Author Topic: Full college degree, over 33% savings  (Read 2322 times)

intellectsucks

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Full college degree, over 33% savings
« on: July 09, 2018, 01:42:47 PM »
Iíve been looking to advance my career, but feel like Iím hitting a ceiling due to my lack of a college degree.  Iíve decided to take night and online courses to get that degree and now Iím faced with a potentially huge cost.  Fortunately, some research has revealed some ways to reduce my college costs by more than 30%.  Iím going to lay out my preliminary research and update this thread as I progress to give people looking to reduce college costs some insight.

Here is a link to the recommended course schedule for my preferred degree at Penn Stateís Abington campus:
https://rap.psu.edu/recommended-academic-plan-businessmanagement-marketing-option-bsbab-abington

The straight up ďretailĒ cost of this degree is about $60k for residents of Pennsylvania (a little over $7k per semester for 8 semesters).

Hereís an overview of the plan Iím using to drastically cut that ďretailĒ cost:
https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/testing-out-how-to-moneyball-your-way-to-a-debt-free-college-degree/

A quick summary: by using College equivalent tests (the CLEP and DSST tests) to get college credit for some courses, and transferring others from community college, you can save boatloads of time and money.

Step 1: Find out which of the PSU courses can be tested out of using CLEP and DSST tests.  As expected, the PSU website doesnít prominently advertise the ability to test out of their courses, so I just typed ďCLEPĒ into their search bar and was directed here:
https://abington.psu.edu/admissions/who-are-you/first-year-students/other-credit-sources
Here they listed each CLEP and DSST test, whether or not passing the test provided credit, and which course the test would replace (if any).  I was able to identify 10 courses that I could test out of.  Each CLEP and DSST costs $87 paid to the testing company (the College Board) and $30 to the local testing facility (mine was a local community college).  My local library (Free Library of Philadelphia), has free downloadable e-books to study the tests, and additional study and testing materials available in the library.  The CLEP website also links to lots of free and low cost study resources.  TOTAL COST TO TEST OUT: $1200

Step 2: Find out which Community College courses will transfer over.  I was e-mailing the Admissions office for some other questions and they sent me this link:
https://www.admissions.psu.edu/TCT/index.cfm
The cost at my local community college (Bucks County Community) is $150 per credit, vs over $400 per credit at PSU.  Three classes at Bucks would transfer over towards my degree; this number would have been higher but Iím testing out of a lot of the classes that are not related to my major.  TOTAL COST: $1800

Step 3: Get it done!!  I registered for my first two tests today, with plans to take them during the first week in August.  The time savings are another huge benefit of testing out.  I estimate that the combination of testing out and using Community College will take three semesters off of my Penn State degree.  That amounts to savings of over $21k from start to finish bringing the cost from $60k to $39k, while taking somewhere between six months and a year less time.  And of course those numbers also donít count any tuition reimbursement from my employer (up to $5000/year) or scholarships.


FIRE@50

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 01:48:05 PM »
Also, consider a different university. Penn State is one of the most expensive state schools in America.

mxt0133

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 03:56:24 PM »
That's some good info.  You should create a blog for high school and adult students, the add revenue and eventual consulting fees can cover even more of your tuition costs.  I'm not being sarcastic either, if you can help people reduce their college costs by 30% that is a big chunk of change especially if you take into account the average interest they pay if they have to take out student loans, boom another blog topic to write about.

terran

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 04:00:32 PM »
Well done!

Don't forget to apply for scholarships too. I've heard that can be quite lucrative too.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 06:42:00 PM »


Step 2: Find out which Community College courses will transfer over.

Attending a junior/community college for 2 years and then transferring to a 4-year college is indeed a terrific plan that will reduce the cost of a 4-year degree.


YOU MUST BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN  THAT YOUR JUNIOR/COMMUNITY COLLEGE COURSES WILL BE ACCEPTED BY THE 4-YEAR COLLEGE YOU INTEND TO TRANSFER TO.

TO BE CERTAIN, IN PERSON, BRING THE JUNIOR/COMMUNITY COLLEGE'S CURRICULUM/LIST OF COURSES TO AN OFFICIAL AT THE 4-YEAR COLLEGE SO THAT YOU KNOW THEY WILL BE TRANSFERABLE.


