Self-Paced Bachelors Degree For Less Than $2000?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by toyangco, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. toyangco

    toyangco New Member


    I've been searching around online and eventually found this forum. Been reading on it for almost three days now. Your insights are truly helpful and I hope you can point me in the right direction.
    I'm currently looking to enroll in a school that offers a self-paced online degree but would really like to do it within my budget.

    I own a small business here in the Philippines for about 8 years now and can say that I've been doing well enough to feed the family and send my kids to school without finishing my university degree in Business Administration. I first thought of taking night/weekend school but didn't like taking that time away from my family so online is really best for me. The local online courses are as expensive as if I took the courses in school so didn't consider them anymore. I've taken a bunch of MOOCs from Coursera, EDX and Futurelearn in the last few years to update my knowledge in many areas and have found them really helpful. Recently decided to take the leap towards earning my bachelors degree.

    What I gather from the forum is that accreditation is important specially if you're looking for a job but since I'm not in the U.S. and have no plans to emigrate anywhere, this isn't a major concern for me. Diploma mills are obviously out of the question but unaccredited schools are fine for my needs. I'm doing this mostly for myself and not to look for a job so I have no particular preference for a school as long as they are reputable. My main concern are the degrees available and the cost of the program. I'm just planning to take any general business related Bachelors degree such as Marketing, Management, Business Administration, General Studies, etc. and have found these schools suitable:
    • SMC University
    • University of the People
    Although from what I gather, if I can't get financial aid, University of the People will probably cost me around $4,000 for the Bachelors degree. I've also checked out Pennfoster College and Ashworth College but have computed that they might be off my budget and I may encounter difficulties with the GED equivalent requirements.

    I'm leaning towards SMC University with their €990 program but would like to explore other options. Can you suggest other schools, accredited or not, that can fit my budget and course preference? They can be based anywhere in the world as long as the courses are in English. If they accept PLA, then that would be really great as well.

    Thank you to you all in advance.
  2. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    It might be worth a few minutes to look at the Open U of Malaysia
  3. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you very much Kizmet. After reviewing options on their website, I've noticed that they charge more for international students than Malaysian students bringing a total cost of more than $8000 including all other fees which is sadly more expensive than Ashworth or maybe even Pennfoster.
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Yeah, to be honest, your goal is unrealistic. Sorry to be the one to say it but 2K for a BA isn’t going to happen. Not even in South Africa.
  5. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you for your honesty. So SMC University's offer has no competition?
  6. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Well, there's this:
    Presented as free, and Amity is Regionally Accredited in addition to it's Indian standing.
    Of course, this is neither a Business degree nor self-paced.

    SMC University's program meets your stated goals. SMC is not a mill, that much is clear. However, I didn't see indication that the program leads to an accredited degree of any kind (unlike their graduate degrees, which are apparently validated by other schools). The most direct intended use of this program might be to qualify for an MBA program at SMC. In addition, there is this new school, NEOS Business School, that offers almost exactly the same degrees (for higher fees), but with Cyprus authorization - which they currently supply to SMC graduates through validation. If this is indeed a replacement for SMC, who knows how long the latter would be able to continue offering the exact same product, cheaper? Owners might close it.
  7. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you for this suggestion Stanislav, looks very interesting. I will definitely look into it further. It may even be cheaper than SMC University. I just hope they won't make it difficult for foreign students.

    With regards to SMC's Bachelors program, I received this reply from them which is pretty much how I understand the Bachelor degree. Since I'm doing this not to look for a job, I don't have a problem with accreditation. I'm just really looking for comparative options to SMC.

    "Unfortunately the Bachelor programs are currently not accredited, as they are primarily used to serve as a bridging program to our NEOS Business School-accredited graduate track. Due to the increased popularity of the programs, we are currently working on an accreditation option. Until then, we are sorry to tell you that you will have to inquire for the acceptance of our programs on a case per case basis, for example with a future employer. Having said that I can assure you that many of our bachelor students, from all over the world have used their SMC Bachelor certification to advance in their career. We receive regular request from many big companies and organisations for confirmation and validation of bachelor certification of SMC Bachelor graduates who would be appointed in important roles. Moreover, even if authorities you are approaching have any questions respective to the quality, duration and academic rigidness, we are always ready help."
  8. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I looked, and there is a CLEP testing center in the Philippines. If the testing center is near you, you can earn free college credit by using Modern States MOOC (online/free/self-paced) and they will provide you with a voucher for a free CLEP test. Then, upon passing the test, you provide them with a receipt for cost of testing center fee (if there is one) and they will reimburse you.
    Teeting center: Philippine-American Educational Foundation 10/F BPI-Philam Life-Makati 6811 Ayala Avenue, Makati, 1220

    CLEP is essentially your 100 and 200 level credit. From your post, I gather you already have some credit, so if you have a lot of credit, this may not be helpful - but free is free.

