Connecticut BBB Recommends Giving Online Education Programs the Third Degree

With nearly 6.5 million people involved in some form of online learning it is more important than ever to take precautions to ensure time, energy and money aren't wasted.


Study-Up Before Applying to Online Universities and Programs

Connecticut Better Business Bureau is warning   prospective students to do their homework when selecting online schools and education opportunities.

With nearly 6.5 million people involved in some form of online learning, according to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, it is more important than ever to take precautions to ensure time, energy and money aren't wasted.

“Online education is a wonderful opportunity if you select wisely,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti.  “However, not all online programs are created equal, and like any other transaction, consumers looking to the Internet for higher education must make sure they are not being taken for a ride by a diploma mill or other unscrupulous operator.”

Get schooled in accreditation - Degrees from accredited universities are more likely to be recognized by employers and other higher education institutions.  Before applying, make sure you understand accreditation information provided by the U.S. Department of Education and research accreditation claims through the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.  Your best bet is to select a regionally-accredited institution.

Take note of enrollment processes - Is admission granted based on test scores, entry exams and additional background information or by simply paying tuition?  A reputable institution will have requirements that go beyond accepting payment of tuition.  Degree fees are typically based on credit loads so be wary of schools that accept all students or charge a flat degree fee.

Be wary of an easy "A."  - Diploma mills may advertise degrees or credits based on work experience.  Be skeptical of accelerated degree programs that promise quicker-than-average completion dates. Compare program lengths to those of well-known schools.

Quiz counselors - Speak directly with school counselors to get answers to all financial, degree and enrollment questions. Also, gather information from websites, including physical locations, faculty biographies and program specifics.

Review report cards - BBB makes it easy to check out organizations' marketplace record with BBB Business Reviews, which include ratings, complaint histories and contact details.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Yooper September 07, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Mr D. September 07, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I recently dumped Charter in favor of DirecTV and have no regrets. Better deal and better technology. I only kept Charter for broadband as there is no real alternative.
Christine E. September 07, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Jonathan, My problem with U-Verse is that, when we called to inquire about getting service at our house, we were told we already had it. We don't. We have Charter. It was a mistake in their database. Instead of admitting it was a mistake, they argued with us, and told us we were wrong. How could we be wrong? After several unnerving phone calls, they realized there was a mistake. Then we decided to move forward and get their service. We wanted TV service only. We plan on keeping our Broadband with Charter because it's better and more reasonably priced. We know other people who have done this. The representative on the phone said ti wasn't possible, and that we had to purchase BOTH from U-Verse, or we couldn't get their service at all. We finally gave up and are no longer pursuing them.
milfseeker September 07, 2012 at 10:27 PM
BBB is a for profit company plain and simple! Charter is an excelent example of one of the worst customer service companies on earth and yet they still have a A-plus rating. Several months ago while trying to resolve a customer service issue at there office the clerk simply handed me the phone and pointed to the number to call. I wound up speaking to >>>>>>India. The BBB is just like Charter Cable, willing to do anything for anybody........for a price....
taxpayer September 07, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I have used the BBB in the past and had a very good experience. Never had to visit an office, simply provided them with paperwork regarding the issue. Got my money back from a company after discovering many folks did not. I was the only one who used BBB to help resolve my problem. I also use U-verse and have (almost always ) had good customer service. When my contract is up I usually call and get a new deal or they give me a $10 credit each month or something that has always kept my bill lower than the competitors. I have been with AT&T for many, many years. Back when Southern Bell was taken over by Cingular who than merged with AT&T. It is a shame that the companies can not be consistent. I guess it depends on which customer service rep you speak with on any given moment. They really should just have their bottom line pricing, that is open to all customers, so we do not have to play these games.


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