pennfoster college are they scam

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by fahad, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    Not neccessarily.....when I applied to my graduate programs, they wanted the official transcript from my Associate's degree, even though all the credits were listed in transfer on my Bachelor's transcript. If someone has NA credits on a RA transcript, the accepting school might ask for both transcripts, and not accept the credits because they are originally from a NA school.
  2. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    We used to get this a lot, someone ‘banked’ a bunch of credits at one of these types of schools and then tried to use that transcript to transfer the credits around. The AACRAO registrar standard is to receive original transcript from the issuing institution. NA or RA doesn’t have anything to do with it. Further, it is the call of the receiving institution which credits they will take. What I used to do if someone was having trouble transferring NA credits from my school was contact the state ED department and accrediting body of the school and ask if they had policies to reject credits solely on the basis of the issuing school legitimate accreditation. I would then go to the school with this answer (which was always no) and about 80% of the time everything got quickly worked out.
  3. rosemarie.keeton

    rosemarie.keeton New Member


    My husband is looking into this school for graphics design. Is this school going to be right for him to start and finish at penn foster? Not being RA will affect his employability won't it? And where can I find any other info on their reputation with employers?
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    PF is cheap and flexible, these are its main two strengths. However, its courses have zero instructor support and the degree has low credibility.
    I would not advice PF for someone to break into a new job. If your husband already has plenty of work experience and just needs a degree to fill the gap, then PF might be the answer but if your husband is looking for a name in his resume to get that first job in the field, I wouldn't advice this school.

    My wife used PF credits to finish a degree at Excelsior, Excelsior is RA and can be used for admission into a graduate program so it has some use. A PF degree has very limited utility, other than to satisfy "a legal" degree in your resume is not going to impress employers nor is going to allow you to gain admission into a good grad school.

    In few words, you get what you pay for.
  5. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    I am currently taking CJ courses from Penn Foster. If I have a question I can pick up the phone, during regular business hours, and get an instructor to answer my question (and I have a few times). Otherwise, I e-mail and usually hear back within a day or two. Instead of using low "credibility" I'd use the word low "recognizability". Even after being in business for almost 120 yrs. the have low recognizability. Their credibility stands upon their longevity, being nationally accredited, and most of their courses being ACE reviewed.
  6. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    While I agree that a Penn Foster degree will have lower utility than one from Excelsior, let's not kid ourselves into thinking Excelsior has some great, recognizable name because nothing could be further from the truth. Excelsior's name recognition is very low. Excelsior is just the Penn Foster of RA programs in many ways, with the exception that Excelsior's fees are disproportionate to its utility/quality, whereas Penn Foster is priced just about right.
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    No need to bash Excelsior. Most people that I know use PF to fill credits for a degree from the 3 big three that includes Excelsior.
    Once you have a degree from an RA school, you can go into a better graduate school.
    Excelsior is an excellent choice for those interested in earning an RA degree that won't cost a fortune but it is not for those looking for a prestigious degree.

    PF, Excelsior or any of the low tier RA or NA degrees are not meant to impress employers but to provide with an accredited degree for those adults already in the work place. For those interested to break into a particular industry without much working experience, a degree from a traditional school with Coop programs, professional networking, placement services, etc is the best place to go.
  8. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    There are several hundred RA schools in the USA with low name recognition. But since EC is RA I had no trouble enrolling in two Grad programs.

    Re ECs cost - a degree can be acquired there at very little cost if one takes low cost courses at other locations then transfers the credit to EC; I attended about a dozen schools in both the UK and USA then transferred the credits to EC.
  9. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Check Linkedin, there are hundreds of EC graduates working in Academia, government, industry, etc. Many use the degree as step in stone for a graduate degree.

    EC is a member of the University of the State of New York, this gives the school some credibility. The school is also ABET accredited for its engineering programs and it has a nursing school.

