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Archive for April, 2008

Texas, Oregon, & Florida Warn Consumers about Almeda ‘University’

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

As Almeda University continues to run ads and send out press releases offering online degrees, several states warn consumers to keep in mind the phrase: ‘buyer beware’.

Texas, Oregon, and Florida are just a few of the many states that consider Almeda ‘University’ to be a diploma mill or substandard institution. The U.S. Department of Education agrees and does not include the unaccredited institution among it acceptable colleges and universities.

In Texas, it is illegal to use a written or oral advertisement to promote a college degree from Almeda. Also, it is illegal to use an Almeda degree to gain employment, to acquire a license or certificate for practice of a trade or occupation, to receive a raise or job promotion, to apply for admission to a legitimate educational institution, or to gain government employment with authority over another person.  Oregon has similar laws regarding diploma mills like Almeda.  

In 2003, the Florida Department of Education ordered Almeda to cease operating in the state and warned consumers to steer clear of its illegal degrees. In 2006, two Naples police officers were fired for using degrees from Almeda to obtain a pay increase. They were subsequently rehired, but paid back the additional monies gained from the bogus degrees.

Almeda also targets religious publications with its ads and offers college degrees and credentials to those willing to pay the few hundred dollars for a ‘life experience’ degree, which is often another name used for diploma mill degrees. Almeda claims to be accredited; but its accrediting bodies are not legitimate.

Ministers, teachers employed at religious schools, lay people in churches and others who seek an online degree should check with the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, rather than risking embarrassment down the road when a fake degree is revealed. 

Other states that may consider it illegal to use an Almeda University degree also include Illinois, New Jersey, Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, and Connecticut.

Almeda is not eligible for federally insured student loans or military G.I. bill assistance. In short, if you are seeking an accredited online degree, stay away from Almeda.

diploma mill, fake degree, Almeda, bogus degree, online degrees, churches, ministers, military, student loan 

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Creative Blended Programs Offer Solution for Nursing Shortage

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Imagine being taken to the hospital and finding that there are no nurses on staff. Instead, you are left alone in your room all day until a doctor is available to check on you. Your family and friends attempt to meet your needs as best they can; but they lack the skills to monitor your vitals, manage medical equipment, change bandages, or prepare you for surgery. And the sight of blood is, for most of them — well, unpleasant.

Though this scenario may sound like an old Twilight Zone episode, fiction is moving closer to reality than you think. 

According to the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 587,000 jobs will open up for new nurses by the year 2016. But filling those slots will not be enough.

Because after adding in the number of nurses that are retiring from the workforce, an anticipated shortage of a million nurses is projected by the year 2020, according to a report by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The HRSA report states that the nursing shortage will become increasingly severe without effective intervention, hitting some states harder than others.  

But thanks to distance learning, help may be on the way.

New innovative programs may offer a creative solution for the nursing shortage if colleges and universities work in partnership with local hospitals to provide training and practical experience to new nursing candidates. Idaho State University (ISU) now offers such a program.

Those with no previous training may enroll in this unique ISU associate’s degree in nursing program. Once prerequite courses are completed, the nursing portion generally takes 3 semesters (if attending full-time). The coursework is provided primarily via online classes; and students work with one of 30 hospitals in the Eastern Idaho region to acquire the necessary hands-on experience. Once a month, students meet for an intensive on-campus class.

Highlights of the ISU program include:

  • Graduates consistently score higher on the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • Ninety-eight percent of graduates are employed as professional nurses.
  • The program is approved by the Idaho State Board of Nursing.
  • Professors in the program have advanced clinical specializations along with master’s and/or doctoral degrees.

The ISU program offers a wonderful career opportunity, especially to those who need the flexibility of such a program due to job or family commitments. It is also ideal for those who live far from the college campus. The mission of the ISU program is to enable rural communities to “grow their own nurses” and to lessen the impact of the nursing shortage on the state of Idaho.

Once students graduate, they are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. Also, several accredited online RN to BSN programs are available after passing the exam, enabling RN’s to earn a bachelor’s degree fully online.

