Why do people rip on NCU?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by SurfDoctor, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Since I no longer go there, I now feel free to ask this question of everyone. I have heard some express a low opinion of NCU compared to other online schools and I was wondering about that. I won't be debating the replies because, even though I liked it, I'm not particularly loyal to it; I'm just curious.

    I know it does not have residencies, which some people frown on, but other than that, what's wrong with it? How is it worse than other online schools like Capella, Walden, Excelsior, TESC, TUI or others? I'd especially like to hear about things that are based on data or first-person experience.
  2. fritzy202

    fritzy202 New Member

    I considered them for my Master's then when I researched them I found several negative BBB reports that they didn't even respond to and a lot of reports by unhappy students on various websites. Constant fee changes, lack of responsive faculty, poor quality courses and lousy course management system. When I finally got a rep on the phone, after 3 weeks of emails and phone messages, she spent, honestly, 90 minutes telling me all about her life story. I couldn't believe it. I even know she has no health insurance, a single mom, all the places she has ever lived, why her marriage ended etc. She couldn't answer any of my questions, it was ''I have never been asked that' or she put me on hold to ask someone else, who also didn't know the answer. Mind you she said she had worked there for 9 months and was a student at UOP with no intention of taking classes at NCU, her words. When I asked if I could contact or be contacted by any alumni I was told to see the website for the little student quotes. When I asked about the issues raised on the BBB and other boards she just said it was my choice. No explanation, no defense, nothing. She gave me two links for more information that didn't work and actually locked up my computer. After feeling rather uneasy I just let it drop. A few weeks later she sent me an email asking if I was still interested. I emailed her and was frank that I felt none of my questions were answered and none of the issues I presented were addressed. She just emailed back and said that she hoped I found another school. I have done a ton of research on grad schools and talked to quite a few "enrollment advisors" (salesman) but none have been as evasive as NCU. I actually did get contacted by some guy from there a few weeks after my last email and when I tried to get info from him, it was the same story. I didn't get his life story, all he wanted to know was how was I going to pay for classes. I just gave up. It just didn't have the professional attitude or success factor I want in a school. I also found a business report that indicated that since a new management company took over in I believe 2009 they had increased fees almost quarterly and split up the business locations. The enrollment advisors are about 3+ hours away from the "school" location and they had never even been to the "school" office. It just sent up too many red flags. My parents that live near by, also found some unresolved issues with the state dept of education and BBB local office. That is my NCU story, sorry it wasn't too short or too sweet. They may be a fine school, but I didn't want to get in the middle and have regrets.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2010
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    In the 80's I listened to Howard Stern. Someone wrote how bad his show was and how stupid he was,blah, blah, blah. At the end the writer said something like, "although I never actually listened to his show..." and went on to trash it.

    Howard came up with a parody song of Paperback Writer and changed the words to "Uninformed Writer". It was great and went on talk about how people write what they do not know about. Guess what runs through my mind when I read some posts...:rolleyes:
  4. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    In all honesty, I have had a few small issues but none that are expressed here. Anything I needed resolved was resolved although my adademic advisor is not the brightest person. They have always been good but I am pretty independant and done as for a lot.
  5. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    For me, it's the overall cost of their programs. Folks say that their tuition is cheaper per class, but add up all the hidden fees, and see how much you will be out of. I think they are not forthcoming with their tuition either. It seems they want to trick people into enrolling with the assumption that students typically are concerned with tuition charges only, so they add tons of fees to bring up their tuition when put together.