    Also free- Saylor Academy credit (like MOOC) can be free if you locate a local proctor. If not, you pay for a proctored final exam ($25 per course)

    There are other free credits you can use, but only at Charter Oak - I won't even post them unless you were interested in their program, but also free.

    Charter Oak State College (CT, USA) only requires 2 courses be taken with them - you can meet the rest of the degree requirements through other sources (like CLEP) but I almost hesitate to suggest that because it is *just above* your budget, and you'd have to have some existing credit or it would be higher still- plus I know very little about your previous credit, so can't say if this is a workable plan or not- but they are Regionally Accredited, so you'd have the best accreditation available to you for your budget. I think you could earn your bachelor's in business from Charter Oak for about $3000 and it would be self paced, but that assumes you're willing to study on your own and test out as opposed to taking classes online with a teacher.
    toyangco likes this.
  9. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    About Amity, i signed up and started a few of the courses for the free degree. It has been over a year but none of my emails have ever been answered.
  10. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Update. For the heck i just logged into the Amity. The four courses I completed are now marked as “100 completed” not in progress. So from my experience, go ahead and do the courses, there is no communication with Amity, eventually your completed couses will be assigned 100% completed. I have no idea how long this will take, but I think is can be months. Not bad for free.
    toyangco likes this.
  11. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you for that very informative reply cookderosa, that is indeed sincerely appreciated! :) I will definitely take a look at this CLEP angle. This way is something new for me. Stretching my budget a bit won't be too difficult but if it goes much beyond, then that will hurt. The Philippine Commission on Higher Education has its own version of prior learning assessment which they call "Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program". This was going to be my first choice until I found out that some schools charged double the regular tuition fees.
  12. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you for that update phdtobe. I have actually enrolled in Amity already and started my first course. It's not very detailed as to what happens when you're done with all the courses. Do you get a graduation certificate of some sort? All of them seem to be already uploaded so while I continue my search for a school, I'm going to do the courses because I definitely agree with you, nothing beats free education with or without a certificate.
  13. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    My quess there is a degree at the end. A sample degree is shown. There is no communication with Amity so the cynicism in me is saying that Amity will exact its pound of flesh when all the courses have been completed. If this is your first degree then my advice is to do what is sure, a paid degree with customer service . For me, i am can used some to supplement my cpd, certificate or not.
  14. eriehiker

    eriehiker Active Member

    The progress bar is obviously just a time counter. I have reached 100% in most of the classes. I have sent four or five emails during the past six months to attempt to schedule exams and I also receive no response. I have been taking the $200 Harvard classes and a bunch of Utah PD classes lately, so I just haven't had the time to follow up. There is one little quirk: If you sign up for one of the certificate program classes, you will get a "get certified" button under the course progress bar that takes you to an application process within which a picture and transcripts, etc. can be uploaded and, presumably, someone at Amity will look at your information. Note that this is not related to the free bachelors, but it would be a way to start some movement with the college.
  15. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    So I think the take away is doing a paid degree with Amity or elsewhere - You will get what you paid for. I tried the same thing also, contacting Amity after completing each course, just in case there was an exam to pay my $5-no response. I will go through the motion by I have no interest in preparing for a bunch of exams at the end. My advice, if a degree is important to you, then Amiy MOOC should not be the first choice.
  16. eriehiker

    eriehiker Active Member

    Yes. This is the answer.
  17. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    CLEP is an option, but if there is NO testing center in the Philippines (the one mentioned may be defunct, call in or go and find out), you still have cheap/easy/fast options of getting that degree completely online. You can decide to get 90 credits first and continue with Test Out or go Competency Based, see below for more info.

    For transfer credits, they're all ACE/NCCRS credits, and to get a maximum of about 90 credits total as the following schools will allow up to 75% transfer of credits into their programs. Let's start with the RA's and then move to the NA's... I would also refer you to COSC, Excelsior, TESU as they allow up to 117 credits transfer - pricing is similar too, it may just be out of your price range slightly.

