Why GAAP Matters to You

Accredited Online Schools

Most have no idea what GAAP stands for, though they should if they are interested in an online education.  GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accrediting Principles.  This stamp of approval is very important as it serves to delineate between the haves and have-nots.

To offer recognized accreditation under GAAP, a school in the U.S. must receive accrediting by an accrediting agency recognized either by the U.S. Department of Education and/or by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.  There are six regional accrediting agencies and numerous national accrediting bodies.

So not only do you want to ensure your school is accredited vs. unaccredited, but you also want to make certain your school has been recognized under the Generally Accepted Accrediting Principles, which is granted when an approved accrediting agency gives its stamp of approval.

If you have questions regarding your schools accreditation credentials you can either contact the Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for more details.

Benefits of an Online Engineering Degree

Learn from Home

Online education degrees are becoming widely available in almost every subject and degree level. Online engineering degrees in particular are becoming very attractive to those looking to earn more. Engineering majors on average get the highest paying jobs after graduation. The average starting salary for a Mechanical Engineer is $58,648 and for a Chemical Engineering is $65,466, making Engineering one of the highest paying degrees in the US. While the salary for an engineer does vary base on the specialty, as mentioned, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual income for an engineer is between $68,730 to $108,020.

Popular Online Engineering Degrees

Today online engineering degrees can be found at many of the top online schools such as Strayer University and Kaplan University, and cover a variety of specialties. To note, Walden University offers a distance learning Ph.D. in Engineering Management. Walden’s program is one of the only distance-learning doctoral programs in this field. This specialization allows either practicing engineers who plan a move into management or engineers who are already managers to learn the social and behavioral aspects of management. Learn more…

Strayer University offers degrees in software engineering including an online MS degree and an online engineering certificate. The Executive Graduate Certificate program is designed for individuals seeking career opportunities in the Information Systems field specifically mid to senior level managers, professional and technical specialists. The online graduate program encompasses the knowledge and skills needed in professional software engineering. Interested persons should possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Learn more…

If you are interested in an online associate degree in engineering, Kaplan University offers an Engineering Drafting with CAD associate’s degree program online. This program is designed to help students grow professionally by providing you with education and experience. Learn more…

About Getting An Online Engineering Degree

Online degrees can be comparable in price to some campus schools, but in contrast, the online program makes it easier for those working full time to achieve higher education in the growing and profitable field of engineering. The additional savings on transportation, food and other expenses associated with attending a brick and mortar school like room and board, are also eliminated. This makes online learning a very affordable means of obtaining your higher education and career goals.

An online degree is a great option for some people, but not everyone. Before you begin an online degree program, make sure you are up to the challenges. Obtaining your degree in engineering online requires self-discipline and dedication, as there are no teachers or other students present to motivate you. If you do decide to further your education with online schooling for engineering, stay focused and motivated.

An online engineering degree is a great way to begin a new career, or further your current one, inexpensively. The online aspect allows for busy students to work according to their schedule, going to class when it is convenient, not when it is scheduled. Engineering degrees are highly marketable and an excellent way to boost your income and get into a great field.

Is there a shortage of financial aid? How to Afford a High Paying Degree

Many are touting that there is a shortage in financial aid ahead, and predicting that there will be few options for many students through 2012.  In a US News article by Kim Clark  she states that, “only about 50 percent of college students are expected to receive free money in 2011 and 2012.” So how can the other 50% afford a college degree?

Finding Free Money

The best strategy for obtaining, “finding” money for college is applying for financial aid and scholarships early, finding schools recruiting in your area, making top grades, saving and cutting expenses. Scholarships are the best source for “free money” and although it may be tough to find the right scholarship, we recommend searching on StudentScholarshipSearch.com to find one that will help you, and joining ScholarshipPoints.com which requires no essay or test scores to qualify*.  But before you go on the hunt for scholarships, there are money saving decisions you should consider from the start, such as: is the cost of the program worth it?