    What really scared me was the number of students who were complaining about alot of different issues in the open discussion forums within NCU's learner center, but non were addressed. For example, I saw several comments to the fact that it seems they were being purposely ignored during their dissertation courses, and then being told by mentors that if they run out of dissertation credits, that the school would let them extend from 60 credits up to 75 credits. That sounds to me like they want to intentionally squeeze money out of students instead of help them complete the dissertation. Another issue that students who use FA pointed out was not receiving any financial aid award letter, not responding to emails regarding financial aid/loan balances, and hold students disbursement against their wishes. I even read several students threatening to call the US department of education regarding NCU's illegal practices pertaining to unauthorized withholding of should-be disbursed amounts. Overall, I'm glad I left. I would admit, TUI is very solid in running their operation. Never had any issue with them and the sense I got from fellow students in the discussion forums was more about adding new programs. For example, many students in my program (IT Management) said they would enroll in their PhD if they offered one in IT Management.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I never had these issues but I did complain that they tacked on a $25 "technology fee" or some nonsense to each class. I asked what it was for and was told it was to support the technology to deliver the classes. Give me a break! As far as extensions, I asked for one for one class and it was granted with 24 hours. I never heard of the increase in credits. Maybe this is all new and I am so far into the program that it does not effect me. I did hear they were reducing the DIS courses from 16 weeks to 12 weeks and I have heard that people are not getting their papers back from review for 3-4 weeks. Again, I never experienced any of this.
  7. Garp

    Garp Well-Known Member

    I have never had any dealings with them but do know someone who tried in vain to get information. I told the person about the school. This person could not get anyone to return calls or e-mails. A couple of months later the person got a call from someone trying to sell them on enrolling. It was strange.

    On the other hand their seem to be many happy customers. I suppose like many programs, if you can navigate the quirks you come out with an accredited degree. These forums can be helpful for learning about the quirks in programs and that may help navigate the program better, make the school aware of perception problems, and educate people about what they may be getting into.
  8. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    I've said it many times on this board that their customer service is pretty weak. It often takes a while to hear back from anyone. Although my last mentor responded within 24 hours without fail. He was the only one though. Like Randell, I'm an independent worker, so I didn't mind so much.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2010
  9. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    I have a couple reasons

    I went to NCU and ended up leaving after getting through the first RSH course. I will say though, that I don't see any worse reactions from people regarding NCU than Phoenix, Capella, etc.

    I read A LOT of complaints about the dissertation being kind of a nightmarish process (which, may have gotten better). Things like dissertations begin approved and accepted by entire committees only to be completely obliterated by some anonymous reviewer (after like 18 months of edits within the committee). I have also heard horror stories of mentors keeping dissertation drafts for 3/4 of the semester, so the learner only has 2 weeks worth of time to make edits.

    I also had a decent amount of experience with instructors taking millions of years to return grades. Also, the feedback was often EXTREMELY weak. Like, only correcting APA items and no actual content.

    Did I mention that I actually had another PhD student AT NCU teaching my PhD course AT NCU? Seriously, you are two classes ahead of me, but you are qualified to teach me PhD material?

    Also, I think a lot of people have HUGE issues with the fact that the entire degree is just a bunch of paper writing. Now, I know that a PhD is a research degree, and you will do a bunch of independent research and writing regardless, but c'mon. Seriously, if you ask any PhD from B&M school about that and they will laugh at you. At no point is there any discussion with other students or even discussion with mentors (online or otherwise)?

    Not to mention, the course delivery site is garbage (last time I was on it), the school treats everything like an advertisement for "an innovator in online education", AAAAAAND they increased their tuition by like 40% one year. Seriously???? 40%???

    Then, to top it all off, they had a bit of a rocky path with their last accreditation visit.

    This stuff all adds up. I left because I knew how hard NCU students work, and I didn't want to work that hard only to be looked down upon by other doctors because I had an online degree.

    That said, I would never have left NCU to go to Walden, Capella, or any of those others.
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    This is the kind of information I'm looking for; first hand experience. Thank you, that was enlightening.
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    NCU coursework at the graduate level is fine. There were some complaints that it wasn't hard enough (several years ago), so more assignments were added -- and now it's probably the other extreme i.e. it's much more time consuming now, due to the volume of work/writing that is required.

    Things can get difficult at the dissertation stage for students who aren't adequately prepared in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods. Once students get to this level, they are expected to understand these research techniques, along with how to apply them and to put it all into cogent writing. Instructors will not provide significant help in this area, although they will try to answer questions that students might have; I firmly believe that the same issue arises at B&M research institutions i.e. advisory committees will answer questions from dissertation students, but that's it; the students are on their own when it comes to the application and documentation of their research.

