on-line college degrees

Is getting a degree from an on-line college worth the money? and are the degrees legitimate?

They are two types of online colleges:

Those that are extensions of Real Brick and Mortar Colleges

and the rest.

The first group will have accreditation with one of the Big 6 regional accrediting bodies or similar groups. That makes it a real school for all practical purposes. If the school you are interested in isn’t accredited by one of the groups on that list, you will get a degree that many will not rate well (if it all), you won’t be able to transfer many/any credits, etc. Also, don’t trust their accreditation claims, look it up yourself. Also, make sure the program offered by an extension of a college is covered by the same accreditation as the college itself.

There’s a class action lawsuit being fired up in FL by a woman who found out that she spent thousands of dollars in tuition for an associate’s degree that no one recognizes, no transfer credit, nothing.

Note that just about any twit can be certified by some so-called accrediting group, and even easier, get certified for student loans by the US Govt. (The later is why this things pop up. Students “enroll”, get student loans, pay “tuition”, find out it’s a scam. The student is stuck with the loan unless they decide the rest of the US taxpayers should be stuck with it.)

It’s a serious “student beware” situation.

I’m doing my Masters at Charles Sturt University via distance ed.

Most of it is online learning. So far, I’ve only done two subjects, but I can give you some broad answers.

What ftg said. Go with a REAL university. Not one of those places that send you spam telling you you can get a REAL COLLIGE (sic) DEGRE (sic)!

So far the experience has been… challenging. Motivation is a big problem. Because it’s online, there’s a lot of temptation just to read email, chat with friends etc instead of studying. It also puts a time difference between asking a question and getting a response.

Cost-wise, I am using the PELS system to pay for my degree via my income tax. So I don’t pay for it upfront.

It’s reasonably self-paced, so provided I do the exams sometime before the end of trimester, I’m fine.

And the good bit - I get a REAL UNIVERSITY DEGREE!! :slight_smile:


this guy john bear (orginally an academic himself) has spent a big part of his career identifying which non-traditional degree programs are legitimate and which are scams:


as noted, accreditation is an important factor, but some scammers have formed their own scam accrediting organizations. as in so many areas, if something sounds too good to be true (get your degree overnight!), it probably is.

one legitmate area that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention is credit by examination. there are some real, state-sponsored colleges and universities where you can earn a lot of credit, even a college degree, entirely by earning high scores on GRE subject exams or comparable exams. of course, to do that you need to have done a lot of study on your own or worked at jobs where you have learned a lot, but the option does exist.

Thanks for the input. Now i am wondering if anyone knows if University of Phoenix is legit or not. I looked up the website on accreditation and they aren’t listed, but their brochure tells you that they are accredited…

The University of Phoenix is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS), one of the major regional accrediting associations.


Some of the other regionls can be found at:



Let me second Reader99’s reference to www.degree.net , and also add www.degreeinfo.com , which contains a messageboard similar to this one where you can poll people who deal with Distance Ed on a daily basis as to the rep of particular schools.