Find a Program That Works for YOU

Finding the right education program is the clearest path towards earning more, but it has to make sense.  The most important feature that should influence your enrollment decision is the program offered – not the price, but the reality is that if you are investing in an education program you should research if and when you will be able to pay back loans and college expenses after graduating. The numbers are out there, all you have to do is a bit of research to find the highest paying degrees and the starting salary in a variety of fields.

Thanks to online schools education options are expanding and more students have access to higher education. Current students fill credits on summer and winter breaks by taking an online class specific to their major, and others are opting for the 100% online route to save on cash and time.  It is no longer just the well known and established online programs at University of Phoenix, DeVry University or Cappella University, many established campus schools such as Boston University and Quinnipiac University offer successful online options too.  Learning online means learning at your own pace, online education, however, is not right for everyone.

Just like a traditional program, online colleges are no walk in the park! You have to commit time to learning and be self motivated, to make the grades, but when financial aid is not available this is a viable path towards successfully getting your degree and starting a career.  Online programs can range in costs, but offer additional savings in travel and parking and the ability to keep a current job. A benefit of working while earning your degree online is tuition reimbursement.  Many employers will compensate an employee for their education efforts by increasing pay, or through tuition assistance and reimbursement programs.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you are having trouble securing scholarships and financial aid in 2011 do not give up on ways to earn your degree. Ask your employer, get in touch with financial aid experts and scholarship foundations. Education is a very valuable asset that can help you achieve personal as well as professional goals.  If you are struggling with a financial situation and have tough financial aid question visit www.financialaidforum.com to find resources, and get answers from financial aid experts.

Reasons to consider an online bachelor’s degree

Many high school graduates cannot wait to head off to college and experience everything that goes with it. However, other students are less than charmed by the idea of living on a college campus, going to class every day and eating in a dining hall. Students who fall into this category should not dismiss the idea of a bachelor’s degree all together. They have the option to enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program.

There are many reasons to consider an online bachelor’s degree. Here are just a few of them:

  • It pays to earn your bachelor’s degree. People with bachelor’s degrees earn nearly thirty percent more than those with associate’s degrees and nearly fifty percent more than those with high school diplomas.
  • Online bachelor’s degrees are convenient. You do not have to commute to campus to take your online classes. You can complete your coursework from the comfort of your own home or anywhere there is Internet access.
  • You can hold down a full time job while pursuing your degree. Many students simply cannot afford to go to school full time. If you need to work while going to school and online degree makes it much easier.
  • The online bachelor’s degree options are endless. No matter what it is you want to study you will be able to find an online program that fits your needs.

ScholarshipPoints Bonus Code: BACHONLINE

Online Education, A Cheaters Paradise?

fem041-01Cheat cheat, never beat?

Online classes are perfect for working professionals and career beginners who want to complete or advance their education.  But are online students actually ”earning” their degree?  I’ve spoke to many undergrads who revealed to me how easy it would be to cheat on an exam, and countless others who openly admitted to cutting a few corners.

Online exams are usually timed to help combat cheating by expediting the decision making process for the student.  It is assumed that some foundation of knowledge would be required (i.e. completed assignments and reading) to score well on a timed examination.  But if the timer is set too long it can easily grant a student ample time to execute a dishonest agenda.  Additionally there are no safeguards in place to stop a student from having one of their friends, who happen to be knowledgeable on that particular subject matter, take the exam. Only a students personal code of ethics would stop them.  But the real question is why do people cheat?

I’ve heard many passionate arguments as to why students will cut those corners to make the grade.  Many rationalize their decision by saying, I’ll never need to know this information in the real world. Prime numbers, Andy Warhol, and conjugating verbs will have nothing to do with what my job consists of some day.  Others have told me they’re only taking the class because it’s a core requirement and that it really doesn’t matter much to them.  To be honest it is difficult for me to disagree.  I’ve worked for some of the biggest companies in the U.S. and have never been asked to solve for x, been quizzed about Andy Warhol’s artistic flare with a Campbell’s soup can, or been handed an essay and asked to conjugate the verbs.