    However, the OP is asking for PF and not EC. I have limited experience with PF other than my wife taking some courses there. Most of the courses were self taught, the courses consisted in a textbook and a set of multiple choice exams. I helped my wife with some of the exams and they were easy, most of the questions required you just to look at the course booklet examples.

    So I guess it depends what are you looking for, the school is affordable and an excellent choice for someone with limited time and budget just looking to expand knowledge and end with an accredited credential. However, I wouldn't advice it for someone looking for a career change or something to catch the eye in a resume.
  10. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    I don't know what courses your wife took at PF but I've taken courses in business with them and currently in criminal justice. None of the courses have been cakewalks and some have been surprisingly extensive. My current course in criminalistics (forensic science for non-science persons) requires that you read the text (yes fellow students you actually have to read the textbook), answer questions as you proceed through the readings (most are question and answer) and then take a MC exam on each four chapter section. There is a project to do at the end of the course requiring research and a proctored exam to be taken at the end of the semester. Sure it's open book but you only have an hour to produce satisfactory answers in essay form. If you haven't done your due diligence you won't learn anything and can't show satisfactory proof that you have learned the material. Now are there shortcuts that can be taken? Sure, aren't there always? But you're ultimately cheating yourself out of the knowledge to be gained. Is it a top tier university? No but it does the job.
  11. rosemarie.keeton

    rosemarie.keeton New Member

    What criteria should someone looking to enroll and graduate from one school, instead of picking and choosing 18 school transfers when starting out with a new career feild? I thought it was just NA or no accredidation of any kind. I had no idea about RA till a few months ago....
  12. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I did not want to start a debate of EC vs PF. These are two different schools for two different markets. EC is not really for someone looking to start from scratch. EC is a solution for someone that started a degree 20 years ago and never finished and now wants to go back to school and get an accredited degree to move on in life. EC takes pretty much any previous credits and allows you to transfer any credits you have towards an accredited degree. My wife for example has two university certificates and a bunch of courses here and there so she decided to finish a BS degree so she can become a certified accountant. The RA degree works as it satisfies the CPA requirements and the prestige is not an issue because she already has lots of working experience but needs a RA degree to move on.

    PF is a different story, PF is ideal for someone that already works in industry and cannot afford a fortune to get a RA degree and it doesn't have the time to take courses that go on a specific schedule. PF is ideal just to fill a gap in a resume and just to say that you have an accredited degree in a field but it won't impress employers neither will allow you to go into an RA grad school . It is also something that would be hard to use for someone looking to break into a new industry as it is not a school that people know as prestigious. As someone mentioned before, it does the job for someone that just needs a degree to show competency in a field.

    For someone that is looking to change a career, neither PF or EC are good options in my opinion. For this, you would need to enroll in a school that offers placement services, has industry connections, etc so you can break into the industry of your choice.

    There are many schools that might help your husband, just do a search in the advanced search options of this forum for you to see the options available for the field of your choice. Most schools that might help your husband are Bricks and Mortar schools that have reputation and might offer the placement services that can help you to gain employment in your field of choice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2012
  13. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I'm not bashing Excelsior by pointing out its very low name recognition, I'm simply stating a fact, and one that should be mentioned because I just notice that the minute someone mentions an NA degree--or honestly a degree from anywhere--out come the "Big 3" recommendations.

    I'm not saying the Big 3 is dog food exactly, but the way it's promoted around here would make one believe the Big 3 is the answer to all online education needs, lol.
  14. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    But that has more to do with EC being RA than it does have anything to do with its name recognition.

