Accreditation and graduation rates are two ways to distinguish good online programs from the bad, experts say.
Avoid Online Degree Scams
Potential online learners often have a wide range of choices when it comes to select the best fit online degree program. But experts say they should consider some cautions in the process.
There are 10 certain factors for potential students to keep in mind when making the decision to apply for an online degree program, you should to ensure that they get what they pay for and that employers and other institutions will accept the degree from there or not.
Accreditation of online degree tells students and potential employers that is legit, federal authority has determined the online program or institution meets certain academic standards for the Accreditation.
Experts say, after doing some basic research, potential online learners should ensure the accreditor is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.
2. Reputation and Name
If an online program steals the same name of a prestigious institution and slightly same it, for example, the name like “Harvard Technological University”, he or she should consider deeper.
Experts say determining the wise program is part of a reputable academic brand will help to ensure that all employers consider the degree as legitimate,
3. Student Support
Experts say when it comes to student services such as tech support, libraries or career advisement, students should expect the same quality as they can receive on a physical campus.
Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, said that “Don’t go in with the expectation that you’re supposed to get less than because it’s online,”
4. Serious Level
Experts say that if a future online learner is told that he or she can earn a degree quickly and easily, for example, a simple resume review or a few book reports, this should be ared flag.
Karen Pedersen, then chief knowledge officer for the Online Learning Consortium said that a legitimate program or school usually require students earn a certain number of credits to graduate.
5. Graduation Rates
Experts say that statistics can tell potential students a lot about an online program or school, especially when you search results such as degrees conferred.
For example, low completion rates could be a signal that a program doesn’t offer good academic support. Experts suggest doing some research on graduation rates before applying.
6. Job Prospects
Experts say employment rates are another statistic to keep in mind for all potential students.
Low employment might be a weak signal for the lack of thereof, or suggest the institution is a diploma mill, it can confer out degrees that spend little weight with employers because of lack of accreditation or low quality academics.
Experts say, in many legitimate online programs, students pay tuition per credit or course.
Pedersen, with the OLC said that if a potential student comes a suspicious situation, such as a program asked for a lot of money upfront, he or she should consider deeper.
8. Credit Transfer Options
For almost online students, ensuring that credits transfer is necessary in case they decide to switch schools. If credits won’t transfer out because other colleges think the courses don’t meet their standards.
Potential students should also determine whether they can keep credits they already have or if they like to start from scratch before the previous education.
9. Financial Aid
If financial aid counselors pressure potential students to take out loans, particularly private loans, for the program, Anne Johnson, then director of the advocacy group Campus Progress, said, prospective students should be wary of them.
Potential students need to sure that financial aid counselors answer all their questions fully before they enroll.
10. Address and Campus
An expert says if potential online students are unable to see a campus or business address for a program or they can not find an email address, they may be right to be suspicious.
Susan Aldridge, president of Drexel UniversityOnline also recommend potential students checking whether the program has a traditional campus at all, which can help ensure that the school has a long history, and is reputable with a good brand.