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I've been having the discussion about "level of classes to take" with several of my friends. I certainly think the University of Phoenix types of schools offer great alternatives for some! They are fairly inexpensive, they teach the basic skills, and you now have a degree to go lobby for a raise. If you are lacking skills in some basic areas - for example you are not very good with finances - their courses can help you get on the right path.

It all depends on where you are in life, and what specifically you want to learn. And also, what your next step is going to be. If you are currently a supervisor in a company and want to become manager, going to U of Phoenix might be perfect. But say you are an accounting person and want to become a $100,000 a year web designer because it's always been your dream in life. You might do better to go to a school which specializes in that. It would cost more to begin with, but the teachers and classes could be much better for you, and get you towards your goal.


Lisa Shea, Low Carb and Video Games Editor
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Sorry to be a bit stubborn on this point, but misinformation abounds. Comparative example:MBA Murray State University (KY, AACSB accredited-highest biz accreditation) Estimated total degree cost: $13,868 Wayne State University (NE, regionally accredited) Estimated total degree cost: $6750 University of Phoenix (everywhere, regionally accredited) Estimated total degree cost: $24,840-37,760 depending on the options you choose. In a BEST CASE SCENARIO, Phoenix nearly twice as much as a BETTER ACCREDITED MBA program, and nearly four times as much as a similarly accredited program. My point is, no, it doesn't depend where you are in life. It only depends on whether you value your time, money and reputation more than you value making money for the Phoenixes of the world. Do the research, pay less, get more, and ask for a bigger raise and a quicker promotion to go with the better reputed degree you earned and the hard work that got you there!

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I'm confused, isn't a selling point of the University of Phoenix that you can attend in person if you want? Does Murray state really offer that?


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Actually, live2learn, price and reputation are not the only factors to take into consideration. I'm currently working on a graduate certificate in Software Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. (I'll probably go on and get a Masters when I finish at the end of this year.) My original goal was to get a graduate certificate in a computer science related field because not having a CS degree is staring to hurt me in the workforce (when I went into the field, having a BS in any subject was a bonus, now a CS degree is a requirement for the majority of employers.) I looked at a number of programs that would allow me to meet that goal strictly via distance learning. I found some better known and significantly cheaper schools (one was literally half the price) that would have allowed me to meet that goal. I choose Stevens because 100% of what I would be learning in my classes would be useful to me in my day to day work and none of it would be review of things I had learned informally. It was worth it to me to pay significantly more for that and my classes are absolutely fascinating!

As for your MBA example - here in Oregon, no one has heard of the "better", cheaper schools you are mentioning (except maybe for sports.) On the other hand, because University of Phoenix has so many alumni, the chance of there being an alum at any company you apply to is going to be fairly high and that is likely to be an advantage. Also, as I understand it, for MBA's, generally either you went to a top tier school or you didn't, so 'better' isn't particularly meaningful except when it is better for you.

I do know that as a distance learning student at a school far away, there are a number of opportunities you miss. I can't make it to the grad student networking events or check out books from the library (I do have access to all the online resources, but if something is only available as a physical book, I have to hope my public library has it or wait to get it via ILL.) Career services are difficult to use as a distance learning student as well. Also, being in a different timezone campus sometimes presents problems as well. Presumably, University of Phoenix students have the opportunity to actually go to a campus for those services that work better in person. I can see that as being worth quite a bit to some people.

Also, presumably the "better" schools are more selective and not everyone who can put any given degree to good use can get in to them.

I don't have any first hand experience with the University of Phoenix, but they are good enough to qualify for regional accreditation which puts them on a level playing field with all other accredited universities (and a few new ones that are in the accreditation process and likely to succeed.) I do agree with you that you should do your research and know what you are getting in to.

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As relates to Julie's post, I do want to say that the networking / alumni aspect is very important to me. I don't need my degree for "business" reasons - I am very happy owning BellaOnline and intend to make this site better for the rest of my life. So a degree doesn't help me. One thing I want is to build a network of contacts so I can promote and publicize BellaOnline, to help all the editors get more books, more interviews, etc. So I would much rather have well placed, high quality contacts from Northeastern compared with say just a few "local business" contacts at a small midwestern school.


