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13 March, 2013

California and Private Online Universities

My state is trying to require public universities to accept credit from online colleges. This is pretty much a huge mistake as written. The standards of private online universities are all over the place, even ones with regional accredidation. The price for these universities is higher than brick and mortar public universities and yet the graduation rate is lower and those that do graduate have lower-than-average salaries in their fields than employees who have equivalent degrees.

Even the work they do is different. I'll use an anonymous example of someone I know doing their graduate degree at one of these regionally accredited schools. He still has textbooks assigned to his classes. He's doing no independent research of his own in his field. He doesn't TA and he pays his own tuition. My husband is at UC Davis in a graduate program. He gets paid to TA, his tuition is covered, he does his own research. He is not only able to access academic journals, but often he has access to the professors who write peer-reviewed papers and books in his chosen field.

The state shouldn't be bringing good schools down to the level of these mediocre degree-mill type schools, they should be raising the standards of online education. There are definitely enough problems in higher education without having to lower the bar even more to accomodate these lazy degree mills. What do you think?


  1. These online schools are also huge cash cows for the executives. I first heard about this in Doonesbury, but here's a link from a regular news source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/40680879