Currently, nursing is the number one profession in projected job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hopefully, additional nursing programs – similar to the one in Idaho — will sprout up and help alleviate what could otherwise become a bleak, ”Twilight Zone” situation in the future of health care.

online associate’s degree, distance learning, nursing shortage, Idaho State University, registered nurse, RN, online nursing program, online degree, nursing, health care, colleges and universities 

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Western Governors University Wins Distinguished Distance Learning Award

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Western Governors University (WGU) won a 2008 Silver Award for its extraordinary excellence in the use of online technology to deliver higher education through distance learning.

The prestigious award, presented by the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA) during its annual ceremony, recognizes major accomplishments in the development and delivery of distance-learning programs. 

Western Governors, one of the Top 30 Military-Friendly Colleges compiled by Military Advanced Education, offers some of the least expensive accredited online degree programs of any 4-year school.  Tuition for undergraduate programs is just $2,790 for each 6-month term. 

WGU also offers generous scholarships to military personnel, spouses of military personnel, teachers, information technology students, and a number of additional groups.

Founded by the governors of 19 western states, WGU is also non-profit and is based in Utah.

higher education, online degree, distance learning, USDLA, Western Governor’s, tuition  military personnel, military spouses, teachers

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

U.S. Colleges to Sign Agreement with China’s Largest e-Learning Organization

Monday, April 21st, 2008

The American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC), which counts approximately 65 member colleges, and the Chinese Central Agricultural Broadcasting Television School (CABTS), which is the largest distance-learning organization in the world, will sign a cooperative agreement on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 in Minneapolis.

Through this agreement, United States and Chinese faculty and staff will collaborate on educational research and joint project content development. This venture betewen the two groups is a strategic planning move that elevates these colleges and universities to the the cutting edge of an educational technology expansion.

The Sloan Consortium has issued several reports about distance learning and its impact on higher education. The recent reports, based upon results from  2,500 schools,  highlight the rapidly increasing popularity of online classes and online degree programs. They also indicate that e-learning is now incorporated into the master plan of numerous traditional colleges and universities.

As Internet connections continue to increase in speed and as the sophistication of educational software keeps pace with technology, traditional and online schools have taken notice.

Blended learning, which includes a component of student and teacher face-to-face interaction, but which includes online learning, is especially useful in fields that require hand-on training in addition to academic classes. Nursing and foreign language students may benefit from this type of program. 

The issue of e-learning can no longer be placed on the back burner by any forward-moving educational institution. Future college students are growing up in a high tech world; and when they enter college, they do not want to step back into the dark ages. There is a place for both traditional and online learning in the college environment; and this agreement between the educational communities of two world powers is recognition of that fact.

blended learning, China, colleges and universities, distance learning, online degree program, Sloan Consortium, traditional colleges, e-learning
 

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Recession Worries Propel Enrollment in Online Schools

Friday, April 18th, 2008

There is a saying, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.” 

And unfortunately, this rings true concerning recent events in the U.S. economy. Home prices continue to fall, foreclosures are at a record high, consumer spending has slowed, layoffs are massive, profit margins have narrowed and some airlines have folded. 

Yet there is reluctance in most economic experts to choke out the words, “We are in the midst of a recession”. 

However, the average person knows that the economic climate has changed; and surprisingly, this has created a boon for online schools. Online school enrollment is growing at a rate higher than that of traditional schools, according to the Sloan Consortium. 

As individuals seek solutions for their money woes, higher education stands out as a way to increase earnings, options and job skills. And e-learning colleges and universities have the home team advantage over traditional schools in several ways: 

  1. Online schools make it possible to increase job skills while studying at home. During these tentative times, it may not be wise to ask the boss for time off to go to school. When pink-slip time comes around, no one wants to be remembered as the one who was always leaving the job early.  
  2. Online degree programs allow flexibility for job-related travel, like conferences, seminars and meetings with clients that would normally cause a disruption in on-campus class attendance. It is easy to find an Internet connection in hotels, airports, Internet cafes and libraries. Also, with multimedia phones, the Internet is accessible almost anywhere; and some homework can be completed and sent via e-mail on these smaller devices. 
  3. It is easier to prepare for a new career with online schools when the job becomes stagnant and dead-end. After choosing the desired college degree or professional certificate, a student is free to adjust the course load to accommodate job pressures. Lunch breaks at work may be used to complete assignments, finish required reading or check message boards. 
  4. With online classes, quality time with the family is preserved when economic fallout creates additional stress at home. Time is saved when there is no need to attend classes or drive back and forth to a college campus.   
  5. Online classes save money on transportation costs - including gas, bus and train fare. 

