FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What exactly is "Higher" or "post-secondary" Education?
- How do degrees differ from diplomas or certificates?
- Why should I consider advancing my education?
- Will a college degree really help me in achieving my career goals?
- What is "distance-learning"?
- What are the benefits of distance education?
- Which is better for me - an online degree program or a campus-based program?
- What should I look for in my selection process?
- What fields of study and degree programs are offered by the colleges and universities listed on this site?
- Do online college degree programs provide the same quality of education that is found in traditional college degree programs?
- How can I be sure that a university is credible, and that the degrees they offer are legitimately recognized? How do I know whether a distance degree program is reputable?
- What are the professors like?
- Do online universities accept transfer credits?
- How fast can I earn an online degree?
- Do I have to earn my degree in 2-3 years?
- Will I have to attend any classes in person?
- Do I need any special equipment or software in order to pursue an online degree?
- How much does it cost to earn an online degree?
- Is financial aid available?
- Do I need to have financial aid in place before I apply to an online university degree program?
- Is a degree from an online university given the same credibility by potential employers as a degree from a four-year college?
Still have questions? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to research it for you.
Higher education is education provided by universities, vocational universities, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and technical colleges, etc. and other collegial institutions that award academic degrees, such as career colleges. Post-secondary education is the non-compulsory (voluntary) educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education, such as a high school. Higher education is normally taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, as well as vocational education and training. Colleges and universities (such as the ones listed on this site) are the main institutions that provide post-secondary, which generally results in the receipt of certificates, diplomas, or academic degrees.
A degree is an award conferred by a college, university, or some other educational institution as official recognition for the successful completion of an academic or vocational course of study. A diploma program focuses on performance study and does not include any required academic coursework. A diploma program does not qualify a student for admission to either a Masters or Doctorate degree in the event that he or she wishes to continue on an education path beyond the Bachelor's level. In this case, we would recommend that you focus on obtaining a degree from an accredited college or university; it's a little harder and costlier to earn but the premium associated with it is generally much higher than a diploma. A diploma is the lowest level of 'higher education' (or university-level study). An advanced diploma is a half a step up from a diploma and on par with an associate degree, but one step down from a bachelor degree. Nonetheless, diplomas can be a fast and easy way to demonstrate some level of expertise within an area of study which should make you more attractive to potential employers and/or improve your earning power. In today's hyper-competitive job market, professionals are also actively pursuing continuing education and professional certification to put their careers on the fast track. In as little as eight weeks, you can earn a Certificate of Achievement in a high-demand professional discipline. This is one of the quickest ways to add value to your resume and advance your earning power.
There are many reasons one should consider postsecondary degrees. The most practical reason has to do with substantially increased income over your lifetime. In October 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report that put that value into dollars. College graduates made an average $51,554 in 2005, compared to $28,645 for adults with only a high school diploma - that equates to 80% higher income on average! Those with advanced college degrees beyond the Bachelor's made an average of $78,093. Multiply this added income value across a lifetime, and the premium to earnings is over $1 million. A college degree will not only help you maximize your earning potential, but it might also allow you to advance within your current field of work, or change careers altogether - there is a qualitative value placed on feeling challenged and inspired by one's work. People with college degrees generally enjoy a higher standard of living and it benefits our society as a whole. Once people empower themselves by taking control of their education and their future, they also tend to gain the self-respect, sense of accomplishment and confidence that comes with higher education. Earning degrees from accredited and reputable colleges & universities is not easy - it takes hard work, time and discipline - but study after study has shown a high rate of return for students from all ethnic & gender groups, and those from all family backgrounds. Basically, you can't go wrong by advancing your education.