Don’t get me wrong I do not endorse cheating, I simply understand the viewpoint behind why some people do.  But earning your degree in this fashion would be no different than going to a Degree Mill and purchasing a piece of paper saying you hold a BA in this or an MBA in that.  You will only be cheating yourself today, while setting yourself up for failure tomorrow.

Have you ever cheated on a test – either online or in a classroom?  Sound off!

ScholarshipPoints code: CHEATBEAT

Top 10 Online School Reviews

Students on computerGetting information through a school is okay, but what potential students really want to know is what other students think. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 online school school reviews from colleges ratings by you, the students.

  1. Western International University
    Overall Grade from Western International University Reviews: A 

    With 17 degree and certificate programs, Western International University Online has a high student referral rate and provides quality education to adults. Degree programs include business, health science, criminal justice, science & engineering, and technology. Students WIU an A+ for the quality of their overall academic experience saying “The majority of the instructors are really on the ball and very proactive with the students and helpful. My questions always get answered in a timely manner.”

    >>Learn more about Western International University

  2. University of Phoenix Online
    Overall Grade from University of Phoenix Reviews: A 

    On CollegeGrader.com 110 Students rated University of Phoenix-Online Campus (use Arizona in state drop-down to find the University Of Phoenix Online-Campus review), for an overall grade of: A. Of those students 87% said they would attend this school if they could start over. While Academics Overall received an A-, the students in this survey rated the Quality of Professors at a B+, 85% said faculty members are Friendly, and similarly 81% said faculty members are Helpful.

    >>Learn more about University of Phoenix

  3. American InterContinental University
    Overall Grade from American InterContinental University Reviews: A- 

    Founded in 1970, American InterContinental University offers a variety of associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees. Available programs include technology, business, media production, criminal justice, design, visual communication, among others. Students rated the faculty among the best aspects of AIU, saying “I have had some of the best professors and they teach the material in a way that is wast to understand but challenging at the same time”.

    >>Learn more about American InterContinental University

  4. Strayer University
    Overall Grade from Strayer University Reviews: A- 

    Strayer University online offers an array of Master’s degree programs such as Education, Health Services Administration, Accounting, Information Systems and Public Administration. The university also offers some bachelor and certificate programs. The academics at Strayer were given an A overall. Here is what one student had to say: “I am a single mom, that works full-time and is a full-time student. I seem to have found the perfect school that is geared towards working adults that want an education that will enhance their qualities and make them more marketable in the workforce.”

    >>Learn more about Strayer University

  5. Walden University
    Overall Grade from Walden University Reviews: A- 

    Like most online schools, Walden University offers a variety of programs, however they are one of only 12 online schools to offer a doctorate degree in education. Out of their 35 degree programs, 17 of these are in the education field- perfect for teachers wanting to get back to school! Students seemed to like the academic quality of Walden most, giving the school an A. One student said, “as an online institution, they are the best”.

    >>Learn more about Walden University

  6. Ashford University
    Overall Grade from Ashford University Reviews: B+ 

    With over 100 different degree programs to choose from, Ashford University provides many options for students looking to obtain a degree. The majority of the programs are for students looking to get their bachelor’s, though there are some Master’s programs as well. Students rated both the faculty and overall academics B+ and said such things as “this school offer everything I want in a online school”.

    >>Learn more about Ashford University

  7. Kaplan University
    Overall Grade from Kaplan University Reviews: B+ 

    Kaplan University Online has nearly 100 degree programs to chose from, ranging from certificate programs to master’s level. Some of the many degree programs include areas of study such as Arts and Sciences, Information Technology, Nursing, Concord Law, Health Sciences, Education, Criminal Justice, Business and Legal Studies. Students gave the university a good overall rating, with the standout rating being overall academics with an A-.

    >>Learn more about Kaplan University

  8. DeVry University
    Overall Grade from DeVry University Reviews: B 

    At DeVry University, the flexibility of online education is one of the biggest draws for new students. DeVry university offers a number of programs at the associate, bachelor and master’s levels. Programs include business, computing and technology, health sciences, education and humanities. The faculty were given an A- and over 75% of students said that teachers were friendly and helpful.

