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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING
Q: Will my diploma say “online”?
A: The majority of online diplomas do not specifically say “online”.
Q: How do I transfer credits into an institution?
A: In order to transfer prior credits, you may request that official transcripts be sent from your previous schools to your online school of choice. There is no guarantee that credits will transfer. You may also speak with an advisor to find out which credits are transferable.
Q: How do I get credit for life experience?
A: Many schools offer the option of writing something entitled an experiential learning portfolio. These schools could allow you to transfer a certain percentage of credits using your prior life/work experience provided that you show that you have met the course objectives of each specified course you do not feel you should have to take. You should discuss this possibility with the school’s advisor, who will be able to provide more information on availability and eligibility.
Q: Can I transfer my credits from an online school?
A: While each school has its own specified criteria for transferring credits, some schools may accept credits from institutions that have a regional accreditation, provided that you have a grade of “C” or higher and the school has a class for which you are seeking credit. There is no guarantee that credits will transfer and you should speak to an advisor from each school you are interested in, to obtain more information on the school’s policies.
Q: Is there an admissions test?
A: Requirements among schools may vary. Some online schools may require you to complete an interview over the phone, via video conference or through e-mail with an admissions advisor. The advisor may or may not recommend you to their specific program. Some schools may also require you to take a placement exam in areas such as English or Math to determine your levels of education.
Q: Do I need SAT scores?
A: Provided that the school has an open enrollment (also known as open admissions) policy, no, you may not need SAT scores. You should check with the school of your choice to confirm its SAT policy.
Q: What will the cost of an online program be?
A: The cost of an online degree may likely be similar to that of any other regionally accredited university.
Q: What is a consolidated loan?
A: A Federal Consolidated Loan combines several existing student loans into one new loan. You can enjoy the convenience of lower monthly payments, a single fixed interest rate, and one monthly payment.
Q: What is the interest rate on a consolidated loan?
A: The interest rate for a federal consolidated loan is the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. This rate may not exceed 8.25% and the rate on your consolidation loan may be fixed for the life of your loan. Current fixed rates on loans vary on the loan and date of disbursement. The interest rate on a consolidation loan is set according to federal law.
Q: Can I consolidate my loans while I am in school?
A: No. The Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 defined repayment as not beginning until 6 months and one day after the date the student ceases to carry at least one-half the normal full- time academic workload, as determined by the school. Therefore, a Loan borrower who is still enrolled in school at least half-time may no longer request to enter repayment early to apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Q: Is there a limit as to how much I can consolidate?
A: There is no limit to the dollar amount you may consolidate.
Q: Can I add an eligible student loan that I forgot to consolidate?
A: Yes, as long as you add the eligible loan within 180 days of your new consolidation loan.
Q: Can I get a new consolidation loan after I have already consolidated my student loans?
A: You may only enter into a new consolidation loan if you have an eligible student loan that was never consolidated or you get a new eligible student loan after the date of your original consolidation. You may also re-consolidate existing consolidated loans under certain circumstances.
Q: Once my student loans are consolidated, can they ever be separated?
A: No. Once consolidation takes place, the original student loans are paid in full and there is no way to reverse the process.
Q: Is an online education rated as highly as a residential education?
A: When attending an educational institution, the first thing you as the student should take notice of is the accreditation. One form of accreditation is called a “regional accreditation”. If a university has obtained this level of accreditation, their programs have met the exact same standards as that of any other major residential university.
Q: What do employers think of online degrees?
A: Consider a survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) that found that 79% of organizations indicated they had hired a job applicant with an online degree in the past 12 months. More than one-third of the organizations reported that job candidates who obtained their degrees online were viewed as favorably as those who had earned traditional degrees.
Q: How many people take courses online?
A: According to NCES, in the fall of 2015, the number of students who were enrolled in at least one online class 5.p Million.***
Q: What is the average age of an online student?
A: 34 years old.****
ONLINE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Q: What is asynchronous learning?
