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Online degree program
Old 08-18-2008, 12:38 PM   #1
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Online degree program

I know that several of our august members have pursued graduate level degrees through online programs offered by bricks & mortar universities, but I don't know if any have done undergraduate work through any of them.

Here's my situation: I went to college on and off in my 20s but never completed my degree. Three years ago, I started the Certifed Financial Planner program (online), graduating last year and passing the CFP exam on my second try. Now that I've done it, there remains one significant barrier to using my marks: obtaining a bachelor's, which is a requirement of the CFP board.

As I am working full time, I've started taking classes at the local 2 year college, and trying to cobble together my credits from four different institutions, hoping for the most credit possible for coursework already completed.

It would seem that my credits will "go farther" and the course schedule will be most amenable to my job hours if I go with Phoenix University (online) for a Finance degree. I have two local accredited colleges nearby as well, but their schedules will require daytime classes and I am limited to when classes are on offer.

Are there any negatives to the online programs such as the one I outlined? The local colleges are less expensive, but require more classes so I think the actual outlay is fairly close (and boss is 100% paying anyway). I am less concerned about the credibility of the program (since they are accredited) since I am *only* using it to obtain my CFP mark.

Any ideas or suggestions from you more leaned folk?
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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Sarah,

There is nothing wrong with getting your bachelor's degree via the online learning method, as long as you are convinced the college is a good one. University of Phoenix does have a good reputation and in some cities they have evening classes.

The fact is that the books and curriculum are the same as in other similarly accredited institutions.

Go for it!

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(MBA earned while working and attending evening and distance learning classes)
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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GO for it!

In my experience, the fact that you have earned a degree -especially when you get it later in life- demonstrates that you are committed to your career success, and are willing to apply yourself to make it happen.

Online degrees from accredited universities are becoming more and more common and more widely accepted. An online degree will never be the same as a four-year degree from a prestigious Ivy League University, but then again, neither will a degree from any of the hundreds of state colleges.

If your CFP program requires a Bachelors degree and will accept one from UPHX, then by all means do it. It is certainly the most convenient and cost effective way for your to reach your goal.

Good Luck.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:41 PM   #4
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Actually, a degree from Phoenix is not reputable. If you do some research, you will see that a bachelors degree from Phoenix University is pretty much worthless.

If you are simply using this as a tool to be able to use your CFP and don't care what your degree says, then fine. At least be aware of the Phoenix's reputation before you make a decision.
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Old 08-18-2008, 02:45 PM   #5
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I did check with the CFP board today and confirmed that Phoenix University is an accredited provider based on their accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. They are also included on the US Dept of Education list of approved schools for financial aid, which the CFB board mentioned during my call.

Thanks for the feedback thus far.
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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DH completed his degree with University of Phoenix ten years ago. It was expensive...fortunately Mega Corp paid all the tuition. At that time, this online school was certainly acceptable.

He enjoyed the classes. I really don't remember anything negative about his experience with them. It fit his schedule...that was the most important thing. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bigwonderfulwyoming View Post
...
Online degrees from accredited universities are becoming more and more common and more widely accepted. ...
I would guess all the online universities are "accredited" - by somebody. The question is: Accredited by whom?

Anybody know which accreditations might be the same as usually seen with brick & mortar schools?
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:08 PM   #8
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Here's a similar thread I started: MBA? What about online programs?

Granted, it was with regards to an MBA, but there was some good advice for this situation as well.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:34 PM   #9
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Sarah:

A few months back, did some research for my nephew who is self-motivated, but college-funds-lacking.

I found the ebook by Gary North, "AFFORDABLE ACCREDITED COLLEGES: An Unconventional Guide for Self-Funded Students" pretty helpful and passed it along to my nephew.

North talks about the quickest/cheapest path to get that *accredited* bachelor's. Many online options are discussed.

Free to boot:

http://www.garynorth.com/college--self-funded.pdf

Good luck!

- Stoop
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:02 PM   #10
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Sarah,
My background - Finance/Accounting in 3 major corps - Director/VP level before retiring.
You are about to invest a great deal of time and money in any degree program.
I would strongly suggest you speak with the people (HR and managers) in the companies you would be interested in working before making your decision.
------------
PS - When working; I and my staff did not even look at resumes with on line degrees.
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:11 PM   #11
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I've taken four on-line classes and am registering now for a fifth just for fun, although I do get credit for them; already have all the degrees I want. I find I work as hard or harder than when I take a regular in-class course. The good news about them is the same as the bad news: you get to see other students' work and it's usually pretty low quality; now I know I would hate to be a teacher. More students are likely to drop out of on-line courses so the class size dwindles quickly from about 60 down to maybe 10; again that's both good and bad. You get really good one-on-one with the instructor, the class I'm taking now is with an instructor I know from a previous brick and mortar class, I like her style. They require discussions just like we see on forums but most students don't say much, some say they feel intimitated, some are only 19 years old so I pick up the current lingo! I get inspired to do things outside the required class assignments and wind up reading interesting books. Of course, the on-line angle frees up a lot of time; last time I took a real world class, I would go out to dinner (extra expense) after work, hang out for a while and show up for class at about 6:25, get home around 9:45.