    >>Learn more about DeVry University

  9. Grand Canyon University
    Overall Grade from Grand Canyon University Reviews: B 

    As a regionally accredited school, Grand Canyon University offers courses in the arts, business, education, law, and health sciences. GCU is committed to preparing students to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders. Students have rated aspects of the college with faculty and academics both earning Bs.

    >>Learn more about Grand Canyon University

  10. Capella University
    Overall Grade from Capella University Reviews: B 

    Capella University‘s online degree programs include Certificates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs. Students can find programs in a number of fields including business, criminal justice, education, technology, and health sciences. While the overall rating is a B, the quality of the programs earned a B+ from students.
    >>Learn more about Capella University

Winter Break: A Time For Online Classes

Winter Break: A Time For Online ClassesFor college students Thanksgiving means that it is almost the end of the semester, finals are just days away, and winter break is so close you can taste it. Winter break is a time that every college student looks forward to because it is a month without dorm rooms, 3:00am fire alarms, and mystery meals in the cafeteria. But after the holidays race past you’re left with a lot of idle time.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a little bit of time away from campus with a comfy bed and home-cooked meals, but let’s face it; winter break can be kind of boring.

While you are at home on break why not enroll in an online class and get a head start on next semester? Over 75% of colleges and universities in the U.S. offer online programs. Even if your college is not one of these schools you can enroll in a class at another school and transfer the credits. Edvisors.com can help you find the right online class to fulfill your individual education needs. There are a countless number of online schools so getting into the exact class you need or want should not be an issue.

There are three key reasons to consider taking an online class over winter break.

Make up for missing credits: If you ever had to withdraw from a class during your college career you can take an online class to make up those credits. This will allow you to avoid having to take a course overload.

Take a basic prerequisite class:  Many colleges have English or math classes that everyone has to take regardless of major. You can use your winter break to get this basic class out of the way and concentrate more on your major or minor during the semester.

Larger variety of classes to choose from: If you are a criminal justice major and your school does not offer a class in criminal justice global issues, you may be able to take that class online and get credit towards your degree elsewhere. Chances are your school will not have all the classes you are looking for.

Now, I am sure you might have some concerns about giving up part of your winter break to take a class or two. Maybe you fear that you will not be able to sleep late every day or see your friends who go to school across the country. These should not be concerns at all. Online classes are extremely flexible so the work can be done when it is convenient for you. Whether you like to sleep until noon or stay out until 2:00am, you will have plenty of time to complete the course.

You might also worry that your school will not accept the credits for your class and that all of your hard work will be for not, but fear not. Online classes are now widely accepted by most colleges and universities, however, you should still check with your school’s registrar to make sure that the credits will transfer without issue.

The truth is that there is very little that should hold you back from taking an online course. Even if your family decides to take a two week ski vacation, as long as you have internet access, you will be able to complete an online class. After all of the holiday eggnog has been consumed, the presents have been opened and the New Year’s ball has dropped in Times Square what will you be doing? The answer is simple; if you are a savvy, forward-thinking student you will be taking an online class and getting ahead in your education.

S. Korean Colleges Aim to Prosper in Worldwide Online Education

By Jeffrey R. Young

Seoul

Photo of South Korean man - S. Korean Colleges Aim to Prosper in Worldwide Online EducationJi Kyu Hynn wanted to take a break from teaching his business class last week, so he signaled a producer to stop a camera. He stood up from a desk in a small studio here and opened a thick, soundproof door that seemed like a space-age airlock.

Mr. Hynn, a professor at Hanyang Cyber University here, said teaching for an online university takes some getting used to, and he’s still adjusting. For one thing, he rarely cracks jokes in his taped lectures, because such quips seem strange in the vacuum of the studio. And he steers clear of references to current events, since the lectures are reused for the next year or two, and such references can make the video lectures feel dated.

Like their professors, South Korea’s 17 online colleges are still adapting to the new realities of teaching at a distance. The country has invested heavily in the virtual universities in the past decade, and much of their facilities and software is state-of-the-art. But observers say some of the online ventures have struggled to find as many students as expected, because the country already has plenty of traditional universities and a culture that reveres face-to-face education.

