Leave Strayer for American Intercontinental University?

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by pcguy, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. pcguy

    pcguy New Member

    Hi All,

    I'm looking for some advice....

    I'm currently attending Strayer, and I have a long way to go. But the online classes are really good, and I'm enjoying the program thusfar...

    I've recently learned about AIU. Their online program looks somewhat comparable, and they say you can earn your bachelors in 13 months (this is providing you are at the Associates level).

    I'm looking for anyone who can comment on AIU, experiences, etc... From what I've read, they seem to be a great choice.

    Any info appreciated!

    PS- My motivation to move from Strayer to AIU is strictly based on course completion time.
  2. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    I graduated from the M.I.T. program at AIU.

    I did the traditional on-campus program which emphasises working in "teams". (Collaborative learning.)

    When I enrolled they did not offer an on-line version and I am not familiar with their on-line offerings. I don't know if they are able to keep the collaborative model in the online program or not.

    So ... I'll offer a few general comments about AIU:

    The course content is good. It's better than some content I have seen in other comparable schools. Since they are a private, for-profit college they are very fast to implement or update courses to match what employers demand. (That's the good part.)

    On the negative side: The administration and organization is horrid. (I'm trying to be nice.) All schools are bad in this area to some extent, but AIU *really* falls down here. I keep hoping that they will improve, and perhaps they will, but be prepared to track people down and hold them accountable.

    They are also extremely expensive (IMHO). My two year Masters ended with a $48,000 student loan. I did get a good education so I won't complain, but it's something to be mindful of.

    Just to recap: If you are willing to bear the expense, and jump through the required hoops then you will end up with a very good education from AIU. (Again, from my perspective as an on-campus student.)

    Please let me know if you have any questions, and do keep us posted on your decision.

    - Ellis
  3. pcguy

    pcguy New Member

    Great info - thanks

    Thanks for your reply....

    Even though my employer pays 100% tuition, they have a cap of $7000 per year for undergrad, and $9000 per year for grad....

    Since the AIU undergrad is 13 months long (qualifies for 2 years), I can only squeeze $14,000 out of them....which means I would have to finance appx $11,000 myself...

    I can go for free (totally) at Strayer - so that's where I have to stay. I would love to zip thru at AIU, but you're right - it's WAY overpriced.

    Thanks again!
  4. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    Re: Great info - thanks

    Hmm .... If I could have gotten through AIU for $11,000 I would have jumped on it. (Remember, I paid nearly 5X that much, granted it was for a graduate degree.)

    Anyway: Good luck to you!
  5. pcguy

    pcguy New Member



    But I'm already maxed out with student loans with my wife :)

    Not to mention, I'm not really excited about NOT being able to take a quarter/semester off if needed.

    I wish I would have found this school 4 years ago!

    Such is life....:)
  6. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    Re: AIU

    Heh heh .... I totally understand.

    Best of luck to you!
  7. Lowell Kinzer

    Lowell Kinzer Member

    A thread about AIU last December piqued my interest in the school, so I requested information from AIU about their Bachelor in Information Technology 2 + 2 Option program curriculum and fees. After five requests, submitted over a period of three months, I finally received a form message directing me to a web site where I could download the information I was seeking using a user account and password provided in the message.

    I thought that the curriculum was suitable for an IT degree, however the cost was more than I am willing to pay. The curriculum consists of ten quarter-length courses and AIU offers five quarters per year. The tuition, according to the March 1, 2002 Tuition and Fees schedule is US$226.60 per unit. Each course is ten units. The total cost of the BIT program is listed as US$25,135 (includes tuition, course materials, application fee, and graduation fee).

    The cost was the major deterrent for me. That AIU is owned by Career Education Corporation, a publicly traded for-profit company, means that their primary responsibility is to the shareholders, not the students. Another negative, in my opinion. It also bothered me that curriculum and fees information was not readily available on at least one the AIU web sites.


    Lowell Kinzer
    [email protected]
  8. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    In CEC's defense, it is in the best interest of the shareholders to please the students, thus building value into the AIU brand through reputation.

    If you *don't* take the students needs into account you will see the value of the school and the revenues of CEC diminish considerably.