Sarah, what classes would you take on-line?
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Texarkandy View Post
I would guess all the online universities are "accredited" - by somebody. The question is: Accredited by whom?

Anybody know which accreditations might be the same as usually seen with brick & mortar schools?
Yes, the accreditations are the same. Both distance learning and brick and mortar schools will provide a list of their accreditations for comparison.

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Old 08-18-2008, 06:41 PM   #13
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Good Luck with whatever you choose !
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:21 PM   #14
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I would guess all the online universities are "accredited" - by somebody. The question is: Accredited by whom?

Anybody know which accreditations might be the same as usually seen with brick & mortar schools?
I researched this when we started requiring applicants to have at least two years of college from an accredited school, and later when I wanted to finish my bachelor's through a program that my union set up with several universities.

Basically, there are two kinds of accreditation. The kind that the traditional not-for-profit "real universities" (like Duke, UT, UCLA, etc.) have, and the kind that all the other schools get. The first kind, the one that everyone wants (or tries to pretend that their accreditation is just as good) are "regional" in nature and all the others are national.

The key is that the regionals are pretty much the all-encompassing accreditation agency for all schools in their region. For example, the public high school my youngest son attends, and the private college my older son attends, are both accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges or a subordinate entity that is a member of, and accredited by the SACS.

Everybody else is accredited by one or more different accreditation groups that may or may not be worth a darn.

With a degree or coursework from a regionally accredited school I can transfer to another program at another regionally accredited school without questions about the quality and sufficiency of the previous work. With a degree from a school accredited by a national accreditation authority - like the Council of American Tonsorial Schools (a made up group) I might have some problems. It is my guess that the bigger for-profit online colleges have tried and suceeded to get regional accreditation, but that's easy to check. Just Google "XYZ University accreditation" and see what you get. If they have regional accreditation (or accreditation by a subordinate element of a regional) they will be proudly proclaiming it on their website.

Individual programs or colleges in a university can be accredited also. For example, if you want to go on and get a masters or doctorate in a certain field, engineering for example, you might want to get your bachelor's degree at a school whose engineering program is accredited by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology.

I all but completed my bachelor's online from a regionally accredited university that had a real campus and had been issuing degrees for over a century. I stopped because I left work and my employer's reimbursement checks would no longer be forthcoming. The school recently sent me a letter begging for my money asking me to complete my degree, and I may do it just because I was so close (short three classes).

The quality of instruction was decent (but most of us had enough practical experience in the field that we could have written the textbooks or taught the courses) and most classes were taught by Doctorates or ABD's. The technology worked well and they used common programs like WebCT which is easy to use. Group assignments were easy to do because most of us worked together, or close enough that getting together was just a matter of scheduling a time. We did get one major break that our Union helped with. Non-degree specific classes (science, math or English) were not taught online and you had to make other arrangements at a different school. The Union got one of the community colleges to come teach those classes at the Union building so we got a friendly schedule and a convenient location.
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dex View Post
Sarah,
My background - Finance/Accounting in 3 major corps - Director/VP level before retiring.
You are about to invest a great deal of time and money in any degree program.
I would strongly suggest you speak with the people (HR and managers) in the companies you would be interested in working before making your decision.
------------
PS - When working; I and my staff did not even look at resumes with on line degrees.
All good info. I do not intend to spend any of my own money (see where I say boss pays 100%). I work in a small wealth consulting practice with two principals and have zero, and I mean zero interest in working in any place large enough for an HR department (see my post in the 40 hour workweek thread). Where I work overtime is non-existent and indeed frowned upon.

I intend to work long enough to save the money needed for us to FIRE, a max of 10 years. Boss has offered to make it possible for me to stay after that by making it where I work an opposite schedule from him, off a month or so at a time and returning for him to do the same.

The CFP was primarily for my own edification and confidence-building in managing our family investments, but it does offer a benefit to the practice to have another CFP on staff.

No offense to those corporate folks, but I wouldn't last five minutes in those jobs. I have what is kindly called a smart mouth.

Thanks, and it is good to know this stuff if I intended to go in that direction, Dex.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:02 PM   #16
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I have what is kindly called a smart mouth.
Can't tell....
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:02 PM   #17
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(from the website): University of Phoenix is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

The Associate of Arts in Business, Associate of Arts in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business, Master of Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, Master of Management, Doctor of Management and Doctor of Business Administration programs are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Their accreditation is accepted by the CFP Board. I do agree that it is very important to make sure that the accreditation is good for what you want to do, thus my spending 30 minutes on the phone with the CFP board today.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:04 PM   #18
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Can't tell....
yeah right. thanks for all y'all's ideas, and I'll check out that ebook and Marquette's thread on his MBA. I sure appreciate all the good advice and the looking out for me here!
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:15 PM   #19
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No offense to those corporate folks, but I wouldn't last five minutes in those jobs. I have what is kindly called a smart mouth.
Yet another data point proving we are related!
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:23 PM   #20
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No one ever gets a called a dumb mouth.
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