A: Asynchronous learning allows you to participate on your own time. Correspondence may take the form of a video conference, message board, discussion forum, mail, or e-mail.
Q: What is synchronous learning?
A: Synchronous learning is when interaction with your instructors takes place in real time and place. In a campus-based school, this means attending a physical classroom. In an online environment, it requires that you log in to their classes at a specified time. In its most typical form, it is similar to a live discussion.
Q: Is online school difficult?
A: Due to the fact that programs hold the same accreditation as residential classroom programs, the classes are likely to hold the same level of difficulty. You may want to consult an advisor at the school of your choice for more information on courses and programs.
Q: How much time will I need to invest weekly?
A: This may depend on how many classes you take as well as the courses themselves. Typically, a student may study 6 – 9 hours per week, per course. This time is likely to vary depending on course and program requirements.
Q: What’s the highest level degree I can get online?
A: A Doctorate degree.
Q: What are the teaching credentials for an online professor?
A: The credentials required for online instructors are the same as those required of professors at residential universities. In order to teach online in most cases, instructors need to possess a graduate degree, as well as have real life experience in the area they are teaching.
Q: Will I receive the same support systems that I would on a traditional campus?
A: Yes. Online schools typically have career services, academic advisors, financial aid departments, technology help desks, and a myriad of other support services.
Q: How will I get my books?
A: Some courses may require a student to purchase the book while others may provide e-books for use.
Q: How long will it take me to finish an online degree?
A: It is typically up to you, the individual student, how many courses you choose to take each quarter or semester and the degree level you decide to pursue. Due to the convenience, some online programs may be finished at a quicker pace, but this will also depend on program requirements.
PAYING FOR SCHOOL*
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: Most schools have a financial aid department that may provide specific instructions and walk you through their financial aid process. In order for you to be prepared to fill out financial aid forms, it is suggested you obtain copies of your tax forms from the prior year (if you filed) and a copy of your license or ID card.
Q: Can I use my Veterans benefits?
A: Yes, qualified students attending schools approved by the Veterans Administration may be eligible to use Veterans benefits. You may want to go to www.military.com to find a list of schools that the VA recognizes. In some cases you may also have to be separated from active duty for less than 10 years.
Q: Can I use my military benefits?
A: Yes. Eligible students may use your military benefits if you are on active duty. Each branch of the military has its own set of eligibility criteria. Speak with your Education Officer for complete details.
Q: Will grants cover my entire tuition?
A: A variety of federal and state grants may be available for eligible students to help pay for school, but the amount you receive for each grant depends on your financial need and also the amount your receive from other grants. While grants might cover a good portion of your educational expenses, most likely they will not cover an entire program of study. However, scholarships and other funding options could be available to cover the cost of higher education. For more information about financial aid, please speak with an advisor at the school of your choice.
Q: When do I have to start paying back my loans?
A: Typically you don’t have to start paying back most loans until 6 months after you complete your last course. At that point, you may receive a letter from your lender; most lenders give you a 60-day grace period to send in your first payment. Repayment terms may vary, so be sure to check with your lender. A standard loan repayment term is 10 years, but many options exist to extend the term to 25 years.
Q: What if I already have loans I am paying back?
A: If you are currently paying back loans, you are still eligible to receive more loans as long as your current loans are not in a “default” status. When you attend school for the second time, two options could be available to you. You may either continue paying back your loans or request an in-school deferment.
Q: What is an in-school deferment?
A: An in-school deferment may allow you to postpone any payments you have from previous educational loans. Most schools will require you to submit an in-school deferment form that you will need to send to your school as well as your lender.
Q: Do I need to put anyone else’s information on my financial aid forms?
A: This will vary on the financial aid forms you are filing. Federal financial aid forms may place students into the dependent and independent categories which may require you to provide a spouse’s or parent’s information. Visit studentaid.ed.gov for further details.
*All financial aid information was obtained via studentaid.ed.gov. The information on this page is for research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.