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"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Marriage of Convenience May Birth Opportunity for Students

February 7th, 2011

The proposed match between Western Governors University and the state of Washington may become a marriage of opportunity for online learners.

If approved by state lawmakers, the partnership would give birth to education opportunities for over 10,000 students who would benefit over the next five years. The new online school would be known as WGU-Washington.

A Seattle Times article, “Lawmakers debate proposed state partnership with online university”, by Joanna Nolasco, is hopeful that WGU-Washington will be signed into law.

Western Governors University is an established, non-profit, online school that has already tied the knot with the state of Indiana in a similar relationship. WGU-Indiana currently offers 50 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees at a flat rate tuition of less than $3,000 for six months of courses.

The state of Washington hopes to provide a similar low-cost, high-quality education to its residents, especially as budget cuts have decreased state funds for public colleges and universities.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington State’s Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Superintendent of Public Instruction support the proposal, SB5136, which would increase the number of students who will earn college degrees.

It is primarily adult learners who are falling through the cracks in Washington, just as they are in other states. Most are laden with jobs, family responsibilities and few options for pursuing higher education.

The appeal of accredited, flexible, inexpensive online degree programs has taken hold in Indiana and promises to do the same in the state of Washington — if the legislation passes.

Tenured faculty members are concerned that they will become anachronisms as online learning continues to gain momentum. Online schools often hire qualified faculty members who are younger, open to learning the latest distance-learning technology, and enjoy the flexibility of being able to teach online.

However, with the success of WGU-Indiana ahead of them, Washington state lawmakers are viewing this potential partnership as a solution to education budget woes and the lack of options for adult learners.

Hopefully, the benefits of a long-lasting relationship between WGU and the state of Washington are already evident and will lead legislators to a ‘happily ever after’ vote for future online students.

online school, online degrees, higher education, colleges and universities, low cost tuition, bill gates, online students, college degree, washington, online learning

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Why Belford is Not a University

January 28th, 2011

The recent firing of a tenured Pensacola State College (PSC) professor, allegedly caused by his use of a Belford “University” degree for a promotion and pay raise, has brought the issue of diploma mills back into the news.

Robert Michael Ardis, a behavioral sciences professor, reportedly left PSC on a paid sabbatical and returned, a couple of semesters later, with an online master’s degree from Belford University, a notorious fake degree business.

Ardis was dismissed from Pensacola State College on December 15th of 2010.

A diploma mill, like Belford University and Belford High School, is a business — not a school. It churns out fake online degrees and diplomas, usually based solely on the purchaser’s life experience.

Consumers pay a fee, not tuition, for an official looking, but worthless, college or high school diploma, which may also be called a “novelty degree”.

Belford fits the profile of a diploma mill, not a university, based upon the above-mentioned and other characteristics, including the following :

  • The school has no physical location or address, except perhaps a post office box. On the website, under “Contact Us”, there is usually no address or phone number, but rather a contact form that allows the ’school’ to get in touch with potential customers (referred to as students)
  • There is no listing of faculty members on the school’s website; or the short list of faculty members all have degrees from the same unaccredited school.
  • The accrediting organization that is touted for the “college” or “university” is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education. Generally, the school’s accrediting body is owned or controlled by the diploma mill.
  • The consumer pays a fee for the degree, not tuition, is able to choose to add additional degrees, and may pick the desired grade point average for an additional fee. No work, other than a possible essay, is required.
  • The degree is guaranteed to arrive within a few days or weeks after payment.
  • The college or university is not listed as an accredited institution of higher education on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Belford High School and Belford University, which are part of the same company, have had hundreds of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau over the years, especially from consumers who were deceived by the slick, glossy website.

Although a small percentage of consumers are victimized, others are fully aware of the deception and are playing Russian Roulette, hoping their employers will remain in the dark about the bogus college degrees.

Belford is not a real university; and in some states, like Texas and Oregon, it is against the law to use a degree from Belford University, or any other diploma mill or unaccredited school, in order to gain a promotion or a raise. Perpetrators may be fired, fined or jailed.

So it is wise for potential students to do their research and forgo diploma mills altogether. And they should endeavor to earn a college degree the only legitimate way — by diligent study and hard work.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Top Online Military-Friendly Colleges Named for 2010-2011

January 19th, 2011

Military-friendly colleges and universities serve the U.S. military community by taking special care of servicemembers, veterans and their families.

And once again, Military Advanced Education (MAE) magazine has provided a valuable resource for current and former military personnel by selecting the top military-friendly colleges and universities, based on specific criteria.