We live in a capitalistic, competitive society - so the answer to this question is unmistakable: Yes, absolutely. Not only do employers put a higher value on candidates with college degrees, but many job descriptions require at least a Bachelor's degree. Such jobs would represent the majority of high-paying, in-demand positions available today. The U.S. Department of Labor released a study that showed among the 20 fastest growing occupations, a bachelor's or associate degree is the most significant source of postsecondary education for 12 of them. On the average, college graduates have far more successful careers, a higher standard of living and earn more money over the course of their lifetime than non-college graduates. Even though the data proves this positive reality for Americans with college degrees, it's hard to believe that only 28% of us (over the age of 25) have earned a Bachelor's degree of higher in this country. The Dept. of Labor Statistics says that 19 million jobs will be created between 2004 and 2014 due to the shifts in populations and changes in the demand for goods & services. There will be even more opportunity for college graduates in the future. The U.S. Census Bureau has illustrated that people with Bachelors degrees earn an average of 80% more income than non-college graduates. People with Masters degrees earn 170%+ more.
Distance education (also commonly referred to as distance learning, online education, or e-learning) is any educational program that allows students to earn a degree outside of a conventional, campus-based environment. Courses can be delivered in either a real-time format or a self-paced format, or in a combination of both. While real-time courses feature student-teacher interaction at prearranged times, self-paced courses allow students to determine their own schedules by accessing posted materials and completing assignments in a sequential format. Think about which course format best suits your needs and circumstances, as each instructional method has its own unique advantages. Make sure to ask the enrollment counselors about their school's particular virtual environment.
Earning a degree online can expand your opportunities for career advancement, allow you to earn higher salaries, and/or enable you to enter a new career field altogether. Adults who demand flexible study schedules since they are full-time employed or stay-at-home parents is one of the most attractive aspects of online/distance learning. Many busy adults are discovering that working toward a degree is not as difficult as it once seemed. Online degree programs make it possible for you to study at an accredited educational institution that may not otherwise be accessible to you due to regional, physical, or time constraints. These programs offer the convenience and flexibility of taking classes remotely, without visiting a campus. Distance programs most often use the Internet, email, and online discussion technologies to deliver course content and promote student-teacher interaction. For more detailed information, be sure to ask for a demonstration of the virtual environment at any of the schools for which you solicit more information.
This is really for you to decide. While we have discussed the benefits of an online degree program, particularly for working or time-constrained adults demanding flexibility, campus-based programs are also an option. Campuses for the colleges, universities and vocational programs we list on our site all cater to working professionals, as well. These schools have locations across the U.S. and are designed to provide the student with a real classroom learning experience, student-teacher interaction, peer-to-peer interaction and a staff of professionals there to service you, the student. Although you will experience a real campus feel, these campuses also offer non-traditional schedules, enabling their students to complete a degree in a more reasonable timeframe. Some people lack the self-discipline to really benefit from a self-paced online learning environment and might prefer the controlled order of a classroom environment. Either way, it's up to the student to do the work. These schools, online & campus-based, are designed with the working adult in mind. They create the opportunity, but it's up to you to earn the Degree. Some important questions to ask yourself: Do you learn better independently or interactively? How do you feel about learning through different media, such as the Internet? What level of student-teacher interaction do you prefer? What about peer-to-peer interaction? Would you rather study/learn at home or in a classroom? How much flexibility do you need in your schedule? Remember, many campus-based degree programs also offer a combination of at-school and online study.
There are over 1,000 online and campus-based degree programs in the US, which can
make it a seemingly daunting task to find the college and degree program that is
right for you. Our goal is to help make the selection process easier for you by
listing the best options on our site, and allow you to easily navigate to the schools
that have curriculum and degree programs that fit your interest and career goals.