So Hanyang has begun a new strategy: to look beyond its borders to attract more students from around the globe. The country exports flat-screen TVs and cars, so why not export high-tech education as well?

“Our market will be in Southeast Asia, maybe Africa, maybe the United States,” said Byung Tae Yoo, the university’s vice president. The university has even changed its motto, painted with a world map on a wall of Mr. Yoo’s office: “To the world, for the future.”

The institution already has 12,000 students and offers 15 degree programs, including a master’s degree in business. Tuition is about a third of the price of a traditional university here, and it primarily attracts working adults. So far only a few hundred foreign students are taking classes, most of them Koreans living abroad.

To attract more of a global audience, Hanyang will make some changes. First, it plans to deliver more of its courses in English rather than Korean, the language in which most are now taught. And faculty members are looking to deliver educational material to cellphones.

Hanyang isn’t the only Korean education project hoping to make a splash worldwide. Such ambitions were on display at last week’s “eLearning Week 2010″ conference and trade show here, which drew some 1,000 participants from elementary and secondary schools as well as higher education. The event, organized by four government agencies, drew a sizable number of foreign attendees. Conference sessions were held primarily in English and simultaneously translated into Korean and Chinese.

In a keynote speech, Haeseok Oh, special adviser to the South Korean president for technology issues, said the country is promoting its IT and software sectors as global players, in an effort he dubbed “smart Korea.” That blended with the conference theme of going beyond current learning technology to move to “smart learning.”

Exactly what “smart learning” means was a point of debate throughout the conference, but clearly the country hopes to cash in on it.

“Korea is planning and is trying to make a big inroad into making money off of e-learning,” said Ann K. Brooks, a professor of education at Texas State University who has spent 10 years working in Asia. “They’ve invested an enormous amount in hardware, and they’re really good at it.”

‘It’s Just a Struggle’

Can South Korea become a worldwide hub of “smart learning”? And can Hanyang Cyber University achieve its dream—which officials here state nonchalantly during interviews—of being the best online university in the world?

When I sat down with Se-Yeoung Chun, president of Korea Education & Research Information Service, to ask him about the biggest obstacle to those goals, he was quick to respond: the language barrier in foreign markets. Specifically, English.

“Korean people really hate English. It’s just a struggle. It’s like a demon, you know,” he said with a laugh, as two of his colleagues laughed nervously at his frankness. “We cannot escape from the demon. We must fight with the demon.”

Lately South Koreans have attacked the “demon” with technology, sometimes in ways that can seem over the top.

One example: The army of robots designed to teach English to schoolchildren. The South Korean government has committed almost $100-million to this project. I saw a demonstration earlier in the week, when I toured the Center for Intelligent Robotics, at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology.

They are clearly an engineering achievement. The roughly three-foot-tall robots can maneuver, recognize speech, and display facial gestures as they broadcast audio. But considering how nuanced and personal the best teaching is, the robots leave something to be desired.

Mr. Chun said many South Koreans try other high-tech approaches as well, signing up for teleconference learning with native English speakers in other countries.

The cyber universities have tried to tap into that market, too, offering “practical English” courses. They are making partnerships with foreign online universities, so that students in South Korea can try a course or two in English taught at an affiliate abroad.

Hanyang, for instance, formed a partnership two years ago with eCornell, which offers short online courses in several areas of business and management.

The first couple of hundred students in the program struggled to keep up with the English-language courses at Cornell University, and about half of them dropped out. But since then, Hanyang has worked harder to pick the right students and help them through, said Chris Proulx, chief executive of eCornell, in an e-mail interview. Last year 78 percent of the Hanyang students completed Cornell’s online courses.

Hanyang is in talks with the University of Queensland, in Australia, in an effort to add more such partnership, according to officials at the eLearning Week conference.

Getting the Word Out

But why would students elsewhere in the world turn to a South Korean university for an online course?

The pitch is that institutions in South Korea can offer the best technology and teaching designs, said Yeonwook Im, a professor of technology at Hanyang.