Those chosen schools in the “online” category offer an impressive array of accredited, flexible academic programs that fit the unique needs of military students. In addition, online schools and others on the list may offer special scholarships, financial aid, counseling, and other perks to U.S. servicemembers, veterans and their families.

Although the list does not include every military-friendly school, it offers an excellent starting point for potential students.

The complete list can be accessed online; but almost 200 military-friendly schools offer online degree programs and are listed here.

  1. Albany Technical College
  2. Albert Magnus College
  3. Allied American University
  4. American Intercontinental University
  5. American Military University
  6. American Sentinel University
  7. Anne Arundel Community College
  8. Anthem College Online
  9. Arcadia University
  10. Argosy University
  11. Arkansas State University
  12. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
  13. Ashford University
  14. Ashworth College
  15. Aspen University
  16. Austin Peay State University
  17. Averett University
  18. Baker College Online
  19. Baker University — Professional and Graduate Studies
  20. Barstow Community College
  21. Barton Community College at Fort Riley
  22. Barton Community College Great Bend
  23. Belhaven University
  24. Bellevue University
  25. Berkeley College
  26. Bismarck State College
  27. Brandman University
  28. Broadview University
  29. Bryan College
  30. Burlington College
  31. Butler Community College
  32. Caldwell College
  33. California State University, Chico
  34. California University of Pennsyvania
  35. Capella University
  36. Central Michigan University
  37. Central Texas College
  38. Chaminade University of Honolulu
  39. The City University of New York
  40. Cleary University
  41. Clemson University
  42. Cochise University
  43. College of Lake County
  44. The College of St. Scholastica
  45. Collin College
  46. Colorado State University — Pueblo
  47. Colorado Technical University
  48. Columbia College
  49. Columbia Southern University
  50. Concord University
  51. Coplah-Lincoln Community College
  52. Cornerstone University
  53. Cowley College
  54. Craven Community College
  55. Del Mar College
  56. Duquesne University Leadership and Prof. Advancement
  57. Eastern Michigan University
  58. ECPI College of Technology
  59. Edmonds Community College
  60. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide
  61. Erie Community College
  62. Everest University Online
  63. Excelsior College
  64. Fayetteville Technical Community College
  65. Ferris State University
  66. Florida Institute of Technology
  67. Florida National College
  68. Fort Hays State University
  69. Globe University/Minnesota School of Business
  70. Graduate School
  71. Grantham University
  72. Green Mountain College
  73. Hannibal-LaGrange College
  74. Hawaii Pacific University
  75. Herzing University
  76. Hope International University
  77. Indiana Tech
  78. Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
  79. Indiana Wesleyan University
  80. The International Import-Export Institute at Dunlap-Stone University
  81. ITT Technical Institutes
  82. J.F. Drake State Technical College
  83. Jefferson College
  84. Jefferson Community College
  85. Joliet Junior College
  86. Jones International University
  87. Kansas State University
  88. Kaplan University Online
  89. Keuka College
  90. Keystone College
  91. Kodiak College, University of Alaska Anchorage
  92. Lake Superior College
  93. Lamar University
  94. Liberty University
  95. Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
  96. Mayville State University
  97. Metropolitan State College of Denver
  98. Metropolitan State University
  99. Monroe College
  100. Monroe Community College
  101. Montgomery County Community College
  102. Mountain State University
  103. The National Graduate School
  104. National University
  105. Nazarene Bible College
  106. New England College
  107. New Mexico Junior College
  108. New Mexico State University
  109. Niagara County Community College
  110. North Georgia College & State University
  111. Northern Virginia Community College
  112. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
  113. Ohio State University
  114. Old Dominion University
  115. Olympic College
  116. Park University
  117. Penn State World Campus
  118. Pierce College Military Program
  119. Pima Community College
  120. Post University
  121. Rasmussen College
  122. Regent University
  123. Regis University
  124. Rivier College
  125. Roane State Community College
  126. Rochester Community and Technical College
  127. Rochester Institute of Technology
  128. Roger Williams University
  129. Saint Leo University
  130. San Diego Community College District
  131. Seattle Central Community College
  132. Siena Heights University
  133. Southeast Missouri State University
  134. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  135. Southern New Hampshire University
  136. Southwest Virginia Community College
  137. Southwestern College - California
  138. St. Joseph’s College - New York
  139. Stratford University
  140. Strayer University
  141. Sul Ross State University
  142. SUNY College of Technology at Canton
  143. SUNY Empire State College
  144. SUNY Maritime College, The Fort
  145. Thomas Edison State College
  146. Tidewater Community College
  147. Troy University
  148. United States Sports Academy
  149. University of Central Arkansas
  150. University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  151. The University of Findlay
  152. University of Iowa
  153. University of Maine at Augusta
  154. University of Management & Technology
  155. University of Mary
  156. University of Maryland University College
  157. The University of Memphis
  158. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  159. University of Nebraska - Lincoln, MBA Program at Offutt AFB
  160. University of Nebraska at Kearney
  161. University of Nebraska at Omaha
  162. University of North Dakota
  163. The University of Oklahoma
  164. The University of Phoenix
  165. University of Pittsburgh
  166. University of South Florida
  167. University of Southern Maine
  168. The University of Texas at Dallas School of Management
  169. University of the Incarnate Word
  170. University of the Southwest
  171. University of West Florida
  172. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  173. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  174. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  175. Upper Iowa University
  176. Utah State University
  177. Utica College
  178. Vanderbilt University
  179. Vincennes University
  180. Virginia College
  181. Wake Technical Community College
  182. Washington State University
  183. Wayland Baptist University
  184. Webster University
  185. West Hills Community College District
  186. West Texas A&M University
  187. Western Carolina University
  188. Western Dakota Technical Institute
  189. Western Governors University
  190. Western Wyoming Community College
  191. Westfield State University
  192. Wilmington University
  193. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
  194. Yakima Valley Community College