    But what does that say about EC itself? That really makes it look like a fail-safe option rather than a first choice. And if I have to take course elsewhere just to sidestep its fees, it seems like a better idea to just get the degree someplace else. Don't get me wrong, I do see some good points of EC and the other "Big 3" programs, but the constant promotion of them here has become terribly predictable.
  15. Jwilha84

    Jwilha84 New Member

    Need to know

    I'm wanting to get my basics done though PF and the transfer my credits to the university of Phoenix online to get my bachelors dagree I just want to get my basics out of the way why I'm trying to get a loan out of default and its looks like PF would be a good option but I wanna to be sure first before I spend all that money and get what I need done but I wanna be sure my credits will transfer first
  16. silvertoday

    silvertoday New Member

    I am curious about the comments about employers. I have been in busienss 30 years and have hired many employees- while some colleges I would recognize for specific expertise, I rarely bothered ( or cared) if college I hadnt heard of.For business at least generally in interview I could figure out pretty quickly quality of education person had, and combined with resume particular suitability to particular time went out I did find quality of education at Bachelor level I began to consider like a high school degree if from the US. For busienss though I found European Master's degree way way too general compared to US ones.

    I know law firms or investment banks or CPA firms pay more attention, but frankly a degree form Penn Foster I woudl guess 80% of businesses would accept as any otehr degree.
  17. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    I have been in business for 30 years plus also and have hired GED's to PhD's. They've run the gamut in knowledge. All of my people bring something to the table. In my industry experience is king. All I look at is whether the person is motivated to learn our system and depending on the job description whether they have the requisite degree or not. Penn Foster fits the bill for most of our job offerings
  18. olk555

    olk555 New Member

    I attend Penn Foster. most of the courses are now aligned with Dantes and other test ous like clep, excelsior college. so they will transfer to any school that accepts Dantes. BUT, college English is bad. First the instructions are very vague. then, it is a mater of your instructor's opinion as to what grade you get. I started with high school and then took college english, still working on that and intro to computer. since I had classes to the 10th grade my $900 only let me have 2 college courses instead of more s promised. I was going to take more, but there is too much opinion on essays. many of the instructors don't even have a degree yet, but are finishing with penn foster. I bet they got it easy compared to everyone else.

    I had a college graduate who is smart look over my papers and I tested it online t a doctorate level, both resulted in a good review. then the grader, only gave me a 74, with no chance to correct the paper. Plus, when I download the graded paper, it can't even be opened. I'd think their instructors would be better qualified. I have no problem downloading stuff, been doing that for years. I am starting to see why people pay around $1000 to have someone, usually with a master's degree do the work for them. Another online english class should be much easier at a real college such as a community college as they are cheaper. The only advantage is that English does not have an exam, but you have to write a journal with vague instructions.
  19. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    I studied with Penn Foster for two semesters, and despite what you have read in this thread, I learned a lot and the courses were rigorous. I was enrolled in the AS in Marketing program. I was hired at my current job and offered a position at ITT Technical Institute in part because I was pursuing my education through Penn Foster (I originally enrolled when it was called Education Direct). Yes, the exams are open book, but I had to re-take two exams. They were not a walk in the park.

    My wife enrolled in the Catering diploma course, and she enjoyed it quite a bit. She did it for her own education/enjoyment, and had nothing but compliments about the course.

    Will a Penn Foster degree get you a job in a Fortune 500 company? Probably not. Will you get an education in a Penn Foster degree program? I did.
  20. PilgrimPastor

    PilgrimPastor New Member

    Penn Foster College is most certainly NOT a scam. I have a bookkeeping certificate from them from years ago, about 2002 I earned it, when they were Harcourt Learning Direct / Thompson Learning Direct. The point here is what will you be using the degree / certificate for? They are not a scam. They are accredited by an agency (DETC) that is recognized for education and vocational training by CHEA. Their focus is vocational and the education is good.

    For those naysayers of of DETC accredited schools what is it about such training that is deficient? They impart information which students are encouraged to acquire as knowledge and apply as vocation. In which of these these three basic facets of education are they deficient? Its been a while since I took courses but at that time they were up to date and the certificate met the needs that I had at the time for Federally recognized credits for a career I was pursuing at the time. I paid for the education with military benefits. They are legitimate.

Share This Page