What's the deal? DETC

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by perplexed, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. perplexed

    perplexed New Member

    I've been checking out this message board for a few weeks now and some of you seem extremely biased towards DETC. If DETC and "the big 6" have all been "blessed" by the same entity, I don't think one should be thought of or regarded as a less "quality" degree than the other (doesn't make much sense to me). You measure each school's success by the success of its students and I know a few people who have graduated from Yale who have a hard time telling you what time of day it is (honestly). It seems like some of you derive great pleasure in beating up DETC schools. I have been doing research for a few months now because I know that I need to go to school. I have been doing telecommunications now for 12 years and am considered an expert in my field. I have always had a passion for education but because of different issues; finances, military duties, being a single parent, it has been extremely hard to further myself. I need a school that is going to take into consideration all of my experience (I've taught classes in my field). Most of what I've learned in my field, I learned by reading (on my own) or through hands-on experience. I need to work at my pace (which happens to be accelerated). I enjoy learning and I don't want to go bankrupt while trying to further my education. Even though DETC schools aren't given much credit here, they are awfully accomodating. DETC schools are affordable, many of them utilize the independent study method, and lastly many of them take into account your experiential learning. I think all of that is fantastic so I don't understand why their schools are shown the disdain that they are shown. It's almost hypocritical for the educational community to regard their degrees as subpar or substandard (when they all got their authority from the same entity <DOE>). If I am totally in error, I want to know. If there is a RA school out there that I'm not aware of that can meet the needs that I've stated in the post, I would appreciate it immensely if someone could point me in their direction. I get a kick out of many of the posts that I read here and I can't help but wonder whether or not some of you are on the RA school's payrolls. :confused:
  2. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    Hi Perplexed

    There is a difference between being subpar and being held in disdain. It is clear DETC is behind RA in terms of acceptance, prestige, and utility. If a RA degree program is available that suits a perspective student's needs it is extremely likely to be the better choice. That said, it does not mean a DETC program can't be a good choice and work out well for the student.

    You question why DETC accreditation is held in lower regard. There are many reasons. Historically DETC accredited trade schools. DETC credits are difficult to transfer to the mainstream Colleges and Universities of the U.S. The DETC has in the recent past chosen to accredit questionable schools that did not meet their own accreditation requirements. If any school had to choose RA or DETC which do you believe they would choose?

    The main question is why choose a DETC program if a RA one is available? Cost difference between RA/DETC/State Approved/Unaccredited seems to be minimal. RA Bachelors and Masters programs are available from $3500-4200. What is the cheapest DETC Degree? You mentioned that the DETC programs you have looked at are flexible. Why do you think that is?

    You mention interest in RA programs that could fit your needs but you failed to mention what criteria is important to you. I think if you listed these you might find many programs available. In any event welcome to Degreeinfo and good luck in your search!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2003
  3. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

    There are many avenues to gain credit for prior learning including standardized tests and portfolio credit. I believe that you should check out Lawrie Miller's site concerning testing for college credit. For portfolio credit check out this page (degreeinfo-Levicoff) and/or ask some of the knowledgable posters who have went through the process.
    After you have gathered all the possible credit from your prior learning experiences, you can fill in the holes with courses or self-study/test options.
    How is that for a flexible, accredited, RA degree at your own pace? Not to mention that, if your prior learning is broad and deep, a degree from one of the big 3 (Excelsior, Thomas Edison, Charter Oak) will likely be less costly than a DETC accredited one.

    Best of luck,
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2003
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Rather than a blanket statement, perhaps Perplexed can give some examples of DETC-accredited schools being "beaten up." Other than some criticisms of a couple of DETC-accredited schools for claiming fake accreditation right up until DETC accredited them, I don't seem to recall much school-bashing.

    What has come under great scrutiny is the utility of credits and degrees from DETC-accredited schools. It is well-established that these are frequently not accepted by regionally accredited schools. (Even DETC's own survey in on this topic, available at their website, shows this. And that sucker was SLANTED!

    Research I've recently completed--but not yet published--indicates lower levels of acceptance among employers of degrees from DETC-accredited schools when compared to RA schools. This was true before and after descriptions of DETC and the RA's was provided.