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To address the above: Lisa: Yes, every major university I've looked at enrolls you as a student when you enroll online, and that means access to on-campus classes if you want them. The professors generally teach in both worlds (f2f & OL) so the options abound. Julie: First, I think you are absolutely correct that there are other considerations in some situations. The issue I was initially addressing was the all-too-common misconception that the Phoenixes are actually LESS expensive to attend, which is lightyears from the truth. Second, I couldn't disagree more with both your assertion that there is no differentiated value between an AACSB biz school and Phoenix to an employer (even in OR, I've been in Portland and talked to business leaders there who most definitely respect the value of the gold standard of business training) and your implication that there is little to no networking value to be gained from a distant program. I made connections in at least a dozen states and half a dozen countries through my MBA program at such a university, and like any other cohort, you will surely get to know your classmates. Sure, you've got me on the likelihood of crossing paths with alums, but I wouldn't value that at four times the cost of my degree. While there is surely an abundance of nepotism in the business world, I'd find it hard to believe that any significant part of it came through the advancement of graduates of the boss's online university that s/he's never met. Third, fully accredited schools span the entire breadth of 'Ivy League' to 'a GED and 16 on the ACT and you're in' So there is no reason to assume that there isn't a good fully-accredited fit for someone out there. State commuter and community colleges' online programs can be some of the least expensive, and highly focused on teaching quality options out there. Fourth, there are certainly sacrifices to online learning at great distance, access to physical libraries is sometimes one of them. But I am not necessarily encouraging going far away. More than 85% of colleges in this country are offering online classes. The SREB link I sent attests to the availability of a plethora of programs in most every state. If the only thing nearby is a Phoenix campus, go for it, but don't assume that the options aren't available to you where you might get the benefits of OL alongside the benefits of attending, and getting your degree from, a great university. You might be surprised at what's available; I know I was when I started looking. Finally, back to Lisa (and thank you for this forum, BTW!): If your interest in getting a business degree is not the degree or the skillset, but the networking.... I will beg you to take all the money you were going to throw at Northeastern, join a cpl quality networking groups, buff up your networking skills with a book or two and some outings, maybe join Toastmasters, and take the rest of those thousands of dollars and pay for some SEO and PR work from a reputable firm. The impact will be tenfold in a tenth of the time. If you DO want the skillset, go to the best school you can both get into and afford, and the quality of the networking will rise to whatever level you choose to take it. I'm not sure why you assume that the contacts you make at Northeastern (fine school, btw, and AACSB accredited, though they tend to get a bad report card from students in their online programs) will be of high quality and well-placed, nor why you assume that those you make at a small midwestern school won't be, or for that matter, why a small midwestern school is the option I was suggesting for you. CalState, SUNY,U.Tex, Texas A&M, U.Col, FL State, Purdue, OK State, U.Tenn, Pace, IU, Syracuse, Penn State, BABSON for goodness sake (the 'home' of the Sloan Consortium!!). All these and more have online MBA programs, and they are a far cry from small midwestern towns. They won't ALL be less expensive, but these represent some of the best business educators and business education innovators in the world! They might warrant at least a glance before getting tossed in the bucket with the small midwestern towns that can't provide any decent networking connections, ya know? This isn't just me the blowhard. I care about raising the bar in education, and getting more options on the table for more people and for less of the money that we bust our humps daily to earn. I'd love to see you get the skills you want, the site growth you're working for, and the publicity you deserve, all rolled in with the extra cash you saved in your pocket so you can celebrate with the most delicious (low carb, of course) meal you've ever tasted :) I'm happy to see the owners of Phoenix do the same thing, but not at the opportunity cost they've laid on the table. It's just not a good deal (for the vast majority of ppl--there are always exceptions) compared to what else is out there. Whew. Sorry for turning this into a dissertation.

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Live2Learn -

We're always curious when brand new members join us and start promoting a specific angle on something. Could you let us know what your background is - do you work for a particular school? According to new FTC regulations, it is almost mandatory to reveal that sort of information when you are making posts that relate to your employment field.

On the enroll in person issue - I think it's a far cry to say a person in Massachusetts COULD go on-campus to their school in Seattle - which would be pretty much impossible - vs that they could go on-campus at a school which has lots of local branches. That was what I was stating with local-branch schools.


Lisa Shea, Low Carb and Video Games Editor
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Originally Posted By: Live2Learn

Finally, back to Lisa (and thank you for this forum, BTW!): If your interest in getting a business degree is not the degree or the skillset, but the networking.... I will beg you to take all the money you were going to throw at Northeastern, join a cpl quality networking groups, buff up your networking skills with a book or two and some outings, maybe join Toastmasters, and take the rest of those thousands of dollars and pay for some SEO and PR work from a reputable firm. The impact will be tenfold in a tenth of the time.


Live2Learn - I already do belong to many networking groups. I also belong to Mensa, I have read at least 100 books on business, networking, and leadership because I'm in the top 10 of Amazon reviewers and am deluged with them weekly to review. I don't need SEO work - BellaOnline achieves the #1 result for the things we're interested in. People come to us to learn SEO techniques. I have already done all of these things. What I want is what Northeastern offers me. I have been in their system four days and am already thrilled beyond my dreams. This is exactly what I was hoping for.


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I don't think Babson had an online only bachelor's degree. I remember looking. I did apply to and was accepted by Penn State, but their courses were not nearly as robust or well organized as Northeastern's, so I turned them down.


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Lisa, I went to Phoenix because my son and dil (who by the way live in Phoenix) went there (online)for their MBA's. They both have fantastic promising careers in banking. My purpose was to get a degree because I wanted one. Phoenix does offer ground classes in my city, but because of my convoluted work schedule that wasn't an option. I've been to other colleges since I graduated in 1963, and it seems that they all have something different to offer. I think the issue after graduation is what you do with your degree. My dil's father (in Pa where I live) has a Masters from Penn State and makes less as a human service director than I do as a city bus driver but he's good at it and loves it. I plan to use my management degree to manage an animal shelter when I retire from driving. Some people would think that's not a worthy profession, but my passion is humane treatment of animals and I'm grateful to have had an opportunity to earn a degree that will enable me to be a part of making that a reality.


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