Archive for May, 2009

Why people say they won’t attend online Universities, and why they are wrong

As a professional attending an Online University I have heard many reasons why such programs are bad. There are many reasons I chose to go to school online. But this paper is not about that. Rather I am more interested in replying to the most common reasons people give for not going to online school.

“Online schools are not accredited.” This is perhaps the most common reason I hear for people not choosing online education.   This statement is not (completely) true. Just as with brick and mortar schools, online schools must go through an accreditation process. There are many brick and mortar schools I have seen over the years which do not hold accreditation. The same is true for online schools. I have found online schools that trick people into thinking they are accredited, but are not. I would advise anyone thinking of attending any university (physical or virtual) to check the accreditation of that school.

I would also suggest anyone looking to attend school to determine if they even care about accreditation. If someone is simply looking to update critical skills required by their job then a University education may not be the best route.  Trade schools may offer a better offering for much less money.

In my particular case I wanted to beef up my resume for future management positions. Accreditation is very important to me because I plan to attain a CIO position. Going down this path I also plan to complete a doctorate. This path can be started using online schools, but may have some physical class requirements.

The second main reason I hear for people not attending online universities is the cost. I can attest to the fact the tuition I pay for my online schooling is much higher than that for comparable local brick and mortar Universities. If money is your only concern then I would avoid online Universities. The cost per credit hour seems almost savage at times.

Having said that I feel the extra money I am paying for going to online school is worth it. I have a full-time job, business on the side, wife, kids, etc… When looking at brick and mortar options I could not find a University with a schedule that met mine. By going to school online I have the power to attend class and do homework when I have some available time. I just have to insure my weekly deadlines are met. This flexibility alone is worth the increase in tuition.

“My friend XXX said that he got scammed by an online university.” If you search the internet you will find a lot of people complaining about this. There are a variety of reasons for this that goes well beyond the scope of this paper. However, I have found most of the people to be scammed by online schools really didn’t understand how the education system and business world works.

Usually these “scams” revolve around financial aid not covering the whole tuition. The student must then cover the remainder, usually around $4,000. The person is then complaining of scam because the online university will not release the diploma or transcript until the balance has been paid.  This type of situation happens with brick and mortar Universities all the time; however it only seems to get attention brought to it when online Universities are involved.  

My best advice here is to read and understand all the paperwork being signed when enrolling at a University. I would also suggest asking questions, especially to the financial aid department. If you do find that more money than expected will need to be paid out of pocket then work with the University. I personally had to setup a payment plan different than the one financial aid setup for me. When I showed my financial situation and what I could do, they were more than happy to work with me.

The people who simply say “Well I’m not paying that” are just sticking their heads in sand. Ignoring money due to Universities will prevent access to the very paperwork you need to verify your education. It makes little sense to spend so much money on an education and lose access to proof because you don’t agree with how things went.

Choosing whether to attend a brick and mortar or virtual University is a personal decision each of us must make. Personally I wish I could attend physical classes, but cannot due to a busy life. Each person should do their own research as to what is or isn’t true about online Universities. I believe this paper has dispelled a few of the most common reasons I have been given for why online Universities are bad.

Categories: Education