Potential military students should take advantage of additional college information provided at military education centers, designated Department of Defense service centers and reputable online education websites.

For further information about this list, please check out Military Advanced Education magazine’s 4th Annual Guide to Military-friendly Colleges and Universities.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Kaplan Grads Invest in Online Degrees for Lifetime Profit

January 11th, 2011

No one wants to be in debt anymore; and that is, perhaps, a wise decision, given current economic conditions.

But some things are consistently worth the investment of money, according to financial experts, even when those expenditures involve taking on reasonable debt.

A college education steadfastly remains in this category.

When approached wisely, online degree programs offer students a college education without causing excessive or burdensome debt.

For example, at Kaplan University, students may pursue an accredited online Master’s Degree in Public Health that may be completed in two years. Tuition is reasonable and often lower than at traditional private colleges. In addition, students may opt to gain work experience and earn full-time income while taking online classes.

After graduation, a Master’s in Public Health degree qualifies grads to work as health service managers, health care professionals and epidemiologists, earning potential salaries between $62,170 and $104,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If a student qualifies for grants or scholarships, the tuition bill requires less out-of-pocket money. Student loans are great for those who qualify, offering exceptionally low interest rates and extended repayment periods.

Graduates may pursue private or government jobs in the health care field, a field that has continued to add thousands of jobs every month throughout the recession and economic recovery.

Students who choose to major in this field at Kaplan, and other high-quality schools, are well-ahead of others who attempt to enter the health services profession without an advanced degree.

Of course, individuals must study diligently and commit to finishing their online education program in order to be well-prepared for the best employment opportunities. Students should also consider gaining related work experience in order to complement the excellent knowledge that is provided throughout the online master’s degree program.

Those who proceed with all of this in mind should significantly increase their chances of landing a job in this fast-growing industry.

The wise investment in a health care services career could earn graduates high dividends in improved lifestyle, higher salaries, and greater fulfillment.

Each potential student should consider the pros and cons of enrolling in an online master’s degree program, based upon their individual circumstances.

After enrolling in this Kaplan accredited online degree program, students can expect two years of focused and challenging studies. Others with more demanding responsibilities may extend their studies by taking only one or two online classes at a time.

Either way, the health services industry offers a rewarding career that is worth every penny of its reasonable investment.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

When Good Economic News is Disguised as Bad

January 10th, 2011

The recent employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was positive for the month of December.

So why did it receive such a pessimistic reception from the media?

Perhaps it really is true that good news has to be transformed into bad news before we will buy newspapers, tune into CNN, or click onto computer news sites.

At least, that is how the news media perceives its readers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest point in 19 months, having dropped to 9.4% in December from 9.8% in November.

That is good news.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics further states that 103,000 jobs were added to the economy in December. In fact, approximately 90,000 jobs were added in each month of 2010.

This certainly sounds like good news.

The jobs report even threw in a surprise. A total of 70,000 additional jobs were added in October and November of 2010 that were not counted in those months. So the count was actually higher than originally reported.

This is unexpected good news.

Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke added his positive input a few days ago by telling the Senate Budget Committee that ” . . . the pace of economic recovery seems likely to be moderately stronger in 2011 than it was in 2010 . . . “.

Maybe I am overly optimistic; but that really sounds like encouraging good news.