I know of a case in which the student was misinformed that  the junior college courses were transferrable.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 07:17:29 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

intellectsucks

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 12:42:03 PM »
Just passed my first CLEP test: principles of macroeconomics!!
I'm in the Philadelphia area, and the Philadelphia Free library has an app that lets you borrow ebooks for free(up to four per month). I borrowed a textbook specifically to prep for this test. This textbook covered all of the relevant topics on the test, included two practice tests and an answer key that explained the reasoning behind each correct answer.  I also borrowed a physical book that had a practice test for every CLEP test. I took all three tests and was able to review any concepts I was shaky on or any questions I got wrong.
My total prep time was about two weeks and I scored 73 out of 80.
My employer is also reimbursing me for the $117 in registration fees.
3 college credits for free in two weeks.
In the next week or two I plan on taking at least two more.

MicroRN

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 01:33:34 PM »
Definitely make sure that the community college courses will transfer, but typically if you're going from a state community college to a state college, they will.  Most universities have a list of acceptable transfer credits, and sometimes have a webpage specifically set up for that, where you can enter the course # and it'll tell you what class it corresponds to.  The basic gen eds will almost always transfer, it tends to be the in-major classes that won't.     

CLEP is an excellent option.  I had to take sociology as a pre-req for nursing school.  I bought a CLEP prep book ($25-30 maybe?), studied on and off for about a month using free online course materials, paid $88, and got in the top score tier.  Boom, 3 college credits.  I don't think I could have done that with calculus or something else complicated, but Intro Soc isn't difficult material.       

Another thing to look at is that some colleges will let you test out of certain topics.  I had taken nutrition, but dropped about 3/4 of the way through due to not having enough time.  The school let me take a comprehensive final exam for $150ish in lieu of taking the class.  Again, studied on my own, and you had to get at least an 85% to pass.  The only downside is that I don't get a grade for that class, just the credits and a "P."

This isn't useful for later in life, but if you have a kid heading to college - I went into school with 26 credits as a freshman from AP classes, basically my whole freshman year (Government (3), 2 English classes (6), Calculus (3), US history (3), Biology w/ lab (8), Psych (3)).  My school system paid the cost for the AP exams, so that was 26 completely free credits, accepted by a good state university.  Even if my parents had paid for the exams, it would have been so much less than taking those at the university.  A friend wanted to take AP chemistry, but our school didn't offer it.  Instead, the county covered the cost of him dual enrolling to take intro chem with labs at the local community college, which is another good option.

jlcnuke

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 03:52:42 PM »
Well done!

Don't forget to apply for scholarships too. I've heard that can be quite lucrative too.

and grants.

Millions and millions of dollars in grants and scholarships go uncollected every year. There are only a tiny fraction of the people who aren't eligible for something. It may take hours to find the scholarships you're eligible for, but hours for thousands of dollars in scholarships is a pretty good trade off for most people. Here's a start for you https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-major/business-scholarships/

katsiki

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 07:25:58 PM »
Congrats OP!  You may find this blog post helpful: http://www.millionaireeducator.com/2016/03/a-7500-college-degree-in-12-months.html

A few more links from some research I did a while back:

http://www.alternativecreditproject.com/

https://www.saylor.org/
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 07:34:02 PM by katsiki »

detroital

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2018, 06:34:02 AM »
I started on my BSE in my late 20's.  Back then, community college was $19/credit hour for county residents and $65 at the university I was planning on attending.  I saved a ton of money by taking as much as would transfer at the community college.  When I began engineering classes at the university, I started Co-Op'ing and working every other semester.  It took longer to get a degree but I came out debt free.  There is more than one way to get what you want.  Looking for alternatives is smart. 

OtherJen

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2018, 06:56:01 AM »
Definitely make sure that the community college courses will transfer, but typically if you're going from a state community college to a state college, they will.  Most universities have a list of acceptable transfer credits, and sometimes have a webpage specifically set up for that, where you can enter the course # and it'll tell you what class it corresponds to.  The basic gen eds will almost always transfer, it tends to be the in-major classes that won't.     

Yes. And even if the courses transfer, make sure they will transfer at full credit. A young friend found that out the hard way a couple of years ago when transferring from a well-regarded community college to an in-state university. She received half-credit (e.g., a 2-semester class counted as only 1 semester) for all in-major classes because they were considered not sufficiently rigorous.

intellectsucks

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 12:13:55 PM »
Test number two completed!! Way less prep time for this one; my wife was sick for a week, then we had to prep for a two week vacation.  Also, my library didn't have a test prep textbook for this specific test (principles of microeconomics), so once I did start studying I spent a whole day working on topics that weren't covered by the test. DOH!!!
The easier way to proceed would have been to pay for the official test prep ebook from the college board. However since part of my motivation to do this is with minimal cost, I decided against that. Instead, I just plugged in each topic from the test summary into Google and studied from one or two links on that topic.
I had a hard deadline of August 11th to take this test (this was the last day I could take it and definitely get reimbursed by my employer), so I only had two days of cramming the actual test materials before taking it.
I ended up scoring 72 out of 80.

If you're good at taking multiple choice tests and you're fairly good at self study, and you have two to three hours a day to study, I'd say you could comfortably take one test every week or so. This would give you two semesters of college credit in about three months for around $1400 bucks.

Starting my community college classes next week. Have to figure out the lowest cost way to get my textbooks and other supplies. My first idea is to reach out to the professor for ideas. Any ideas you guys have would be much appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 12:17:34 PM by intellectsucks »

Slow&Steady

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 03:44:42 PM »
I think you can rent textbooks now (not an option when I was in school) from Amazon or something like that.

Cgbg

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 04:53:25 PM »
Amazon and Chegg are the go-to rental places for college textbooks. Go to the first class before buying books just to make sure you really need it. Some classes have a textbook that comes with an online code (that you need) and in that case youíll likely be stuck with buying a new book or at least buying the code.

robartsd

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 05:25:23 PM »
I think you can rent textbooks now (not an option when I was in school) from Amazon or something like that.
Most of the textbook rentals I've seen don't compare all that favorably to purchasing used and reselling (at least not using the norms from when I was in college). The college bookstore usually had a limited supply of used texts at about (50-75%) of the cost of new texts and bought back used text at about (25-50%) of the cost of the new text making the overall cost about 25% of the cost of the new text to use the book for the term (or longer - not a rental so no due date). With a little more effort, you could often find the textbook for even less that the bookstore sold it for (though that might require purchase before the first day of class and quality might not be as good) and sell the book directly to a student who is taking the course next term. Of course with a rental you avoid the possibility of buying a text for the last term that it is used by your school which greatly diminishes the local value of the book when you're ready to sell.

intellectsucks

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2018, 08:27:21 AM »
Of the classes I canít test out of, Iím taking as many as possible at my local community college (Bucks County Community College).  I registered a couple of weeks ago and paid my full tuition (a little over $1800) up front.  Time to start figuring out how to do actual college classes as frugally as possible.
First off, Iím extremely sympathetic to college students who just sign whatever documents the financial aid office throws at them.  Iíve got 15 years experience dealing with crazy corporate beauracracy and the admissions and financial aid process is almost too much bullshit for me.  Itís about as bad, if not worse than going through mortgage underwriting.  Expecting a 17 year old to navigate this obstacle course in the most efficient and low cost way is INSANE*.
I filled out my FAFSA, registered and paid for my classes.  Fortunately Iím in the financial position to be able to do that.  If I wasnít, and I was under pressure to make sure that I was able to register and start classes, signing up for a bunch of student loans just to make sure that it was taken care of would start looking much more attractive.  As it is, financial aid, including student loans can be quite confusing and difficult.  Since I donít plan on getting a degree from the community college, I applied as a ďnon-degree seekingĒ student.  Turns out that if youíre not admitted with a major, you donít qualify for financial aid.  PRO TIP: Donít try calling the financial aid office when youíre close to the start of a semester.  Like me, you could find out the hard way that there are 3 hour+ hold times.  Instead send an e-mail to the financial aid office.  Now that Iíve made all the necessary changes to my admission status and sent in the documentation needed, Iím just waiting for a decision on my potential financial aid package.
Next, I looked at the syllabus for each class so I could purchase my books and necessary supplies.  Supplies were easy: Staples runs massively dirt cheap sales on school supplies every year around this time (Spiral notebooks for 25 cents each, marble notebooks for 50 cents, loose leaf paper for a similar price, just make sure to avoid the fancy covers or multi-subject books).  When we see stuff like this at deep discounts like this, we buy a huge stock, 50 or 100 at a time, then store it in a big box in the attic marked ďSchool SuppliesĒ.  A $10 off coupon meant that stocking up this year was practically free.  Our kids are not school age yet, but will be eventually, and notebooks never go bad.
Textbooks initially looked like a huge expense at the college bookstore prices: 5 books for English Comp at about $15 each, the newest edition of the accounting textbook with a WileyPlus** code for $200, the newest edition of the management textbook with some other Oligarchyís code at $80.  FUUUUUUUCK THAT.  Two of the English books were available at the Philadelphia Free Library, one cost $5 used on Amazon, one was cheapest as a Kindle version for $6.  An EXTENSIVE online search yielded a WileyPlus code on Amazon for $80, which should come with an e-book version of the textbook.  If it doesnít, Amazon also has a printed version of the book for $75 (doesnít come with the code though).  Despite my best efforts, I wasnít able to find a cheaper version of the management book.  Bookstore prices for total: $355.  My total cost: $186.
Standing in line to pay for my two textbooks at the college bookstore, I noticed how almost every other student had a stack of brand new textbooks and supplies.  There costs for everything were significantly higher than mine, and I couldnít help but wonder how much of those costs would be paid by student loans.  Would they be using their experience as proof of how impossibly expensive college is?  ďSee, I went to a community college for two years to keep the price down and Iím STILL drowning in student loans!!Ē
I also found some useful resources at my community college.  Their library (free with student ID), has a HUGE selection (possibly a complete collection) of the most current CLEP and DSST study guides for each subject.  The official study guides are useful because they cover the test topics in exactly the level of depth needed for the test.  Without them you run the risk of falling into a never-ending rabbit hole on certain topics (like Evolution).  There are regularly held talks and presentations by guest speakers and experts on various topics.  There is tons of free or dirt cheap entertainment provided for students such as concerts, art showings, plays, movie screenings etc.  There is a comprehensive list of clubs and organizations that you can join to meet like-minded people.  The college gym is free for students, and of course a student ID offers discounts at tons of other places.
*My brother in law who lives with us is also attending this community college this semester.  He is a recent immigrant with a complex family situation.  Finalizing his financial aid is a nightmare and almost certainly wonít be complete until a month or two into classes.  Thankfully my wife and I are able to assist him, both with the required up front payment so he can register and attend classes, and with making sure his financial aid package is completed correctly to be reimbursed for those upfront costs by grants and loans (if necessary).  If he and his family were on their own though, I canít imagine him being able to pay for school.  The financial aid side of a college education is absolutely disgraceful.
**I was initially really angry about having to buy the access codes for some of these courses.  But then I vaguely recalled that those companies paid the colleges and professors to require those materials.  Standing in line with my required brand new textbook and access code, I soothed some of my anger by telling myself that those brand new editions and codes are much more likely to be used at community colleges, and that portions of those costs contribute to the colleges ability to keep tuition low and offer all those other benefits I mentioned earlier.  Knowing I was going to write a big, detailed post about my experience I decided to dig a little deeper into the specifics of that market and canít really find any tangible benefits besides profit to the companies.  This market really is full of oligarchies, and theyíre bleeding it for everything they can, not to mention using slimy techniques (bribing professors to use their materials) to secure their market position.  I really tried to find some hidden benefit to those unnecessary costs, but couldnít.  Higher costs, lower quality product (multiple reviews saying the wileyplus software was awful and buggy), market dominated by a small number of firms who donít really compete: all the hallmarks of oligarchy.  Iíd love to have someone offer an alternative view but it doesnít seem like there is one.  I donít really have any answers, but Iím very interested in hearing a discussion about it.

robartsd

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2018, 11:25:51 AM »
**I was initially really angry about having to buy the access codes for some of these courses.  But then I vaguely recalled that those companies paid the colleges and professors to require those materials.  Standing in line with my required brand new textbook and access code, I soothed some of my anger by telling myself that those brand new editions and codes are much more likely to be used at community colleges, and that portions of those costs contribute to the colleges ability to keep tuition low and offer all those other benefits I mentioned earlier.  Knowing I was going to write a big, detailed post about my experience I decided to dig a little deeper into the specifics of that market and canít really find any tangible benefits besides profit to the companies.  This market really is full of oligarchies, and theyíre bleeding it for everything they can, not to mention using slimy techniques (bribing professors to use their materials) to secure their market position.  I really tried to find some hidden benefit to those unnecessary costs, but couldnít.  Higher costs, lower quality product (multiple reviews saying the wileyplus software was awful and buggy), market dominated by a small number of firms who donít really compete: all the hallmarks of oligarchy.  Iíd love to have someone offer an alternative view but it doesnít seem like there is one.  I donít really have any answers, but Iím very interested in hearing a discussion about it.
Yes, textbook publishers certainly appear as an oligarchy (and school bookstores tend to be the scapegoats). The sad truth about those access codes is that they are rarely really required to complete the course (best to find out details from the instructor before purchase -- certainly before voiding your option to return for full refund). Some of the instructors know how the game is played and try to get the best value for their students, but the publishers certainly make it easiest for the instructors to be complicit with the schemes to extract maximum value from the students.

