Online Degree Completion Programs

  • Last Post 12 June 2011
MissShona posted this 11 June 2011 - Last edited 26 February 2016

Just a bit of background on me...After earning my Associates degree, I made an attempt to earn a Bachelor's degree in the early 2000's, but I ended up dropping out. I didn't have a clear direction, I was racking up debt, and I was flailing without a plan. Fortunately for me, I found a job in the real estate industry and made a decent living.

However in 2007 I was in a major car accident that started me down a long road of rehabilitation and an assessment of what was really important in my life. When I was working away in the professional world without a degree, friends used to ask me why I don't go back?

Well I always had two quick responses:
#1-I don't have the time &
#2-I don't have the money

To be fair, back then my claims were valid. But I did not consider the possibility of taking classes online. And I did not understand the full ins and out of financial aid. My accident left me laying around (not quite bed-ridden, but walking was an extreme chore). I was climbing the walls with boredom! I had heard of online classes but I had only taken hybrid-classes (I'll start a separate thread about that). I figured it would feel good to be working towards something. I did not intend to earn a degree! I contacted my old college because I figured it would save me effort and paperwork since they were the holders of my previous transcripts. That is when West Virginia University's Extended Learning Office came in and told me about the Regents Bachelor of Arts program where I could collect all my credits and earn a degree in two semesters!

To be fair, because of timing, I did have to take some courses face-to-face at the local community college as a transient student. However this was back in 2008 and today, their online course offerings have increased tremendously.

So the moral of this story is that if is was not for online courses, I would not have my BA degree!

Even if you do not see a way to get from where you are now to the commencement ceremony, check with your school adviser and see what they say. They probably know of programs, majors and resources that you don't. WVU's Extended Learning Office even pointed out courses to me that were being offered at a flat-rate to both in-state and out-of-state students....saving me thousands of dollars!

West Virginia University is not unique with their Regents Bachelor of Arts program. It is actually available at every public university in WV and many, many other colleges and universities across the country offer similar programs.

These programs make it easier to transfer in credits, earn alternative/life-experience credit, feature program requirements that can be met online, and a lot more. Keep in mind they may not feature the term 'online degree', but inquire anyway! Many times terms like 'distance learning', 'extended learning' or 'virtual campus' are used instead.

Hopefully this post was informative and helpful to you.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know!

VickyPhillips posted this 12 June 2011 - Last edited 25 October 2015

Hi Miss Shona,

Great advice and motivational story. Thanks for taking the time to post.

You posted an important tip also. For most people their most affordable online bachelors or associate degree will come from their state university system online.

This was true of you with West Virginia's Extended Learning and our objective research on online degree costs supports what you found to be true: overwhelmingly the least expensive online learning comes from state 4-year college systems and from community colleges online.

To help people find the most affordable online degrees we put out lists of the most affordable online degrees:

SEE, for example: Best Affordable Online Business Bachelors

The remarkable thing about this list is that it shows people that by and large non-profit state college systems which offer online learning can be extremely affordable -- AND if you attend a state university online you can also often get more state aid for your studies.

We are putting together a special list of state colleges online for bachelor completion, so I'll post this when it is ready in about 2 weeks.

In the meantime, we have put together a special list of community colleges online and we encourage people to use this list to find affordable online degrees close to home that carry maximum state financial aid potential also.

Also, if people search for bachelor degrees online in our directory they can use the FILTERS on the left to narrow their online degree search to see ONLY non-profit (state) schools or online schools in certain states. Using these filters will help create a custom list of state schools for anyone.

You are also very-very right on when you point out that it can be hard to find these state colleges online bcs. they don't advertise online and many use obscure terms like "extended learning," "virtual learning," "distance learning," or "continuing education," or "external degree" on their websites rather than "online college." I myself use theses more obscure academic terms when I am trying to find state colleges online using Google or open search.

Thanks for the great search tip and insight!


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