    Also: Don't let "not-for-profit" schools fool you, they are just as profit motivated as the corporate based schools (Devry U, AIU, and others). I actually think we had a thread on this some time back.

    Onto the nex topic: I'm kind of surprised that ANY school offers 10 credit courses at the undergrad level. (And to think that I had to take a gaziliion 3 and 4 credit courses.)
  9. Lowell Kinzer

    Lowell Kinzer Member

    I understand quite well that not-for-profit schools might seek profits as aggressively as for-profit schools. But because the primary responsibility of a publicly traded for-profit school is to its shareholders, making a profit is automatically job number one (though I suppose there could be exceptions). Therefore education is less important than making a profit, and it is that which I find objectionable. At least not-for-profit schools can decide for themselves whether their primary mission will be profits, education, research, or whatever.
    I, too, was surprised that such a high number of credits were awarded for quarter-length courses. I've taken only semester-length courses, so far, and the credits have been 0.5 to 5 per course. Perhaps credit inflation is a natural parallel to grade inflation? :rolleyes:

    Lowell Kinzer
    [email protected]
  10. EllisZ

    EllisZ New Member

    I disagree that profit being job one is always a bad thing. Good business practices must still be followed. If one wants to remain profitable for a long-time then one must consistently provide a good product. (In this case the product is education.) So .. if they want to create value for their stakeholders (which goes beyond shareholders BTW) then they must provide, and continue to provide a superior educational product in comparison to their competitors. If this starts to sound like the same motivation that not-for-profits have, it should.

    You can't provide an inferior product and expect people to keep coming back and giving you cash. I'd venture to say that this is MORE true in academia since the word about quality and reputation tends to travel so fast.


    As for your comment about grade inflation and credit inflation, heh heh ... I concur.

    Question: When you checked out AIU's undergrad program, did they require the potential student to already have his associates degree (or equivalent) prior to enrollment?

    Take care,
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2002
  11. Lowell Kinzer

    Lowell Kinzer Member

    When it comes to educational institutions, perhaps we can agree to disagree. A publicly traded for-profit company has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the return on its shareholders investments by legal, though not necessarily moral, means. That typically means maximizing sales above all else.

    My concern is that when it comes time to balance financial gain and educational standards, the latter will be compromised in favor of the former more often than not.
    I would argue that a product doesn't have to be good to sell well, it need only be popular. Allow me to illustrate using the subject of another thread on DegreeInfo.

    One could argue that Kennedy-Western University does not produce a "good" product, yet it endures because it produces a (somewhat, at least) popular product of arguably limited utility. They wrap themselves in a cloak of faculty from regionally accredited schools, implying that those RA-educated folk will of their own volition maintain RA-level standards. KWU concurrently discounts regional accreditation as inapplicable to its educational model, which might be characterized as a graduate trade school. It seems that KWU wants to benefit from the standards of regional accreditation without having to actually meet those standards. Effective marketing can be a powerful sales tool.
    You've widened the scope. Creating value for stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, local community, suppliers, and others) is entirely optional. Certainly it would behoove a publicly traded for-profit school to court stakeholders, but it is not obliged to do so.
    If this were universally true, less-than-wonderful schools and degree/diploma mills wouldn't last as long as they do, would they? Word may travel fast, but how wide is the distribution? Is it reaching the intended recipients? If so, do they have sufficient knowledge to properly interpret the message?

    A company producing marginal products can last quite a long time with a low customer retention rate if it has effective marketing and the potential customer base is large. By the time customers discover the product is marginal, the company has moved on to the next unwary customer. Churn, baby, Churn! Should profits begin to fall, some companies simply start marketing new products under different brand names. And the cycle is repeated ad infinitum
    The Bachelors Degree in Information Technology - 2+2 Option, which is only available via AIU Online, requires an Associate (A.A., A.S. or A.A.S) degree or equivalent. The latter can be comprised of credits transferred from an "accredited postsecondary institution", exams (Advanced Placement, CLEP, Computer Compentency, or DANTES), "Extrainstitutional Credit/Experiential Learning," and "DANTES/Military Credit."


    Lowell Kinzer
    [email protected].com

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