No longer care if the degree is RA

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Bantockesq, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. Bantockesq

    Bantockesq New Member

    It's been a while since I've posted, but it's primarily due my increase in writing assignments from my editor and a new manuscript editing gig I've acquired through a government contract that I'm very excited about.

    Although I desperately want to earn my degree since I'm now 50 years of age, I'm quickly coming to the point where I'm not so sure that a regionally accredited degree is what I actually need. I do, however, want a degree through a reputable institution.

    The primary reasons for my decision is based on financial and time constraints. I'm don't qualify for grants, but I can get a school loan. Here's my situation... I don't want to ding my credit score at this time since upon selling my townhouse I'll be in the market to purchase a house. After that time, I can get a student loan, but I'm ready to begin now. Now is the time.

    Please recommend a few reputable, non-regionally accredited schools where I might be able to earn my degree. I'm assuming they are less expensive. Also, if I might be able to acquire my masters without having completed a BA, that would be great. If not, that's fine, too.

    Very sincerely,
  2. NWLearner

    NWLearner Member

    I wouldn't go there if I were you. It's not that there aren't any reputable non-regionally accredited schools, but for most people that's just not a great idea, especially with so many regionally accredited options available. Do you still need lower-division courses? If so, you could get started at a community college.
  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    There are many people who are very satisfied with their non-RA degrees and will defend them to the death. You very well could be one of those people one day, at which point you will have accomplished something to be proud of, but you'd want to first be sure that you are unlikely to develop goals that would require the completion of an RA degree (for example, that you might one day suddenly wake up with the desire to be a CPA or a high school teacher). Not that you couldn't get an RA degree at some other time, but that you might appreciate spending your efforts to making sure that that milestone is a thing of the past before the need might arise.

    I have a feeling that a person of your (still quite young!) age has enough experience and foresight to be able to competently answer that question for yourself :yup:

    Well, that's good news! :D

    There are many reasons why some people choose nationally accredited or unaccredited schools, but financial and time constraints aren't among the best. For every great deal to be found in the DETC world, for example, you are likely to find something comparable in price and time expenditure in the RA world.

    The least expensive option that I am aware of is: University of the People The courses are tuition-free, but in order to get credit, you need to pay a $100 fee to take the final exam. that amounts to an effective tuition rate of $33.33/credit for a 3-credit course :eek:mfg: They are DETC accredited.

    Some options exist, but they are not easy routes. There are others more knowledgeable than I who can give you some direction on that endeavor.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2014
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Or, since you mention TESC in your signature, take some CLEP tests until you're willing to take out the loan.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Unless I missed it the op hasn't said what subject area has his interest.
  6. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    An RA degree is actually cheaper, in fact, there are several options that max testing out, and come in at around $5ooo ish or less. Going "down" to an NA won't be faster or cheaper, not sure what the draw is unless it were a specific school that specialized in something unique. Also not sure why taking on a student loan would even be on your radar. It doesn't pay for exam credit, and it's totally unnecessary. I'm not trying to be harsh, but I'd suggest taking a small step back, pause, do a bit more research, then resume your plan. Spending a bit of time researching here will save you thousands of dollars and years of valuable time.
  7. Bantockesq

    Bantockesq New Member

    Area of Interest: Writing. Originally Psychology or SW

    Originally, I wanted to study Psychology in the interest of counseling others. An MSW would have been nice, however, since my daytime job is writing for various newspapers and editing manuscripts, I thought I might as well get my degree in Writing, since it's write up my alley:)

    I know the right thing to do, and what I've always wanted to do is acquire a RA degree, but I had no idea I'd let this amount of time pass.
    Very sincerely,
    Ms. Bantockesq
  8. JWC

    JWC New Member

    You could always check out Distance Education and Training Council | National Accreditor of Distance Education Institutions for a list of nationally accredited schools many of which are fairly inexpensive. I hold three master's from DETC-accredited schools. Just hit the "search" button without filling in any blanks for a complete list. Best wishes.
  9. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Since you mentioned Psychology or MSW then you have to look for RA and Professionally accredited program.
    There is a professional accreditor for Social Work degrees and the APA for Psychology degrees.

    As to DETC, the nice thing about the NA schools is that some of them have monthly payment plan.