Even under the shadow of a recession, online school enrollment is rising. And those who earn additional credentials in hot career fields will be prepared to grab one of the plentiful jobs that will surface when the economy begins to prosper again.  

career, distance learning, e-learning, higher education, hot career, job, online classes, online degree programs, online schools, professional certificate, recession

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Congress Rushes Legislation to Aid Troubled Federal Student Loans

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

As the U.S. economy continues to spiral downward with a rash of foreclosures, bankruptcies, failing businesses and lost jobs, an unlikely casualty has surfaced — the federally guaranteed student loan program. 

In order to stave off a crisis for millions of students who depend on the loans to attend colleges and universities, Congress proposed legislation that would allow the U. S. Department of Education to purchase student loans that lenders are unable to sell to investors. The measure was approved by the House of Representatives; and similar legislation will be considered in the Senate.

The same subprime mortgage crisis that shifted economic troubles into high gear also encouraged lenders to make a hasty exit from the business of providing federally guaranteed student loans. Of course, the elimination of hefty subsidies was the real kicker for the 50 or more banking agencies that bolted, leaving a void of loan options for parents and college-bound students.

Even Sallie Mae, a heavy hitter in student loan circles, stopped its consolidation of student loans and has all but ended its reign in this arena. Sallie Mae backed off when incentives for student loan lending were cut drastically in recently-passed education legislation, transforming student loans from a cash cow into a ball-and-chain of losses.

However, once this new legislation makes its way successfully up the approval chain, it is expected to quell any concerns about a shortage of students loan funds. And hopefully, traditional and accredited online schools will be able to continue to offer necessary financial aid to all who are eligible.

Read More . . .

financial aid, student_loans, accredited online schools, colleges and universities, college students, lenders, Sallie Mae, education, subprime mortgage crisis

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Kaplan’s Three R’s: Radical, Reputable, & Reasonable

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Why shop twice when you can shop once?

And where do you find an e-learning high school and college that share the same standard of excellence?

One education company stands out in a way that is radical, reputable and reasonable — Kaplan.

Radical

Kaplan Higher Education offers a unique and radical program that allows students to enroll in a distance-learning high school from 8th-12th grade, then in an accredited online degree program to earn a college diploma. 

Students may attend Kaplan College Preparatory School, formerly called the University of Miami Online High School. This is especially perfect for homeschoolers. After graduation, they may enroll in Kaplan University for an online associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree or online vocational certificate.

Reputable

Kaplan Inc. has served students and their families for over 70 years, becoming world-renowned in the area of test preparation.  But they now have over 70 college campuses in the U.S. and overseas and offer a variety of excellent online degree programs that lead to associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Kaplan’s online high school and university are both accredited by organizations that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Under Kaplan Virtual Education, the high school and college are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA). Kaplan, Inc. is a subsidiary of the well-respected Washington Post.

Reasonable

The costs of attending Kaplan University are reasonable when you consider that books are included in the price for each course. Books are usually a hefty additional outlay in other schools; so this is a plus. And with Kaplan’s excellent reputation, students can be assured that they are receiving a good value.

All in all, Kaplan Inc. is a great resource for both high schoolers and career-minded adults. So check out the three R’s of Kaplan and make it easy on yourself.

distance learning, higher education, online associate’s degree, online bachelor’s degree, online master’s degree, online schools, e-learning, vocational certificate, online degree, homeschooling

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Strategies to Consider as Student Loans Shrink Under Shadow of Recession

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Today’s New York Times warns that as banking institutions flee the student loan market, parents and students will have fewer options for financing a college education.

