In the course of producing the investigative report, "Degrees of Difficulty: The Truth About Online Universities," in the April issue of Consumers Digest (on sale
Consumers Digest interviewed former advisers who say students weren't always told which previous college credits would transfer until after signing a contract. In some cases, schools continued to tap student loans even after students stopped taking classes. Clearly, as the deeply troubled banking industry has recently proven, providing billons of dollars in loans to unqualified borrowers has very serious economic consequences. More effective government oversight and overhaul of antiquated or inadequate regulations are badly needed.
All of this is supremely upsetting -- particularly today, given that the hopes of many people who have been laid off hinge on applying an online education to landing a new job. It complicates the already difficult task of convincing potential employers that an online education equals that of a brick-and-mortar institution.
Consumers Digest warns consumers not to enroll at a for-profit online university until obtaining in writing a formal audit of transferable college credits. If consumers are considering a degree in a career field that requires recognition by a professional organization, they should consult the body that grants licenses to do business to ensure that the online school's accreditation is recognized. Consumers should also find out the official drop date of an online university -- usually buried in student-manual small print -- and closely examine all financial documents, in an effort to ensure that there are no disbursements of funds after withdrawal from classes.
Consumers Digest, launched in 1959, is designed to inform and educate readers so they can buy with confidence, no matter the product or service. The magazine is committed to providing practical advice, factual evaluations and specific recommendations, leading consumers to exceptional values in today's complex marketplace.
SOURCE Consumers Digest