need to submit their high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores, class rank, letters of recommendation, and application. Graduate admissions will be based on the undergraduate performance and test scores.

Admissions Contact

Rowan University
Office of Admissions
201 Mullica Hill Road
Glassboro, New Jersey 08028

University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota is a public, four-year institution located in Vermillion, SD. It is a large university with approximately 10,000 students, according to College Navigator. The school boasts many well-respected programs the only medical school in South Dakota. Its medical school is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report for research and primary care. Several notable politicians, athletes, and public figures graduated from the University of South Dakota, including journalist and news anchor Tom Brokaw and Ernest O. Lawrence, the 1939 Nobel Prize winner for Physics.

Programs Offered

The University of South Dakota’s distance learning division is extensive, with online bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered across several disciplines. Students can choose from degrees in business, health sciences, education, and arts and sciences. Some associate degree programs are also available online. Hybrid learning programs for select degrees are available in partnership with some of USD’s satellite campuses around the state. Non-credit community education programs and customized professional learning and continuing education classes are also available online.


The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913.


To apply to the University of South Dakota, students must submit a $20 application fee along with their application. Official test scores and their high school transcript also must be sent directly to the school. Applicants should have at least a 2.6 GPA and a class rank in the top 50% of their high school class. The deadline for admission with scholarship consideration is January 13. Graduate admissions requirements and deadlines vary depending on the degree. Applicants should consult the program website for specific details about how to apply for the graduate program in their field of choice.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech, is one of the state’s premier public institutions. It was founded in 1872 in rural Blacksburg, Va. Currently more than 23,000 students attend the institute, which is considered one of the top public schools in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. Students can choose from more than 200 degrees, but the school is known for its strong science, technology, engineering, and professional programs. A Division I school, its sports teams are known as the Hokies, a throwback to when the school was known as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute.

Programs Offered

Virginia Technical Institute’s distance education roots go back to 1983 when it delivered degrees by satellite locations. The school launched its first online degree in 1997 and today offers 37 programs online. Students can earn graduate degrees, graduate or post baccalaureate certificates, or enroll in professional studies course series. Areas of study include aerospace engineering, agricultural and life sciences, information technology, ocean engineering, and political science. Courses are taught by the same instructors you’d find in the classrooms at Virginia Technical Institute, and online students receive the same education as the school’s on-campus students.


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It has held this distinction since 1923.


Application requirements will vary based on whether you’re a freshman, transfer student, or graduate applicant. Undergraduate applicants must submit an application, $60 application fee, official high school transcript, SAT or ACT test scores, a high school counselor supplemental form, and a mid-year high school report. Letters of recommendation are not required, although applicants can choose to submit one. Graduate school applicants must submit an application, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores, such as the TOEFL, GRE, or GMAT, if the department you’re applying to requirements them. There is also a $65 application fee.

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