    None of this constitutes "beating up" on schools or the DETC. But to ignore the facts would not do this discussion any good.
  5. ericbowers

    ericbowers New Member

    My background is very similar to "perplexed" Yeah, I was considering ACCIS. I don't know exactly why, but their website and program of study is real attractive to a geek like me. I was very upset when I found out that credit from a DETC school would not transfer to most other schools. The flexibility of the program was very attractive. The price was good and the program would have let me finish sooner. <sigh>

    The only thing that stopped me was I was afraid that I would not finish and that any credit that I earned would not transfer in the future.

    Anyways - I feel your pain. Maybe if you are sure that you will finish, you should just go ahead and go for it.

  6. perplexed

    perplexed New Member

    Thank you all for your responses. Myoptimism, I'm checking into the info that you provided me (so far so good, I'll let you know how it all turns out <special thanks to you!>). Rich, I've been following you guys for a few months now (I wish I knew about you long ago but...) The only people here that I see approaching DETC with any type of optimism are the new members. :rolleyes: I've been doing some courses with Education Direct for a few months now and I have really enjoyed the experience. I don't like the fact though, that all I'll get at the end is a certificate and that if I did get a degree, it wouldn't mean much (I wouldn't be able to roll it over into a Bachelor's). I was considering taking this same course (degree plan though) with a SUNY school but they wanted me to wait a year, they wouldn't tell me whether or not I qualified for any type of financial aid or anything, it took them forever to get in contact with me and I didn't want to waste another year just sitting around so... I don't recall Education Direct getting beat up but...I guess I was just wondering how come it seems like you guys try to steer people clear of DETC schools. If everyone steers clear of those schools how will we ever know whether or not they are credible? Don't get me wrong, I know that you guys are the gurus in this area so don't think that I'm attacking you, I am genuinely interested in what you have to say (I'm learning alot from you all).
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    For the record, I'm not trying to steer anyone clear of DETC-accredited schools. I like 'em! But facts are facts, and the fact is, degrees from DETC-accredited schools enjoy less acceptance in academic and employment circles.

    Some have made hay over the fact that some DETC-accredited schools are as expensive as some RA options. Okay. But I'm of the mind that if you accept the facts about DETC accreditation and its lowered utility in academics and employment, there might be good options out there for you.
  8. jmetro

    jmetro New Member


    "DaveHayden: The main question is why choose a DETC program if a RA one is available? Cost difference between RA/DETC/State Approved/Unaccredited seems to be minimal. RA Bachelors and Masters programs are available from $3500-4200. What is the cheapest DETC Degree?"

    What RA programs cost between 3500 and 4200 dollars for a bachelors? I attended a community college for a couple of years part-time at $85/credit hour plus books it will cost me nearly $6000 to get an associate's degree. That's real experience speaking, not just hypothetical statements. If it costs me nearly 6K for an associates, it'll cost at least $12K for a bachelors...and that's if they transfer all credits possible. My school has an articulation agreement with the local 4-year schools but if a 4-year college costs $110/credit for the other 60 odd credits or so that's $6600 not including books.

    With the RA program I was enrolled in, every semester I would put more debt on my credit card simply because normal commercial payment programs are not available.

    In my opinion some DETC schools are simply business entities who see a need for inexpensive education and attempt to fill it. What are RA schools? In my opinion, they are business entities as well. They simply have a monopoly on educational services so they can charge the maximum the market will take.

    I think we need competition to lower prices and increase effeciency. The current system is failing to meet the needs of the people. Something must be done.

  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    What RA programs cost between 3500 and 4200 dollars for a bachelors? I attended a community college for a couple of years part-time at $85/credit hour plus books it will cost me nearly $6000 to get an associate's degree. That's real experience speaking, not just hypothetical statements.

    Can you complete a DETC-accredited bachelor's for $3500-4200 from scratch? You cite $85 per credit, plus books. These are per-credit tuition rates for four randomly selected DETC-accredited schools offering the bachelor's:
    APUS: $250
    ACCIS: $130
    Grantham: $300
    CNUAS: $235

    Some (if not all, I didn't check every one) do not include books.