On the heels of Alan Greenspan’s exclusive interview a few days ago with CNBC, in which he stated that “we are in the throes of a recession” and “we have not confronted a situation like this in over half a century”, the news of a financial aid crisis should not come as a surprise.

As job losses increase, including over 80,000 in March 2008, it may be imperative for parents to plan more carefully and broaden their list of options before deciding on a strategy to pay for higher education for their children.

Strategies to consider may include the following:

  • Begin planning early for college and choose schools with generous financial aid programs.
  • Maintain a strong credit rating in order to be eligible for the best interest rates if private loans become necessary.
  • If applicable, research scholarship options for students with special talents or abilities — like sports or music.
  • Speak to financial aid counselors at the colleges of interest; and in deciding about a college, weigh heavily that college’s ability to provide a full financial aid package that will cover tuition, housing and fees.
  • Cut college costs by almost half by choosing junior college attendance for the first two years of higher education, followed by a transfer to a 4-year university.
  • Choose a reasonably-priced and accredited online degree program that will allow the student to work part-time or full-time and pay a significant portion of college costs.
  • Encourage the student to begin accumulating college credit in high school by scoring high on AP (Advanced Placement) tests and/or by taking college classes at the local junior college while in high school.

No doom and gloom economic forecast should keep anyone from succesfully navigating the choppy waters of college financial aid.

Instead, with advanced planning and a little bit of research, motivated students and their parents should be able to discover a workable solution to meet the rising costs of a college education.

online degree program, parents, student loans, college students, financial aid, college education, job losses, higher education, college costs, junior college, recession

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Spring Is Perfect Time to Enroll in Online Summer Classes

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Along with planning your summer vacation, now is a great time to enroll in online summer classes.

As mailboxes bulge with advertisements for gardening equipment, lawn chairs and barbecue grills, it is easy to overlook the slender summer catalogs from local junior colleges or four-year colleges and universities.  But thankfully, the Internet makes it easy to browse online schools from your home computer.

But why take an e-learning class during the lazy days of summer?  There are several great reasons to take the plunge.

  • Take a summer online class to get a head start on fall college classes.
  • Take a summer online class for enrichment — i.e. to study history, creative writing or art.
  • Take a summer online class to upgrade job skills.
  • Take a summer online class to decide whether to begin an online degree program.
  • Take a summer online class just for fun

Newer technologies continue to enhance the e-learning experience. For example, smaller multimedia devices — like iPhones – enable students to conveniently access the Internet and watch video lectures.  These devices are super-portable; and as surprising as it seems, students are even able to use them to complete some assignments and e-mail homework to their instructors.

The wonderful flexibility of distance learning is a great way to study, access class materials, and communicate with teachers and fellow students no matter where you may spend your summer.  So choose a class and enroll! 

online schools, online degree programs, distance learning, colleges and universities, e-learning, iPhone, summer class

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Air Force Saves Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Through E-learning Classes

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

According to Air Force Link, a source of current Air Force news, the switch from traditional air transporation classes to online classes has saved taxpayers and the military approximately $21 million since 2004.

For example, one popular class –Air Freight – would have cost almost $4.3 million using the traditional classroom model. But with e-learning, the cost was reduced to $265,000.

Also, by changing to the more flexible distance learning format, over 4,700 Airmen were able to access this class from almost anywhere and at any time.

Eight air transportation classes are offered to online to military personnel in a way that efficiently provides necessary training; and all of the classes are accredited by Community College of the Air Force.  Classes include: Aerial Port Vehicles, Global Air Transportation Execution System, Air Terminal Operations Center, Data Records and others.

The huge success of e-learning has encouraged plans for the Mobility Operations School Air Transportation Branch to offer additional classes in the future. In 2007, approximately 10,700 Airmen took advantage of the online air transporation courses.

Distance learning has continued to make remarkable strides in growth and revenue in the non-military sector as well, with over 3.5 million students choosing to enroll in at least one online class during the fall of 2006. This statistic was documented in a study by the Sloan Foundation, which collected data from over 2,500 colleges and universities.

Air Force, air transportation, colleges_and_universities, distance learning, e-learning, military, online classes

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida