College for America/ SNHU

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by hmsmark1977, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. hmsmark1977

    hmsmark1977 New Member

    Does anyone know if SNHU has any plans to open up their College for America to everyone or offer similar competency based programs through their main SNHU school?

    They are always listed as an innovator in Competency Based Education, but you can only attend CfA if your employer is one of their partners. My wife would be a perfect fit for one of their degrees, but she can't change jobs and her employer won't partner with them.

    I can't see why they don't let everyone apply. Their website says the employers don't pay a fee, though they may pay part or all of their employee's tuition as a benefit. They partner with McDonalds, the stereotypical 'bottom of the barrel' employer, so it can't be to ensure a certain type of qualified student student...
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    McDonalds gets a very bad rap. I worked at one when I was in high school. It was a revolving door. Most people walk in, work a few shifts and then either get fired for stealing or walk out and never return. There, at least back then, was no vetting of potential employees. If you applied you would eventually get hired as they made it to your application down in the stack. My "interview" consisted of filling out a W-4 and being handed a name tag and shirt.

    I, like most of my contemporaries there, left and never looked back as soon as we found a job that paid a few cents more per hour. But my GM was a registered dietician (irony noted) who left his job as a Director of Food Service at a nursing home to manage a McDonalds because the pay was significantly better. A GM, in many areas, can bring in over $50k. And area managers overseeing multiple restaurants can earn over $100k.

    The vast majority of McDonalds employees who fit the stereotype of a McDonalds employee are not interested in college or in taking advantage of the McDonalds scholarship program.

    Of course, my experience was before the proliferation of for-profit schools, so maybe the recruiting in that sector encouraged more participation. I would say that a partnership with a company like McDonalds likely has more to do with having a very large, typically non-college educated workforce on hand. The McDonalds scholarship isn't terribly much. But it would go much farther in a program like this. McDonalds looks like a hero and SNHU gets plenty of participants for the pilot phase.

    Will it open up to everyone? Maybe eventually. I don't know SNHU's motivation or what they hope to accomplish with the program. I suspect they don't want to just offer a cheap alternative to their current offerings but do want to expand into the corporate partnerships that many for-profits rely on (Note: SNHU is not a for-profit school but they borrow heavily from the strategic playbook of the for-profit operators).
  3. Pugbelly2

    Pugbelly2 Member

    I am an employer that partners with SNHU/CfA. There isn't a fee, but there are very real costs. First, they require an employer to send groups of students through the program. One or two students isn't enough. We send groups of 10. Secondly, they require the employer to heavily subsidize the employee's tuition. We pay for the employee's initial 6 month term. The second term we cover at 75% if progress goals are net. Subsequent terms are on the employee. Finally, an employer is required to assign a "coach" to keep the employees motivated and on track. The costs add up. I think it's a great program, but it definitely isn't free to the employer.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2016
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    In general, whenever an organization says something is "free" or comes at "no cost" or has "no fee" my immediate question is that they must be generating revenue from some source. It takes money to keep the lights on and the staff paid.

    Find a car dealership that boasts their salespeople are salaried, not paid by commission. My experience has shown that they are salaried. But they get a "bonus" based upon the number of cars sold (I.e. A commission).

    Anyway, corporate partnerships can bring a lot of value without charging an employer a fee. First they get the tuition. But they also get a concentration of alumni within that organization. That means some nice word of mouth, generally more favorable employer treatment and expanding your student base.

    My company partnered with Capella for a time (we still have them as a preferred school on our approved list). The result is that you couldn't throw a stapler without hitting a Capella grad in this office. They're all generally friendly toward Capella and feel that they received a quality education. I'd say we get at least 5-10 requests for study at Capella each year (always graduate I've never seen one come through for undergrad). This one partnership continues to bear fruit for Capella at a significantly lower acquisition cost than blasting our area with TV ads.

    But none of us can see, exactly, why SNHU doesn't expand this to everyone. None of us were at the meeting. We didn't see the PowerPoint with the financial forecasts or the marketing analysis. SNHU has an angle and we don't know where that fits in to their overall strategic vision.

    Honestly, I don't think competency based programs are as sought after as they are in these boards. I think it's probably a fairly small segment of the DL market. It appeals to a highly motivated type of student. I'd bet that the majority want and need the structure of a regular program with due dates and specific course end dates. So in a market segment dominated by WGU and, to a lesser extent, Patten, Capella and others, how successful will SNHU be in this space? The success or failure of this program, according to metrics only known within SNHU, will likely determine if this becomes a new direction for SNHU, something they toss out entirely, or just something small they maintain on the side to diversify their revenue streams.

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