We also only list accredited degree programs on our site, so you can seek more information
with confidence. When choosing an education program, you should consider the following:
course content, delivery media (virtual classroom or campus-based), cost, accreditation,
and student-teacher interaction. When you enter your information on our site for
any particular school, you will be contacted by one of their representatives or
enrollment counselors. Their goal is to answer any questions you have and provide
you with the information you need. Their time and the information they provide is
free, and you are under no obligation to go further. Should you decide that you
would like to pursue enrollment, then you will likely start an application (application
fees vary between $50 and $100 usually and are sometimes waived). Once approved,
the enrollment counselors will guide you through your financial aid options and
you can get started on obtaining that degree. E-learning and flexible campus-based
programs are a great way to further your education while keeping your day job. But
how do you separate the reputable programs from the digital diploma mills that profit
by giving you a worthless degree? Our site takes this critical question and answers
it for you: We ONLY list legitimate, accredited schools and degree programs on our
Accreditation is simply the approval or recognition of the school in the eyes of the Department of Education which assigns a classification to that college/university so that their students have the same access to the financial aid support provided by our federal government. Further, the school must meet the same standards as traditional institutions so you know you are getting a quality education. Accreditation is not easy to get: it takes years for schools to obtain and is a costly process, but it is imperative that you make this an important consideration before selecting a school. Fortunately, we have done most of the homework on this topic for you. You can also search the Department of Education's list at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.asp.
Once you have established legitimacy in terms of accreditation, here are some other considerations when choosing a university or degree program:
What are the technological requirements? The colleges and universities we list take great efforts to make the technical aspects of going to class online easy enough that anyone who has browsed the Internet can do it. We encourage you to check with the individual school's equipment recommendations when an enrollment counselor contacts you. Obviously, a high-speed Internet connection is likely to make the whole experience more efficient for you, but usually dial-up connections will suffice if that's your only access to the Internet. Also, find out what level of tech support they provide. These are all good questions to ask so that you feel prepared before starting the course work.
Ask what it's like taking a class. Some schools offer non-scheduled classes. In other words, the professors set deadlines for assignments and tests, and you do the necessary work on your own schedule - day or night - as long as you get them in when they are due. The other style of online learning revolves around set schedules where students and professors log into the websites at regularly preset times for online chats about the subject matter. Both of these styles differ noticeably from going to an actual classroom, but due to advances in technology, online learning can be ever bit as engaging as you choose to make it. It's really all about your preferences.
Ask about student services they provide. What types of career advising and job-placement do they offer? Such added services could be very useful to you in turn that degree into a money making vehicle.
Lastly, ask about tuition costs and any other related expenses. Discuss your options with the enrollment counselors in terms of financial aid and grants available to you, if your current employed has a tuition-reimbursement program as part of your HR benefits, what's the interest-rate on loans and when are your required to pay it back. We discuss this more in the FAQ, but you should clearly understand these costs. The good news is that it's an investment that will almost certainly pay off for you in the long run.
What fields of study and degree programs are offered by the colleges and universities listed on this site?
The colleges, universities, and vocational schools we list on our site offer a wide
range of courses and degrees across many disciplines. Just about every career field
you could imagine has some corresponding field of study offered herein, and designed
to help you get the job you want. All possible Degree Levels are represented: Associate's,
Bachelor's, Masters and Doctorate degrees. In addition, we list numerous Certificate
programs. In terms of areas of study, we have tried to represent the "best
of breed" in the widest possible breadth and scope of offerings, so everyone
can find an accredited school offering degree programs right for them. Obviously,
Business degrees are one of the most practical and popular. There are also degree
programs in fields that are showing high-growth within their respective job markets:
Healthcare, Education, and Technology. Criminal Justice has seen an increase in
popularity, as has Visual Communications & Graphical Design. You can even get
your Law Degree or Paralegal degree online. If there is an area of study not listed
on this site, please contact us and we'd be happy
to do some more research for you.
Do online college degree programs provide the same quality of education that is found in traditional college degree programs?
All evidence seems to indicate that the answer is "Yes", and many studies have been conducted that suggest the same. In terms of educational quality, most accredited online universities offer courses and degree programs that are equal to those offered by four-year universities and colleges. In order to get accredited, colleges and universities must meet the same rigorous standards set by the Department of Education as their traditional counterparts. Studies show that for most students, distance learning is just as effective as traditional in-class learning. Many students have said that taking a course online is actually more challenging than by traditional methods. It certainly requires more self-discipline, but you are also getting the flexibility to accomplish the work load in your own time. Further, the types of degree programs offered by the career-focused colleges and universities we list on our site really construct their curriculum from a practical application of the coursework as it relates to real-world jobs in which the subject matter is applied. At the end of the day, you get out of your education what you put into it!