    I didn't look at more schools. I doubt seriously there would be one there offering a degree for tuition rates significantly lower than found in RA schools. The community college and local college you cite offer tuition rates that are significantly lower!

    I think we need competition to lower prices and increase effeciency. The current system is failing to meet the needs of the people. Something must be done.

    What system? Which people? Why aren't their needs being met? What must be done.

    Sounds like an emotional plea, but what is the problem, where are the facts, and what is the solution?

    The U.S. has thousands of accredited schools, public and private, awarding degrees in all areas at all levels. Surely market forces are at work. Or is this one huge conspiracy? (I'm not betting on the latter. The University of Phoenix, for example, doesn't seem to be conspiring with anyone--they're too busy stomping their competitors! Oh, and I guess they're meeting the needs of their customers, considering their fantastic growth.)

    Good luck finding your cheap, DL school. Try the "big three," but expect to either pay for classes (expensive) or exams (cheaper, but you gotta pass 'em.)
  10. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    WOW, You're mean.
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Another comment offered without support?

    Mean in what way? Because I offered a few facts were very few had been offered? Or because I suggested your plea for action was vague?

    It isn't mean to answer someone's (your) assertions. I didn't say anything about you, so how is that mean?

    Please show me the DETC-accredited school that is significantly less-expensive than RA schools offering degrees at the same level(s) and in the same area(s).

    If you did that, would you then be "mean"? Of course not.
  12. jmetro

    jmetro New Member

    I apologize for seeming abrupt and for interpreting Rich's response incorrectly. I was really asking for the names of the colleges offering the least expensive RA bachelors degrees. I wasn't attacking the "$3500 to $4200" statement. I interpreted that as meaning that some RA degrees cost between $3500 and $4200. I haven't found any but I believe they could exist.

    As far as fact goes...

    I'm enrolled in Ashworth College (Norcross, GA) in the Computer Information Management program. It costs me just under $900 per semester. Each semester is composed of 5 courses at 3 credits per course. This means that I am spending about $60 per credit hour. This includes books. I transferred in 3 courses (9 credits) and am planning on clepping out of another 5 courses (15 credits). That means I would be attending Ashworth College for 2 1/2 semesters at total cost of around $2250 for my associates degree. Since I'm not bound to the classroom, I can study where, when, and how I want.

    Enrolled in Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham, AL). I was paying $77 per credit hour plus $3 per credit hour lab and facility fees plus books. This amounts to around $85 per credit hour with books (assuming a $75 book). I have 5 credits towards my associates in Computer Information Management at this college. Since classes take time away from work and home responsibilities, I can register for somewhere between 1 and 2 classes per semester due to my personal schedule. This means that it will take me (at the maximum) just over 9 years to complete my degree. At 54 credits in 9 years, plus the five I already have plus another semester (class), I have spent another $4590 for an RA degree. At the maximum my schedule will allow I could complete it in 4.5 years for the same amount of money.

    So which would I choose? 4.5 years (min) at $4590 or 2 1/2 semesters (at my pace) for $2250.

    As far as ACCIS goes that may be my next step.

    So let's talk about money, which is what it's all about.

    I spend 4.5 years @ $4590 for an RA degree when I could spend 2 1/2 semesters @ $2250 for a DETC degree. Time is money right? My time (without a degree) is worth $125 per hour to a client. Now, I'm not saying I get paid that...I'm saying that I charge my customers $125 per hour of work I perform for them. So assuming the best case I use the RA method at 6 credits per semester (2 classes). Some semesters I can find weekend classes, some semesters I'm taking off during work hours. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt by saying "I can find a weekend class one-half the time". You know how hard it is to find just the right class, offered at the right time, at a small community college. Assuming this though of the 54 credits necessary I have 27 credits I must take during normal business hours. We are looking at even with the benefit of the doubt, 3 hours per week I won't be in the office. Add to that travel time (30 minutes, maybe less one-way) makes another 2 or 3 hours of travel time. So 5 hours during the week makes a potential $625 revenue loss per week. Sometimes things are slow, so my being out doesn't matter much, but most of the time I always have things to do. I'd say I'm utilized about 85%-90%. You'll have to trust me on this, but I am. That's a potential loss over the four odd years of $130,000 ($625 per week for 50 weeks in a year over 4 years). At my 85% utilization rate this means I am confident my company would loose $110,500 over that 4 years period.

