Interim Dean Jorge Silva-Puras leads the School’s efforts to provide top-rated online degree, certificate, and workplace learning programs to working adults who seek to complete a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, or earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field. Previously, Silva-Puras served as provost at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he led the transformation to a remote teaching institution with a full conversion to the Canvas LMS, integrating Zoom, Panopto, and various AI/ML edtech tools.

Gothamist spoke with Dean Silva-Puras to find out more about CUNY SPS and what advice he has for potential students.

Q. CUNY SPS has focused on online and virtual learning for the last 15 years (before the pandemic), what’s the benefit of an online education?

Flexibility, affordability, and upskilling opportunities. There are many benefits to choosing an online bachelor's, master's, or certificate program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS). Our students have the flexibility to take classes at any time to work around their own schedules while earning an affordable, quality online degree or certificate.

Our low cost in-state tuition rate is available to all online students, regardless of where they live – including out of state. We’re committed to making your education attainable and affordable. Our low tuition rates and varied financial aid options, including state and federal support, scholarships, and grants, ensures you have every opportunity to complete your college degree.

Q. How do adult learners benefit from an online education at CUNY SPS?

You can take the courses at your own time around your schedule. The flexible and high-quality courses at low-cost help all students, especially those who may hold full time jobs or are raising a family.

Adults who are also interested in upskilling or professional development, can enroll in our certificate and advanced certificate programs. One example is the Advanced Certificate in Management. Employees representing many workplace sectors enroll to become better managers and to understand employee motivation, supervision, and the management of financial resources in organizations.

Q. For those who aren’t sure if online education is best for them, is there a trial course they can try?

We know that some prospective students may be unfamiliar with this learning format. So we developed Test Flight, a free, one-week online learning simulation. Test Flight introduces you to the experience of taking online classes and gives you the skills to ensure that you get the most out of your online degree program. As a participant of Test Flight, prospective students will be introduced to the online learning environment at CUNY SPS through readings, videos, infographics, audio messages, and an assignment, all of which will contribute to your success as an online learner.

Q. Can work experience transfer to class credits with your Credit for Prior Learning policy?

We also understand that knowledge gained outside the classroom is extremely valuable. As a result, we offer a number of Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) opportunities that make it possible for students to earn credit for their previous education, work experience, and learning outside the classroom.

For example:

  • Transfer Credit: Bachelor’s degree candidates are eligible to transfer up to 105 academic credits from previous educational institutions and from the options listed below.
  • Credit by Portfolio Evaluation: Prepare portfolios that reflect the knowledge and expertise that you have learned outside the classroom.
  • Credit by Examination: CUNY SPS recognizes several college-level examination programs that offer nationally recognized, subject-area examinations.
  • Credit for Non-Collegiate Learning: Hundreds of formal courses, professional certifications, and examinations that are taken outside of traditional degree programs have been evaluated for college credit.

Q. What are the most popular majors and programs?

Most popular majors by degrees at CUNY SPS are Nursing (34%), Business (16%), and Psychology (12%). The business program offers opportunities to complete both a bachelors and masters in about five years for full-time students.

Fun Facts: In U.S. News & World Report, CUNY SPS ranked the following:

  • #8 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the Nation
  • #6 in Best Online Bachelor’s Psychology Programs in the Nation
  • #6 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans in the Nation
  • The RN to BS in Nursing online degree program at CUNY SPS has been ranked #2 on the list of Top 25 Online RN to BSN Degrees for 2021 by the website TopRNtoBSN.com.

Q. What do you envision for a post-pandemic future in terms of education?

We’re seeing adults choose online education now more than ever. Students in the U.S. have learned how to take classes online, but there’s still room for improvement. At CUNY SPS, we've been doing this for the past 15+ years. Online learning is better because the flexibility allows those with work or family commitments to do it at the time that works best for them. We also see increased interest in CPL and opportunities to build community with classmates, faculty and employers.

Q. How does one apply to the school?

Visit our website: SPS.CUNY.EDU to get information on our bachelors, masters, or certificate degree programs.

Q. How much does it cost?

Full-Time Online Student (12 or more credits) - Fall and Spring Term only

Undergraduate Degree: $3,465.00

Graduate Degree/Advance Certificate:$5,545.00

Undergraduate Online Degree: $305 per credit

Graduate Online Degree/Advance Certificate: $470 per credit

Q. Do students receive financial assistance?

Yes. There are many financial aid options for students of all backgrounds. Our financial aid counselors work with students to combine federal and state funds, grants, loans, or veterans' benefits to help pay for their education.

Q. Because you’re online, can students outside of New York City enroll in classes?

Certainly. Our low In-state tuition is offered to all online students no matter if they're outside of the city, the state or the country.

Q. Social Mobility: Where are students going after CUNY SPS? Which career paths?

Most CUNY SPS graduates go on to pursue or continue careers in education, nursing, business administration and finance, civil engineering, consulting and non-profit businesses, human resources, and research. Many of them also start their own businesses.

Advanced certificate holders are often lawyers or professionals working in law, teachers, municipal workers, social workers and rehabilitation counselors.

Q. Do you and your family have any go-to NYC spots/activities that you’d recommend to Gothamist readers?

We enjoy going to Central Park.

To learn more about the CUNY School of Professional Studies and how to continue your own education, visit sps.cuny.edu and see what works for you.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between CUNY SPS and Gothamist staff.