How can I be sure that a university is credible, and that the degrees they offer are legitimately recognized? How do I know whether a distance degree program is reputable?
Not all online or campus-based degree programs are created equal. You want to focus on accredited colleges and universities to ensure that your degree is meaningful once you start flaunting it in the job market. Ultimately, accreditation means that the college or university is recognized and accepted by the Department of Education. Fortunately, we have taken out a lot of the guesswork by only listing recognized, reputable and accredited schools on our site so you have peace of mind. On each form page (where you submit your information to be contacted) we provide a link describing the accreditation of that particular school. Furthermore, the schools we list have been educating millions of students for decades. These are NOT "degree mills", but reputable institutions offering fully legitimate degrees accepted in the job market. In order that you feel comfortable and confident, we encourage you to ask the enrollment counselors the following questions: Can they provide testimonials from current students or those that have graduated from your program of interest? This might help you ascertain their impression in terms of the usefulness of the course work and how they are being prepared for the next step in their career. Ask about the job-placement success the school has had with their graduates, too.
In most online universities, faculty members are required to have Masters and/or Doctorate degrees in order to teach courses. Online universities typically put their faculty through training programs in online instruction before they begin to teach courses online. Many times, the online instructor is teaching a course that they have personally developed or assisted in developing. Often, online university instructors are recognized experts in their field. They may be successful CEOs, CFOs, managers, supervisors, business owners, and other professionals who can bring their "real world" expertise and experience to the online classroom for the benefit of the students.
Most online universities will accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions recognized by the Department of Education. These credits should apply to your degree program of choice in order to be transferable. Again, ask the enrollment counselor when contacted by the school of your interest.
This depends on you and the college you select. The time needed to complete a degree varies among the universities and degree level, but as a general rule, an online degree can be earned much more quickly compared to those sought from traditional colleges. Traditional college students typically take four years to earn their bachelors degree, but online university students can complete the same degree in an average of 2-3 years. It’s basically up to you to set your own pace. Online degree programs allow the students to take one course at a time, so you can receive assignments and complete the work faster. Therefore, you can complete your degrees faster by moving through the course requirements at a quicker pace. Compared to traditional colleges, online universities typically allow their students to take more credits per year. Also, online university students can earn their degrees even faster by transferring in credits from previous college coursework, professional training, or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
No – you can take as long or as little time you need to complete your degree. Again, the pace is set by you so you can work around the demands of your own busy schedule. One of the greatest conveniences of online learning is that you can work according to your own schedule. You can take as much time as you need to complete your degree. Some students take as long as five years to complete a degree program.
It depends on which college or university interests you. Some offer both online and campus-based learning; and some offer a combination of both. For most online course work, your entire class is executed and completed within the virtual classroom and there is no need to attend any physical class. There are many schools with dozens of campuses populated throughout the country and conveniently located in or near large cities for you to attend. It’s really up to your own preferences. Just be sure to ask the enrollment counselor when contacted
In general, all you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a phone to consult with your instructor if necessary. If any other software is required, typically you will download it off the university's web site before you begin your online classes. You may also want word-document and spreadsheet software for your own convenience.
Tuition and fees for distance education programs can vary widely, depending on the school, program, degree, and your state of residence. Online programs typically base tuition costs on the number of classes (or credits) you take at any point in time, rather than charging you for a full semester of classes up front. This alone can substantially minimize your financial burden.
Most of the financial aid options available to students of traditional universities are also available to students of online universities.
No, you don't. There are financial aid referral programs for incoming students, and the advisors and counselors will guide you to the resources you need to finance your continuing education. There are many options available to qualifying students.
Is a degree from an online university given the same credibility by potential employers as a degree from a four-year college?
Most employers now consider a degree from an accredited online university with the same credibility that they give to four-year college degrees. Any bias that once existed is rapidly disappearing now that more than 10% of all degree-seeking students are enrolled in this capacity. To a prospective employer, what matters is that you have shown the determination and responsibility required in obtaining a post-secondary degree.