    Now I didn't forget that it would take me 4.5 years. I'm just estimating now. If you want to check my math, I'm sure you'll find that the losses are greater.

    Option 1: RA
    3-5 hours lost per week, plus study time, plus exams (which are never in the same block and always take longer) costs my company $110,500 over four years.
    6 credits per semester over 4.5 years costs $4590 to me personally.
    So I'll pass the cost on to my employer. My company now looses $115,090 in the transaction.

    Option 2: DETC
    0 Hrs lost per week.
    15 credits per semester at $890 per semester. Will cost me worst case 3 semesters (not 2.5 semesters) or $2670.
    I pass that cost on the my employer. My company only looses $2670 in the transaction. (Which is partially recoverable from Uncle SAM in tax relief).

    The benefit of the process for me is that I don't get locked into being in a seat 3 days a week for an hour and ten minutes per day (what the average class length is at Jefferson State CC) plus leaving home on Saturdays to get to weekend school. It doesn't require my learning to be protracted over 4 months per semester. I can finish the easy (for me, core) courses as fast as I can read and retain the material. And spend as much time as I need on the harder ones.

    More personal experience (and I don't think I'm dumping because I was asked to be more specifics) in the month I've been using Ashworth's distance learning process (which is books, test papers, and final exams, standard DL things) I've finished 2 courses. Not two lessons, not two class periods, but two entire courses. (To be honest with the reader, I have to admit that both of them are core courses and therefore easy.) But instead of spending 8 months in classrooms doing the same things, learning the same way, asking the same questions, I've spent one month and completed my first semester. Now I know I'm not special and other people can and are using DETC schools the exact same way; to get education in the most effective method possible.

    Are there any RA colleges which can offer me distance learning (required), in my field (or closely related), at comparable rates to what I'm doing now?

    I've been researching distance learning for a short time so I'm not 100% certain, but I think DL is looked down upon just as DETC learning facilities are.

    As far as University of Pheonix goes...my turn off is the $370 per credit hour or whatever they are charging now. That would be $20K easily. They charge such high prices because they a). have a virtual monopoly on virtual education and b). probably have large capital expenses in the form of servers and infrastructure that need to pay down. They target the middle to upper executive level in the Baby Boomers group, us generation x'rs don't yet have enough buying clout to change this (note the "this") market yet.

    I was just reviewing what I wrote and wanted to make myself plain on one point. I mentioned that I was admitting the two courses I had finished in one month were core courses and therefore easy. These courses were not "easy a's". They did require me to read the lesson materials, and answer logical thinking questions. The exam questions were worded with care such that if someone wanted to just skip to the exams and finish the course it would be difficult for them to succeed. They required a critical analysis of the materials and for me to make the intuitive leap to solve the problem. That being said I must admit, the exams are open book. One could theoretically breeze through the questions, looking up answers in the book as you go. But I couldn't and I consider myself of average intelligence.

    When I say easy, I mean subjects I have had enough experience with and personal knowledge of that I don't have to learn the language of the course in order to pass the class.

    I apologize again to Rich, I was about to eat lunch, the microwave bell rang, and the first thing I thought (however improper or wrong), I wrote.
    Jacob Metro
  13. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    DETC Hoopla Continues

    DETC schools clearly have less utility than RA schools. Make no mistake about it. There may be exceptions, but they are rare.

    For those of you who have pursued DETC degrees because you didn’t know about regional accreditation, my heart goes out to you. But for those of you who know in advance the difference between DETC and RA -- and who nonetheless still choose to go to a non-RA school -- you are making an unwise choice in the grand scheme of things. :rolleyes:

    But your mind is already made up and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you see beauty in a DETC degree, then I hope you richly enjoy what you so richly deserve. :)
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The key in selecting any school, DETC-, regional-, or otherwise-accredited, is knowing the facts and the issues. The decision itself is very personal.

    Good luck!:)
  15. jmetro

    jmetro New Member


    Well, I agree that choosing a college is a personal decision and should be based on relevant facts and my personal limitations and needs.