Campus studios here have all the latest teaching equipment, such as large-screen electronic whiteboards that cost about $10,000 each. Most of the courses consist primarily of slickly produced video lectures; the Web interface developed by the university allows students to quickly skip to each major topic of each lecture and includes interactive exercises and online discussion boards.

The teaching model here assumes that students can get to high-speed connections. In South Korea, where the broadband infrastructure is among the best in the world, that’s not a problem. But in developing counties, it’s already proving a challenge, said Ms. Im.

Another challenge is getting the word out to new markets. The initial plan is to reach out to Korean-born students who have migrated to other countries and who already know the Hanyang name. Like many of the online universities in South Korea, Hanyang Cyber is affiliated with a well-known college here, Hanyang University. Their facilities are side by side, and they have the same president, although technically the two institutions are separate, each with its own faculty and administration.

But talking with students at Hanyang University suggests that the cyber version may have its work cut out for it. Several said they would never consider going to an online college, because they felt they’d be distracted by the format and would need traditional classes.

In fact, one of Hanyang Cyber’s most successful strategies to keep students—most of whom are working adults—has been to increase the amount of nonvirtual activities, to help them feel more connected to the institution. The events include informal dinners with professors, optional lectures in a classroom on the campus, even a festival with sports events.

Chan Mo Joo, a senior at Hanyang University, expressed an attitude echoed by his classmates, and perhaps by online students as well. “I prefer to go to a normal school,” he said.

Originally published in: The Chronicle of Higher Education | International.

Online Application Deadlines

Shocked woman with hands on faceIf you are thinking about applying to an online university, there are some things you should know about the application process. Depending on the school, the process for applying can be a little different. Some online schools have “online terms” just as a traditional university would. This means you’ll have to pay attention to application deadlines and make sure you get all of the required paperwork in on time. However, other online schools have rolling admission, meaning you can apply at anytime. A school representative will contact you at each step of the online school admissions process to request the required documentation for your application to be approved.

Keep in mind when you are choosing an online degree program that schools may have varying start dates depending on which program you are enrolled in. Since some programs take longer to complete or have more requirements, terms or semesters may be changed to reflect this. If you are looking into a specific program, make sure you look into any term deadlines specified to your field or contact an admissions representative from your potential school.

To help you in your process, the following is a list of a few online schools and their enrollment information:

American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University has enrollment periods beginning once every month. This means, no matter when you want to begin your education, there will be plenty of opportunities to apply. For a list of program start dates, request more information from American Sentinel University.

University of Phoenix Online
The University of Phoenix Online offers continuous enrollment, so you don’t have to apply by any particular date. Your application will be processed when all of the sections are received. Start dates vary and are based on program or course of interest, modality, and campus location. Request information from the University of Phoenix Online.

Devry University
There is no deadline to apply to DeVry University. Prospective students have the opportunity to enroll six times per year with their 15 week semester format. Year-round classes mean you can earn an associate degree in just over one year, or a bachelor’s degree in as few as three years. Request information.

Upcoming semesters:
2011 Summer Semester: July 4, 2011 – October 23, 2011
2011 Fall Semester: October 24, 2011 - February 26, 2012

Contact the university for more detailed application information or to find the cost of online degrees.

Everest University Online
Everest University Online offers continuous enrollment so there are no deadlines. Terms are scheduled as a traditional university would, offering full semester courses rather than 4 week courses that are sometimes options at online schools. Request more information from Everest University Online.

Common Application Requirements

Before you apply, it’s a good idea to have your documents and information together. Though application processes and requirements vary by university, here is a general list of items you may be asked to supply:

  • Official transcripts
  • Completed online degree application
  • Any online degree admission tests
  • Applicable college transfer credits
  • An updated resume
  • Money for the application fee

And be prepared for an interview!

Applying to an online university can be a lot easier than applying to a traditional school. With the rolling admission option and numerous deadlines, the application process has been improved to provide a time-friendly enrollment, getting you “in the classroom” much sooner.

Before you enroll, make sure you know all of your options for financial aid for online degrees. Visit FafsaOnline to learn more about federal aid and how to apply.