Rural

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2018, 06:20:24 PM »

**I was initially really angry about having to buy the access codes for some of these courses.  But then I vaguely recalled that those companies paid the colleges and professors to require those materials.  Standing in line with my required brand new textbook and access code, I soothed some of my anger by telling myself that those brand new editions and codes are much more likely to be used at community colleges, and that portions of those costs contribute to the colleges ability to keep tuition low and offer all those other benefits I mentioned earlier.  Knowing I was going to write a big, detailed post about my experience I decided to dig a little deeper into the specifics of that market and canít really find any tangible benefits besides profit to the companies.  This market really is full of oligarchies, and theyíre bleeding it for everything they can, not to mention using slimy techniques (bribing professors to use their materials) to secure their market position.  I really tried to find some hidden benefit to those unnecessary costs, but couldnít.  Higher costs, lower quality product (multiple reviews saying the wileyplus software was awful and buggy), market dominated by a small number of firms who donít really compete: all the hallmarks of oligarchy.  Iíd love to have someone offer an alternative view but it doesnít seem like there is one.  I donít really have any answers, but Iím very interested in hearing a discussion about it.


Man, I could wish they offered bribes! Not that I would take one, mind - I write open-access textbooks instead. But I can dream.


I can, however, confirm that bribes generally are not offered. What's in it for us professors is the instant feedback for students (well-documented to increase engagement and attention and to encourage more practice) and the auto-grading (easier for the professor). Some of the code-access systems are really good, and some stink utterly.

moneymamas

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2018, 07:08:25 PM »
Have you considered University of the People?  It's an accredited online university and I've heard great things about it.  They essentially only charge processing fees to grade your exams.  And they even offer scholarships beyond that.  They have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration & even an MBA program along with a few other programs. You can essentially get a bachelors for $4060 for the whole 4-year program.  More information here: https://www.uopeople.edu

GreenEggs

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2018, 07:38:50 PM »
Have you considered University of the People?  It's an accredited online university and I've heard great things about it.  They essentially only charge processing fees to grade your exams.  And they even offer scholarships beyond that.  They have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration & even an MBA program along with a few other programs. You can essentially get a bachelors for $4060 for the whole 4-year program.  More information here: https://www.uopeople.edu


That's interesting. First time I've heard about it. 


I couldn't find whether credit from there will transfer to other Universities. 

Rural

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2018, 07:42:07 PM »
Have you considered University of the People?  It's an accredited online university and I've heard great things about it.  They essentially only charge processing fees to grade your exams.  And they even offer scholarships beyond that.  They have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration & even an MBA program along with a few other programs. You can essentially get a bachelors for $4060 for the whole 4-year program.  More information here: https://www.uopeople.edu


That's interesting. First time I've heard about it. 


I couldn't find whether credit from there will transfer to other Universities.


It'll be hit or miss, maybe with a lot of "miss." They have an accreditation, but it's not regional accreditation, which is the gold standard (really the only standard). They have perhaps the best of the nonstandard accreditation options out there, but, well, I wouldn't count on other institutions or employers looking on it as a real degree or real college credits, unfortunately.

moneymamas

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2018, 08:32:43 PM »
Have you considered University of the People?  It's an accredited online university and I've heard great things about it.  They essentially only charge processing fees to grade your exams.  And they even offer scholarships beyond that.  They have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration & even an MBA program along with a few other programs. You can essentially get a bachelors for $4060 for the whole 4-year program.  More information here: https://www.uopeople.edu



That's interesting. First time I've heard about it. 


I couldn't find whether credit from there will transfer to other Universities.


It'll be hit or miss, maybe with a lot of "miss." They have an accreditation, but it's not regional accreditation, which is the gold standard (really the only standard). They have perhaps the best of the nonstandard accreditation options out there, but, well, I wouldn't count on other institutions or employers looking on it as a real degree or real college credits, unfortunately.