    What other options do I have?

    Me personally, I'm not talking theoretically now. I've been out of college for over 6 years and have been feeling that I could never get back in.

    Don't you think any action is better than inaction?

    Don't you think, dear Mr. me again, that any degree is better than none?

    Like anyone else, I don't want to be trapped by the glass ceiling. I think any attempt, however feeble is better than no attempt at all.

    Is there an RA associates costing $30 per month in which I have the option of finishing in a year or less (my decision) or more (my decision)?

    I'm asking for facts. I'm coming to you "gurus" asking for your advice. I don't have time during the day to physically be in school. Every minute away from my desk looses money for the company. I don't have money to stop work and go to school. I don't have money to pay $360 per credit hour for the luxury of doing work on my own.

    What would you suggest?
  16. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I cannot offer you a magic bullet. It took me less than 21 years to obtain a four year RA degree, but I’m sure that you can beat that record. :D

    If you’re going to spend the time and money obtaining a non-RA degree, you may be sorely disappointed in the years to come, especially when an employer rejects it. While proper accreditation may not seem important now, it may become very important to you in the future. Most of us obtain degrees for the future and not for the present.

    Good things are worth working for and waiting for. RA is the gold standard and if it takes you a little longer to obtain it, it will be well worth it because you will carry it until the day you die, which could be many years away.

    If you can’t do a lot, then do just a little bit. If it takes you six years and more money to obtain an RA degree (as opposed to less money for a non-RA degree in less time), then it is well worth it.

    I can’t stress it enough:
    • If it is worth having, then it is worth working for, waiting for and paying for because it will follow you around for the rest of your life.
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If one does not have the time nor the money, how conceivable is it to pursue a degree?

    Time can be shaped to fit one's schedule; distance learning is great for this.

    Money can be obtained from a variety of sources, or can be saved over time.

    I don't know of a "magic bullet," either. Education is expensive and time consuming.
  18. vnazaire

    vnazaire Member

    Some considerations

    Education Direct, in existence since the 1890s, charges about 800 dollars for a 15 to 18 credits per semester for an Associate degree in Engineering Technology or Business, books included.
    You can pay that 800 dollars with monthly payments of less than 100 dollars.
  19. perplexed

    perplexed New Member

    Perplexing Situation

    I've read numerous times throughout this board essentially that RA schools are the ones that are held to a higher esteem both in academic circles and in the workplace. I have a dilemma for you. How do you feel about Western Governor's University being an RA school and accepting for transfer-- degrees received through DETC accredited schools? I have been reading these boards long enough to be able to anticipate what many of you are going to say. Even though being RA is held in such high regard (by you), some of you are going to say (still) that the fact that WGU is now an RA institution doesn't mean much. You're going to harp on other schools that you feel are better for whatever reason ie; pride or the fact that you've been promoting some other school or the fact that you never believed that WGU would be where it is today. I think it is awesome. I'm proud of them for their accomplishment. Whether politics had anything to do with it or not, I'm not sure but...they are where many of you thought they would never be (I read many of your posts about them). So now you can get your Associate's at Ashworth College or Education Direct/Center for Degree Studies and they will transfer into a WGU Bachelor's Degree program. This makes perfect economical sense to me...how come none of the other RA schools considered it? To an extent, I think it's WGU's way of saying/showing that they haven't forgotten where they've come from. My wife is a student at Ashworth College and like I've stated before, I'm a student at Education Direct and I think that both of these schools have great curriculums. WGU has opened new doors for all DETC schools. What do you think?
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I think WGU's accreditation by its RA is exciting, but not because of the DETC connection. The assessment model, based upon competencies instead of credits, is much more business-like.

    Many colleges and universities accept credits from DETC-accredited schools. All I've contended--and the research supports--is that credits and degrees from DETC-accredited schools enjoy less acceptance in academic and employment circles.

    WGU's acceptance, or not, of credits from DETC schools isn't particularly interesting. I don't think it's a function of them not forgetting their roots. Rather, they're focused on competencies, and are willing to acknowledge that their competencies can be met, in some cases, through experiences in other-than-RA environments. No mystery there.

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