It hardly seems possible in this day but students are paying huge sums for unaccredited degree programs. I cannot fathom why schools can even call them degrees. That seems like false advertising.
Let me tell you about Gary.
Gary is a 20-something who works as a landscape laborer in a small Florida town. As you may guess, being a laborer outdoors during a Florida summer is not fun. So Gary decided to go to college.
He responded to an ad from a for-profit college and, while on the campus tour, he believed what they told him. He didn’t read the application/contract and applied for a two-year business course.
“And then I found out the college is not accredited,” he told me.
. “How much is it costing you,” I asked. “$40,000,” he answered.
So I said “Let me guess. You signed a contract for the full two years.”
“At the same time, you signed a contract for a private loan for $40,000 at some obscene interest rate,” I said.
“Yes I did,” he said.
How did I know this? Because you cannot get Pell grants and open scholarships for degrees that are not accredited. These programs are sold in the same way a used car is sold. With in-house financing. Buy-here, pay-here.
“Well you could have gotten an accredited degree at the local public college for less than $8,000,” I said. “Probably a lot less.”
“And, because of your income,” I told him, “Pell grants and scholarships may have paid for a substantial portion of your tuition.”
“Because it’s not an accredited degree, you cannot apply for a bachelor’s degree course at a four year school.
“And no employer will hire you as a business manager,” I told him. “They want someone with a degree that is accredited.”
“I know,” he answered. “Now what can I do?”
Other than to call your congressional representative, I don’t know.
I sent him a copy of Big Data Big Careers Bigger Paychecks and told him it could help him salvage a career. But between full-time work and full-time school, neither of which he dare quit, Gary didn’t have time to read my email let alone read the Big Data epub and study the lessons.
High-pressure sales are a major problem I touch on in my A Degree FAST! ebook.
There seems to be a private for-profit college on every street corner in urban and rural areas of the U.S. They exist to make money for shareholders.
Some of them are not accredited. Accreditation is expensive and shareholders may or may not see it as a necessary expense. By no means does this apply to all private for-profit schools.
But learn from Gary's experience. And, so you are aware, Gary is a real person but I changed the name.
But, once the programs are accredited, the students' degrees are accredited, too. And colleges and universities must introduce new programs. Otherwise medical doctors might be studying leeches still.
No one wants that.
Before discounting a worthy institution with years of practice having new programs accredited, check with the financial aid office. Ask if students in the new program will be eligible for Pell grants. And ask the department head if graduate schools will accept students from that program.
Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, applies to colleges as well as to used cars. Maybe more so. Know what you are looking for before you shop and know what you getting before you sign.
And help stamp out the un-degree. Unaccredited, Unemployable. Undesirable.
Shelley Owens 16 years as a journalist, 10 years as a jobs and education columnist, one year as a curmudgeon trying to save prospective college students from overpaying for college. Now available for reading on all devices on Kobo: A Degree Fast! For pennies on the dollar 12 Secret Strategies to Help Your Child Get a Degree in Half the Time - at Half the Cost to You