    For example at California Coast University you pay down payment of 300 USD and then 125 USD per month.

    degree programs through School of Behavioral Science:

    A.S. - Associate of Science in Psychology
    B.S. - Bachelor of Science in Psychology
    M.S. - Master of Science in Psychology

    M.S. - Master of Science in Psychology | Online Degree Programs - California Coast University

    Another option is UNISA
    This is a school that is equated to RA accredited, it has inexpensive degree programs by DL.
    In other words, a complete B.A. degree will cost about US$5600 in tuition fees only. Master's Dissertation about US$1985 per year, and Doctoral Dissertation about US$2264 per year. This does not include externally purchased textbooks, which some modules will require.
    Abner likes this.
  10. GoodYellowDogs

    GoodYellowDogs New Member

    I just finished my BS at age 60... and enrolled in a MBA program... go for it!
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    If you can't afford to pay for TESC out of pocket, then how are you going to afford to pay for an NA degree out of pocket? As Cookderosa said, you can complete the degree for less than $5,000. There is no need for a payment plan because you pay for and take tests when you want. You won't have to worry about owing a school money and them holding your diploma and transcripts until your balance is paid. TESC's business degree will come out to be cheaper than University of the People's.
  12. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    Unless you know with certainty that a non-RA degree will meet all your present/future needs, I would encourage you to stay with an RA school. There may be a very few cases where 10-20 years from now one would say, "I didn't need an RA degree, I should have gone with a NA credential." There will be exponentially more cases where 10-20 years from now one would say, "Wow, I wish I had gone the RA route, I didn't anticipate this transition in my career/interests/vocation/etc., and this new direction requires an RA degree. My recommendation? Stay with RA.
  13. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    How will a writing degree help you, exactly? You're already writing - will this open more doors for you down the road?

    It sounds as though you are settling on a writing degree because that's what you do but would prefer to go a route your conscious mind desires, which is to help others. Figure out if you want your intellect to rule or your desire - which serves you now? Which will benefit you later? Which one will you regret 10, 15, 20 years from now - getting a writing degree or not getting a Psy degree...

    Also, you said that you had "let this amount of time time pass" which why you're thinking NA rather than RA; and you've always wanted an RA degree...

    Is there an urgency to obtaining a degree? Why are you thinking of an NA degree when what you clearly want is an RA degree?

    You have some thinking / soul searching to do.. don't rush into regrets.
  14. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    You may be in for a rude awakening as you'll find that a large majority of non-RA programs cost as much or more. NA does not automatically mean cheaper.

    You should look into schools with monthly, quarterly or bi-yearly payment programs. There are even RA programs out there doing this; Patten University has a monthly payment program and it's very affordable.
  15. Just a thought.. Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey may be what you are looking for.
  16. mcjon77

    mcjon77 Member

    Just in case you missed it, Steve gave you some EXCELLENT advice right here.

    CLEP test generally run about $100 where I live, and you can get anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours (for some of the foreign language tests) worth of college credit.

    Best of all, you can start studying for CLEP tests for even less. Look at the tests that you want to take and pick up a study guide. You can find good study guides/used books on amazon for $20 or less TOTAL per class. Heck, you can probably find a series of recorded lectures covering the topic you want for FREE on Youtube or iTunes. Study until you are ready, then pay the $100 and get your 3-12 credit hours. If you took a test every 3 months, with an average credit allotment of 4 credit hours per course, you would only spend about $400 per year on tests and $80 on books. At the end of the year you would have 16 credit hours, which is pretty close to how many credit hours you would have going to school part time for the year.

    There really is no point going to a non-RA school for a bachelor's degree anymore. They ARE NOT cheaper, and they are generally less useful.
  17. bceagles

    bceagles Member

    One of the first things I learned from this forum, many moons ago at this point, is that the first thing you should do when determining which school to attend is to identify accreditation. RA or not, basically. The message is clear, RA is the gold standard. Every major college / university, Harvard down to your local community college, is RA.

    I’m still struggling to get my head around the whole NA “Thing”. I don’t mean to be critical, help me sort this out!

    Reasons to attend an NA institution:

    Unique program not offered elsewhere - I think ITT Tech offered some unique Robotics related programs back in the day. Your local community college / 4 year state school probably didn’t offer a Robotics program.