    It is possible for those who are starting from scratch. Take as many Saylor exams at $25/each for 3 credits, 30 of them is $750 for 90 credits. OR for Shmoop, it's 3 to 4 months at $88/month for 90 credits. If you add that amount to the $ I quoted for 8-10 courses at the respective schools, a degree can be had for roughly $2500 or less starting at 0 credits. Essentially, it's all about transferring 90 credits into their 120 credit program and finishing each of the 10 required courses ASAP, that's competency-based!

    Amity, mentioned already - RA, BA in Arts 3 year - total cost should be $5/exam or retake as per their webpage, scary point is that it will take 3 years and it may not be fully recognized as equivalent to a US/UK degree, otherwise, this is a great deal if you have 3 years to spare.

    JFKU online (previous assets of Patten U) - RA, take 10 courses in a 4-month term = $350/month or $1400, if you take two terms for 8 months it's $2800. Transfer in the rest for a BA Management, Leadership, Psychology. Not a bad deal if you can cram everything into one term, but acceptable in two terms for a competency-based degree. They have an MBA program too.

    Brandman U - RA, take 10 courses in 6 month term = $3000, it is possible to finish if you have time on your hands. They have several Bachelors options and the programs are competency based. They have an MSOL program too.

    Nations U - NA, take 10 courses FREE, (if you're in the 25 countries mentioned, it's at ~$1100/year). They only have a Bachelors of Religous Studies, you can transfer all 90 credits and finish the final 10. They have two Masters programs as well, FREE (since you're in the Philippines!)

    UofPeople - NA, take 10 courses at $1000, Bachelors of Business, Comp Science, or Health Science, again transfer 90 credits and you're good to go, I'm not sure how "hard" these courses are, but it's just 10 courses, I would take your time and try to finish it in 10 months or if you're quick in 5 months. They have an online MBA as well.

    New Charter U - NA, BA Communications, BS Business, Criminal Justice, Education, take 10 courses at $299/month or $897/3 month term, for 2 terms/6 months it's $1794. The pricing is great if you can finish 10 courses in 1 term, meaning in 3 months. 3 course a month at roughly $300 and the final month take 4 - take the easiest courses last. You can get this at $897/3 months! They also have several Masters programs.

    Penn Foster - NA, BS Business Management, Criminal Justice - take 10 courses at $1069/term, if you take two terms it's only $2138. Again, the faster you finish these programs, the cheaper, these are all competency based.

    Ashworth - NA, they have a great set of NA programs as well. I think they allow up to 75% transfer into their program from ACE/NCCRS sources. Their fee is $1089/semester, finish the BA (they have several, Business, Education, Legal Studies, Healthcare) in two semesters at $2178. They have Masters as well.

    For the OP, decide if an NA degree is OK in your country/company of work, if it is, great - reap the benefits of a slightly cheaper degree. Both RA and NA degrees are recognized by the USDOE and CHEA, internationally - it may be different for each country and workplace. Good luck!

    As I mentioned earlier, I would recommend the RA schools such as COSC, Excelsior, TESU - You also have Brandman, JFKU Online to add to the mix. For test out options, I recommend COSC, Excelsior, TESU. For competency-based, I would recommend Brandman/JFKU - In order to get the cheaper JFKU Online pricing to read below (just email them inquiring about it again to bring costs down from $708/month to $350/month - that's HALF price!). I did receive this email today:

    You have recently inquired about enrolling at Patten University, and I want to inform you that Patten University’s academic programs are transitioning to John F. Kennedy University (JFKU). JFKU is a regionally-accredited, nonprofit university offering innovative and nationally recognized programs, with vast experience serving working adults.

    Most of Patten's current programs will be available at JFKU beginning this fall, and we would like to invite you to consider enrollment at JFKU. Any students who have previously expressed interest in Patten are invited to apply for a one-time-only promotional discount of $350/month for undergrads or $520/month for graduate students who enroll by October 2, 2018. Standard tuition at JFKU Online is $708/month.

    If you are interested in learning more please let me know, and I will make sure someone reaches out to you when enrollment at JFKU's online programs is open.
  18. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    It looks like Amity reads our postings. I started two courses yesterday but it is not allowing me today continues.
  19. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Thank you Asianstew! Simply remarkable suggestions. I will go through them one by one and see which is feasible for my needs. Again, wonderful inputs. Thank you!
  20. toyangco

    toyangco New Member

    Phdtobe, I finished the first two courses on Amity and nothing happened after. Oh well.

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