The Wall Street Journal’s article yesterday, “Weak Hiring Casts a Cloud” by Sara Murray, interestingly chronicles all of this information and more. Yet there is no celebratory tone or hopeful feel.

Unfortunately, the media has added their ‘doom and gloom’ spin to related articles, so all of that good news has been transformed into bad news. The vocabulary of recent economic news accounts says it best, with words and phrases like “unsustainable”, “cautious”, and “economic weakness” sprinkled in between the positive reports.

So, basically, December was a great month for economic recovery; and things are looking up in the New Year for those who are seeking employment.

Competition for jobs will continue to be keen. So those applicants who earn additional training, professional certificates, traditional degrees or online degrees will likely be viewed more favorably by discerning employers.

Remember that economic recovery is moving forward; and no one wants to be left behind.

So learn to peel away bad news reports whenever you can; and act accordingly with the good news you unearth.

Then . . . smile.

jobs, online degrees, certificates, left behind, economic recovery, new year, job applicants, employers, good news, news media

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Five reasons the new FAFSA should be filed quickly

January 1st, 2011

The thought of filling out financial aid forms may be torturous; but this should not be the case.

A newly-designed online FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) was unveiled today — January 1st.

Now, wise students are able to get the jump on applying for college aid.

And the good news is that the FAFSA is more user-friendly than ever.

It is also important for financial aid seekers to note the reasons they should quickly file their FAFSA:

  1. The filing of a FAFSA form is required for receiving any federal student aid funds, including Pell grants, student loans, work study, or other government monies for attending accredited traditional or online schools. Almost all colleges and universities also require the FAFSA for non-federal scholarships, loans and private aid.
  2. The FAFSA is only filled out once, whether it is for one higher education institution or several. This streamlines the financial aid application process for those who are applying to multiple schools.
  3. The early bird gets the worm. Students who file early have an advantage over procrastinators by being first in line for a portion of the government’s limited financial aid budget. Even though there are billions of financial aid dollars available, millions of students apply; and the funds are quickly allocated.
  4. The online FAFSA may be completed in a fairly short amount of time. With the required information readily available, it could take two hours or less. Applicants may opt to fill out the FAFSA over several days, saving the form with a password and returning later to complete it.
  5. The FAFSA may be amended after it is filed, up to a deadline date in Sepember 2011. The best strategy is to fill out the online FAFSA, using 2009 tax return information, then amend the form once details of the 2010 tax return are available.

Since the most important part of the college application process may be the filing of financial aid information, applicants should file the FAFSA as soon as possible (ASAP).

An early application enables students to receive the best financial aid package for which they are eligible, along with peace of mind.

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Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Plenty of Tech Jobs Headed Our Way this New Year and Beyond

December 23rd, 2010

Now is a great time to reflect and make plans to insure a more prosperous New Year.

Viable plans may include deciding whether to continue in the same profession or to train for a more lucrative one.

According to recent reports, technology is a field that is expected to grow significantly, adding a large number of new jobs.

The Press Democrat newspaper in Sonoma County reports that technology jobs will play a key role in getting people back to work during the economic recovery.

In the article, Tech to Show Way (11-29-10), jobs in technology are also expected to help move some local counties out of the recession.

“Fast growing tech companies are now forecast to help rescue the local economy as the sector adds high-paying jobs and attracts outside money from investors, according to a new report by Moody’ . . During the next five years, the tech sector will account for nearly half of the fastest growing occupations in the county, according to the Moody’s forecast.”

Technology jobs include computer analysts, software designers, engineers, systems analysts, telecommunications specialists, and computer scientists. Those trained in these and other areas will likely staff the tech companies that are already poised to blossom and grow.

Fast-growing tech jobs often require a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or professional certificate. On-the-job training and continuing education may also enhance those skills and help employees remain plugged into the most current technological trends.

Online degree programs are the most convenient way to earn the credentials that are necessary for jobs in the tech sector. This is a great time to enroll in online schools, while federal student loans and grants are still available to help all eligible students pay for their higher education classes.

The next few years should offer amazing employment opportunities to well-prepared individuals who are trained in technology fields.

Those who are interested in a high-tech career should choose an education plan that will prepare them to qualify for well-paying jobs in the New Year and beyond.

careers, employment, higher education, jobs, new year, online degree programs, online schools, sonoma county, tech jobs, technology

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Why Employers Hate to Love Online Degree Applicants

December 16th, 2010

Employers are in a tough spot these days.

Every time they list a job opening, applicants flood their places of business.

And as can be expected in a high-tech world, many applicants hold accredited online degrees, which still create hiring barriers for some employers.

