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Give Online Education Programs the Third Degree says BBB

Study Up Before Applying to Online Universities and Programs

Anchorage, Alaska – June 27, 2012 – Better Business Bureau is warning prospective students to be wary of certain online schools and education opportunities.

With nearly 6.5 million people involved in sort 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.

"The popularity of distance degrees and similar programs has led to more diploma mills, unaccredited universities and shady institutions that take advantage of unassuming students," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

Get schooled in accreditation. Degrees from accredited universities are more likely to be recognized by employers and other higher education institutions. Before applying, understand accreditation information provided by the U.S. Department of Education and research accreditation claims through the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

Take note of enrollment processes. Is admission granted based on test scores, entry exams and additional background information or by simply paying tuition? Degree fees are typically based on credit loads; be cautious of schools that accept all students or charge a flat degree fee.

Be wary of an easy "A." Beware: 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' BBB Business Reviews, which include ratings, complaint histories and contact details.

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington: For 100 years, BBB has been advancing marketplace trust. BBB is a neutral not-for-profit organization that helps consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. For more information on ethical business standards, BBB Accreditation, BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, complaints, events and anti-fraud tips, contact BBB or visit bbb.org.

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