    Technical / Vocational training - If you didn’t have access to a Vocational high school and had interest in working in “The Trades”. Electrician, plumber, auto body, mechanic,etc. This makes sense for an NA school.

    State Licensing - similar to Vocational Training, if one wants to obtain a professional state license (master electrician, plumber, etc,) a local NA training school might be a fit.

    Beauty School, Hairdresser, Barber - same as state licensing

    Career training for entry level positions - I remember ads in the late 90s for Lincoln Tech promoting their IT Help desk training program. “Start a career in High Tech in 9 months”.

    Very Niche profession training - locksmithing, piano tuning, bicycle mechanic, massage, etc. These types of programs don’t typically exist at the RA institutions.

    Religious training - plenty of RA institutions offer religious studies and pastoral related degrees, so this one is more of a stretch. A Philosophy degree from an RA school is also an option for entrance into the religious field, I believe. An NA religious training program that is specific for your particular denomination might make sense.

    General Training on a topic - If you are looking to pick up a skill set quickly, like Microsoft office or Other software package. Maybe a quick and efficient way to add to the “skills and training” section of ones resume.

    Transferability- if the program is ACE, for example, and you are looking for a unique way to transfer credits into an RA program. This could work.

    Cost - Although it doesn’t sound like this is the case, maybe the program you are looking for is cheaper at an NA institution and money is your #1 issue.

    Flexibility - I would find it had to believe, but maybe an NA program offers you the flexibility that works best for your life. Between online offerings, distance learning structures, and testing out options available at the RAs, I doubt this is an advantage offered by NAs.

    Acceptance - If you were unable to get into a RA institution and an NA was your only option. There are plenty of 100% acceptance RAs out there between the non profits, for profits, big 3, and community colleges. This is also a stretch.

    Academic performance - If you are not a strong student and need an easy program, maybe there is an NA in which you could be successful. There are plenty of non competitive RA schools that are considered “easy”. Also a stretch.

    Not interested in “Gen Eds” - maybe there is a NA program that doesn’t have English, Math, History, or Social Science requirements. Some students might struggle with non applied learning.

    Military - Maybe your specific military training fulfills the majority of an NA degree requirements, so for only a few courses and short money you can gain an NA degree. Ok, I get this scenario.

    I understand that not everyone fits in the same category and that NAs can fill in a lot of the gaps. I struggle, as a product of the non traditional RA model (Excelsior College), why bother with the potential obstacles your NA degree could create. In most cases, one of the big 3 will be the most flexible, potentially the most cost effective, and most importantly the most widely accepted.

    The biggest risk of an NA degree that I can see is listing it under the Education section of your resume and being called out for not being an acceptable degree. I could see it as being perceived as lying on some level, in some situations. “You indicated on your application that you had an undergraduate degree, we don’t recognize XYZ as an acceptable institution”

    Maybe I’m missing something here?

    I’ve considered finding a NA program related to Microsoft Office. I’d like to get up to speed on the latest features and shortcuts. I also wouldn’t mind adding a line to resume related to my technical skills. I would be ok with adding an NA school under my training and skills section, but not the education portion.

    I’m not bashing NAs here, just trying to figure out where they fit based on the RA options that are currently out there.
  18. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    2014? Ok, I erased my comments.
  19. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Precisely. I might add that an unaccredited degree would also be acceptable, if the school is known and respected within the denomination. Eg., if I suddenly felt a call to ordained ministry, St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary in South Bound Brook NJ would be near the top of my list. Even outside of the UOC-USA, one would see that St. Sophia is headed by Bp. Daniel, and he sits on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops (actually, he's within the Patriarchate of Constantinople) and conclude that the school is fine. And for those in the UOC-USA - Bp. Daniel is the Vocations Director, so he both signs the diploma and is in charge of recognizing it. Accreditation simply plays no role (however, Apostolic Succession does).

    Similarly, ROCOR candidates and those drawn to the conservative Russian tradition (ugh!) would consider NY-accredited Holy Trinity in Jordanville NY the very top school, above RA/ATS St. Vlad's and Holy Trinity (of the Greek Archdiocese). There are examples of this in other denominations (Bob Jones used to be one of these for some Religious Right Evangelicals; PCC is now).
  20. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    This gives me a chuckle, because I thought Ashworth would work as this for Early Childhood Education in Ontario. It worked, sort of, but I should have stuck to RA.

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