Why wouldnít employers recognize it as a real degree or a real college? There are testimonials on their site of people with degrees from there being hired by large well-known employers like IBM. All an HR department would care about is if they had US accreditation, which they do. Sure it might not hold the same stock as a degree from Wharton business school, but that costs a lot more money too. There a is a really great TED talk by the creator about why he created it. All the classes are run by real professors from across the US who volunteer their time to it. Thatís how they manage to have such low rates.

panda

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2018, 11:02:55 PM »
Why wouldnít employers recognize it as a real degree or a real college? There are testimonials on their site of people with degrees from there being hired by large well-known employers like IBM. All an HR department would care about is if they had US accreditation, which they do. Sure it might not hold the same stock as a degree from Wharton business school, but that costs a lot more money too. There a is a really great TED talk by the creator about why he created it. All the classes are run by real professors from across the US who volunteer their time to it. Thatís how they manage to have such low rates.
Depends on the job you are applying for and the regulatory requirements. In a lot of IT areas (my background) the degree is kind of needed in that it gives you an idea of someones breadth of knowledge, but at the end of the day you are going to be testing them as part of the interview. Net result is that it doesn't really matter where your degree is from. However, if you have regulatory requirements for your degree, then something like a regional accreditation requirement might be attached to it.

okonomiyaki

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2018, 03:10:52 AM »
With regards to Uni texybooks, Iím not 100% recommending this strategy, but at least for all of the (over 2 dozen) science courses Iíve been involved in teaching, the uni library had multiple copies of the core textbook, including available as ďfastĒ 2 hour loan. If I were going through uni again, Iíd definitely NOT buy the textbooks, and instead just read them at the library...

robartsd

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2018, 08:44:00 AM »
With regards to Uni texybooks, Iím not 100% recommending this strategy, but at least for all of the (over 2 dozen) science courses Iíve been involved in teaching, the uni library had multiple copies of the core textbook, including available as ďfastĒ 2 hour loan. If I were going through uni again, Iíd definitely NOT buy the textbooks, and instead just read them at the library...
Yes, often the textbook is placed in the library for 1-2 hour in library loans (teachers sometimes do this with their "evaluation" copies). This is more likely the case for traditional text books and less likely the case for literature selections (but those are often available from libraries in the regular circulation). I didn't use this for reading texts, but for at least a few classes, I purchased an old edition and used the library copy to get the problem sets assigned as homework (math and engineering publishers routinely release new editions that change nothing except changing each problem just enough that the old edition is useless for assigned homeowork).

intellectsucks

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #25 on: Today at 09:56:10 AM »
-More updates:
-Passed the Natural Sciences CLEP exam, getting 90%.  Taking this test was a miscalculation on my part.  It covers Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Meteorology, Ecology, Astrology and Environmental Sciences.  I expected it to cover these topics at a very high level but it went into what felt like a fair amount of depth for each.  The test prep textbook that I used to prepare did not go into anywhere close to the level of detail that was actually on the test, particularly in the Chemistry and Environmental sciences sections.  If I had to re-do it, Iíd take the CLEP Biology and Chemistry exams separately first, then take the Natural Sciences.  Oh well.  Biology and Chemistry are definitely the next two on my list.
-Financial aid was just approved for my community college classes.  $1500 in grants!!  WOO HOO!!!  That means that with the reimbursements from my employer for the CLEP tests Iíll have gotten the equivalent of 6 college classes for about $300 and the only reason Iím paying that much is because I wonít be working for this company when I finish these classes.  If was still working here at that time, theyíd reimburse me the cost of those classes as well, making my total costs for 6 college classes ZERO.
-Related to the above, my employer currently reimburses full time employees up to $5250 per year for tuition and fees for any CLEP/DSST tests or accredited college courses.  Part time employees are reimbursed up to $1200/year.  This is a very common and underutilized employee benefit that a lot of large companies offer.  If I was just graduating high school, I would do my best to start working for a company with a generous tuition reimbursement program, then try to arrange my class schedule in a way that allows me to work full time.  $5250 is about the full yearly tuition for the community college that Iím attending, so theoretically you could be fully reimbursed for any community college classes you take. The work load would certainly be difficult, but considering how many hours I spent leveling up characters in Diablo II during that period of my life, I think I could have somehow fit in school work and employment.
-I expect to take 3-5 more CLEP/DSST exams before the end of the year.  This will put me at the equivalent of 9-12 college classes in about five months for less than $1000.  Theoretically, a high school graduate could complete almost two years of college credits completely for free by the end of their first college semester.

katsiki

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Re: Full college degree, over 33% savings
« Reply #26 on: Today at 02:51:38 PM »
Awesome job!  Keep going and you'll be done before you know it.