    I speculate that some doctoral students who quit or fail at the dissertation stage feel jilted because they spent a lot of time and money in coursework that leads up to that stage, only to walk away without a degree. That's extremely frustrating.
  12. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    To add on to Me Again, I don't think most people go into the process with an understanding that only a percentage of doctoral students make it all the way through the process. However, that is probably exacerbated by NCU's overt and constant advertising.

    Regarding the difficulty of the graduate course work, I need to make a distinction. There is a big difference between difficulty and quality. Although you absolutely do a lot of course work at NCU, the quality of instruction and feedback (in my experience through 16 courses) is horrific. There is literally no lecture of any type. The syllabus has a short blurp describing each assignment, but that is about it.

    I am sorry to say that, after having been half way through an EdD at Northeastern and having my girlfriend finishing her PhD dissertation at U of Maryland, NCU is (in my opinion) not providing the quality of education that is expected at the doctorate level.

    That doesn't mean that there aren't lots of NCU students who are PREPARING THEMSELVES at the doctorate level (which would have been me, I was constantly doing research into how to do research).

    I could go on about this for hours. I will finish by saying that, if I was going to quit with Northeastern, and go back to a for-profit online, it would be NCU.
  13. distancedoc2007

    distancedoc2007 New Member

    I was really quite impressed with NCU for the brief time I was there. It wasn't a good fit for me in the end as there were a lot of little nuisance assignments (3 page papers etc.) that were just going over the same stuff I had already done in MBA, and I was really ready to get on with my research (I am an experienced qual and quant researcher). So the dissertation-only route was the best for me. While I was there, I had a great experience with NCU, and have no trouble recommending it for someone who likes structure, needs the coursework, and wants a really clear roadmap to the final product.
  14. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Customer service issues

    I've applied to NCU in the past and had difficulties with the admission specialists. I got "bad vibes" about the school and subsequently withdrew my application. I have never taken a course from NCU so I cannot comment on the academics but customer service scares the crap out of me in regards to this school.
  15. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator

    Anybody have any hard evidence that the education is inferior? I'd really like to hear from the people who were very vocal about their negative views of NCU. Once again, I'll not be debating, I just want to hear the dirt.
  16. tomball

    tomball New Member

    Botom of the list = sh_t

    NCU is a bad thing!

    Northcentral University is a good example of a school that will bring down the standards of regional accreditation.

    Northcentral University on-line reports to be 100% online but is primarily a correspondence school.

    NCU uses deceptive advertising.

    In the U.S. oil and gas business - you will not find this noise! WE DON'T HIRE THESE FOLKS
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2010
  17. mathguy

    mathguy New Member

    I agree that NCU does bring down the overall perception of quality for distance learning institutions.

    Their accrediting agency has had a number of issues with the quality of dissertations and other ownership issues for NCU. I reviewed a couple of NCU dissertations a few years ago and found them to be juvenile (high school quality) and poorly crafted. Hopefully, their dissertation standards have improved by now. In fact, NCU was re-accredited only for a few years instead of the usual 10 years that Capella and Walden receive. At one point NCU had to submit on-going reports to their accrediting agency. I don't know if NCU is still on this tight-leash. Another issue that impacts the perception of quality is the total lack of residencies. Again, both Capella and Walden have residency requirements. Finally, I do know of people who have received appointments to tenure track academic positions with doctoral degrees from Capella and Walden, I don't know of any from NCU but my knowledge is limited. I would not recommend a doctoral program at NCU.
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    What's the problem with courses that don't have a discussion board component and that allow for flexible scheduling?

    I don't know much about Northcentral and don't really care about it, I'm just interested in this particular point since you say it like it's an inherently bad thing.

  19. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Steve. I do not have residencies with my program at UNISA. I do have email and telephone conferences with my committee, but that is part of the program. If you are motivated and well intentioned, you will learn with or without residencies. I think it is all inside the individual. I do not have an opinion one way or the other about NCU. I took one class there. I earned an A, but a PhD in business was not what I wanted.
  20. Delta

    Delta Active Member


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