But these motivated graduates often had barriers of their own in earning a college degree; so they found another way — online learning.

And although this form of learning is not an easy road, they sacrificed time and money to study and learn via computer in order to strengthen job skills and earn necessary credentials.

Employers cannot deny the fortitude, perseverance and discipline that is inherent in these applicants; but a few still have difficulty with the concept of online degrees.

Yet over time, more naysayers are discovering the following about e-learning graduates:

  • A large percentage of online degree graduates are military students, who maintained their grades through graduation, while being transferred to several different duty stations — including locations in active war zones.
  • Working dads and moms, who juggle numerous responsibilities, are another admirable group.
  • Others include disadvantaged inner city grads, physically challenged grads, English as a second language grads, and single parents who transcended insurmountable odds to earn college diplomas.

Although some would love to discount their accomplishments, wise employers quickly learn that online degree graduates of accredited online schools are a valuable commodity.

And soon, employers find themselves whistling a new tune of admiration instead.

online degrees, online learning, working moms, jobs, employers, military students, war, english as a second language

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Earning a College Degree is Still a Great Accomplishment

December 11th, 2010

It is no surprise that prospective students are confused about whether to proceed with a college education.

The high price of tuition has millions feeling frustrated; and many are asking whether returning to school is worth the time, effort or cost.

As a result, quite a few folks give up without fully exploring their options.

So they end up closing the door on what could have been one of the most transforming opportunities of a lifetime.

Yet, no one should give up their college dreams, because the following is still true about higher education:

  • Overall, college graduates make significantly more money than those without a degree.
  • Skilled and well-educated applicants still walk away with the best jobs over unskilled applicants.
  • Gaining an advanced degree is necessary for moving into management and administrative positions in most fields, i.e. in business, criminal justice, health care, and other high-demand careers.
  • There are painless ways to pay for an education through scholarships, Pell Grants, military education plans, employee tuition reimbursement programs, low-cost student loans, community colleges, tuition-free state colleges, working and paying for college while enrolled in online schools, etc. Some of these are not well-publicized and have to be unearthed before and during the enrollment process.
  • The satisfaction and fulfillment of gaining a college education is priceless.

Of course, it is important to make an informed decision about where to enroll, which career options offer the best jobs, whether to enroll in full or part-time education programs, and how to pay for it.

But most importantly, the answer is yes, a college education is now and always will be a worthy accomplishment.

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Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Online Criminal Justice Degrees Deliver Lucrative Job Prospects

December 6th, 2010

There is no need to holster your dreams of a criminal justice career.

Now, more than ever, a job in this field is well within your reach, especially if you prepare now to meet all academic, physical and mental qualifications.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the criminal justice field are favorable for qualified individuals, especially in densely populated areas. Growing cities need an increasing number of qualified criminal justice professionals; and prison officials are also needed for overcrowded penal institutions.

Recent news highlighting the latest airport security screening methods, upgraded terror alerts, and prisoner escapes offers a peek into the varied opportunities available in the criminal justice field.

Adventurous candidates are drawn to the excitement of apprehending the “bad guys” as law enforcement officers, while others may love the idea of working in the background to support the work of police officers and other homeland security agents.

Military veterans are particularly suited to law enforcement careers, due to previous military experience and training. However, others who are well-trained and intellectually prepared are also coveted candidates.

Support personnel may work in security or administrative positions that center around the process of bringing apprehended suspects to justice in the courtroom, securing them in penal institutions, and preventing the fruition of threats to national security.

If law enforcement is your dream, you may access the best jobs in this field through the completion of accredited higher education degrees and certificates. Criminals do not take a break; so why should you?

This is the best time to prepare for interesting and challenging work as a law enforcement officer, airport security personnel, prison guard, criminal investigator, fish and game warden, or other jobs that pertain to national, state or local security.

Of course, the most financially rewarding jobs are available to those who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in criminal justice or homeland security. Supervisory and management positions almost always require an advanced degree; and an accounting or business background is helpful.

Yet, even associate’s degree graduates are routinely hired as police officers, especially since additional training is provided for qualified applicants. Law enforcement jobs generally offer excellent salaries and a wide range of valuable benefits.

Online schools enable working adults to earn a college degree at home when it is convenient. Interested individuals will find it easy to investigate the many possibilities in the criminal justice field by using reputable websites like Directory of Schools to find an accredited online college or university.

Future police officers, homeland security agents, prison personnel and others should respond to their desire for a criminal justice career by enrolling in accredited online degree programs today for tomorrow’s jobs.

online criminal justice degree, online degree, job, career, law enforcement, homeland security, police officer, veteran

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida