The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia

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The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia The 6 Best Online Degrees of 2020 - Investopedia Posted: 05 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST Can You Get a College Degree Completely Online?  It's possible to earn a college degree completely online. The first step is deciding on the level of college education you want to achieve. Whether you just finished high school or graduated 30 years ago, you may earn anything from an associate's degree to a doctorate online. You also need to choose your field of study. You may consider your past education, experience, interests, career options, and your earning potential. Your chosen field may impact the intensity of your online degree and the level of education required.  Regardless of your career or future earnings , you should consider how much time and money you are willing to spend. Some education and skills may be more competitive, though, and therefore may offer a higher return on investment . 

Some California colleges decide to offer all fall classes online - EdSource

Some California colleges decide to offer all fall classes online - EdSource


Some California colleges decide to offer all fall classes online - EdSource

Posted: 01 May 2020 06:19 PM PDT

Salma Ramirez, of San Marcos, is taking virtual tours of college campuses since real tours are canceled.

This story was updated on May 2 to include Santa Rosa Junior College

Four California community colleges — Santa Monica College, Sierra College, College of the Desert and Santa Rosa Junior College — plan to offer all fall classes online to protect students and staff from the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, officials at UCLA plan to give students the option of how they want to attend their fall 2020 classes.

"The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and maintaining the quality of our teaching and learning programs are of utmost importance for the college," said Joel Kinnamon, president of College of the Desert, which has about 10,000 undergraduates in Palm Desert. "With an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the college's service area, combined with the lack of a vaccine and the possibility of a second wave of infections, we felt this was the most prudent path."

The announcements foreshadow the decisions that other California colleges may end up making, including the state's 111 other community colleges. (Calbright College is the state's only online-only community college.)

Many colleges and universities across the country are considering how they will offer classes for the fall academic term, either in-person, virtually or a mix of the two. But only a handful of institutions have decided what they will do, despite growing anxiety from students and families over how these decisions will affect them.

"At a minimum, since we know it might not be possible for some students to safely travel to campus, we plan to offer the option of remote learning at least for fall quarter, even if some classes are held in person," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Emily Carter, an executive vice chancellor and provost to the university, in a message to students.

One thing the UCLA campus can't guarantee is housing for students this fall because of the need for safety precautions need to keep students safe from the virus. Because of the pandemic and national travel restrictions, university officials don't know how many students will be able to live in apartments or dorms this fall.

"In normal times, UCLA is able to offer housing to a majority of incoming and returning students," according to the message. "At this point, it is unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our operations in student housing and residential life during the 2020-21 academic year and therefore we are unfortunately unable to provide a housing guarantee."

Officials at Sierra College, in the Sacramento area, tweeted that they wanted to give students as much advance notice as possible, and so decided fall classes would be online-only.

"Making this decision early allows us to better prepare for online learning and gives staff more time to prepare for this format," according to the college, which has about 16,000 students enrolled. "With the potential for a resurgence of the virus in the fall, students will not have to worry about making an abrupt transition to remote learning."

However, some classes can't happen in an online-only setting. Sierra College officials said they will continue looking for alternatives, such as a mix of virtual and in-person classes, to help students complete their courses.

"We understand this situation is not ideal for anyone," the tweets continued. "But we hope by making this decision early we can prepare better for the fall semester and continue to help our students complete their educational goals as best we can."

Santa Monica College, which has about 26,000 students, decided earlier this week that its nearly 3,000 classes would be offered remotely this fall starting Aug. 31.

The decision to continue online-only instruction through this fall was based on two factors. Santa Monica officials don't think a COVID-19 vaccine will be available until 2021 and it would be "nearly impossible" for the campus, which is described as "open-access," to monitor and identify the differences between people who have the coronavirus and those who have the typical flu.

Until they're able to safely reopen the Santa Monica campus for in-person classes and services, students can continue to access mental and physical health counseling online. The campus will continue its Chromebook laptop lending program, which has given more than 200 students the technology they need to access classes online, and access to the school's drive-thru pop-up food pantry will continue, said Kathryn Jeffery, Santa Monica's president, in an email to students.

Jeffery said faculty members and counselors would continue building their skills to help students pursue their academic experience remotely.

"Your instructors and counselors are learning new skills, software and tools so that they can give you the best possible academic experience," she said.

Santa Rosa Junior College President Frank Chong Thursday issued a statement saying that the college would offer its fall classes online.

"There may be some courses that require in-person instruction, such as those that require hands-on labs and those offered at the Public Safety Training Center." Chong said.  "Where possible, we will work alongside faculty and staff in these areas to offer in-person instruction" utilizing the college's social distancing protocols.

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College Consensus Publishes Aggregate Consensus Ranking of 100 Best Online Colleges and Universities for 2020 - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 21 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- College Consensus (https://www.collegeconsensus.com), a unique college ratings website that aggregates publisher rankings and student reviews, has published their ranking of the 100 Best Online Colleges and Universities 2020 at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/online/best-online-colleges/.

The University of Florida takes the first spot again this year, with Rutgers University-New Brunswick, The University of Illinois, Western Carolina University, and The University of Iowa rounding out the top five.

To identify the Best Online Colleges and Universities for 2020, College Consensus combined the latest results from the most respected college rankings with thousands of real student reviews to produce a unique consensus score for each school. According to Consensus editors, "College Consensus gathers the publisher rankings and student reviews from around the web and distills the results into simple, easy to understand scores so students can quickly and easily compare schools." While most rankings only provide one perspective - such as student experience, surveys of administrators, or expert opinion - the Consensus philosophy is to open up and show prospective college students the full range so they can make the most informed decision possible.

As the editors explain, "The College Consensus methodology pulls together rankings from:

  • Forbes
  • Money
  • U.S. News & World Report
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Wallethub
  • Washington Monthly

Then we average student reviews from sites like Cappex, Niche, Student Review, and more, to get the full picture of how students see their colleges, which we call the Student Review Rating. Put them together, and we have the College Consensus." Learn more about the College Consensus rankings methodology at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/about/.

To help prospective college students and their families evaluate the educational options open to them, College Consensus has identified the best online colleges and universities, according to the combination of published rankings and student reviews. To qualify for the ranking institutions have to have a Consensus Score and offer at least 5 fully online bachelor's degree or bachelor's completion programs.

Rounding out the top 25 (in alphabetical order) are:
Appalachian State University
Dickinson State University
Florida International University
Fresno Pacific University
George Mason University
George Washington University
LeTourneau University
Rutgers University - Newark
Southwestern Adventist University
University of Arizona
University of Central Florida
University of Denver
University of Massachusetts
University of Minnesota-Crookston
University of Missouri
University of Utah
University of West Florida
Valley City State University
Washington State University
Webster University

"Online college education has come a long way," Consensus editors note; "a child born in the same year as the first fully online degree could very well be earning their doctorate online right now." Online education has gone from being a novelty or suspect to being a standard for higher education, especially for working adults: "While predatory, unscrupulous online 'colleges' once threatened to make online degrees a punchline," according to the editors, "today the most prestigious colleges and universities – from the Ivy League to research giants like MIT and Stanford – offer fully online programs." In other words, " The best online colleges for undergraduates are some of the best colleges, period."

That's why the College Consensus ranking of the Best Online Colleges & Universities is a valuable guide for college-bound young people, nontraditional-aged students, working professionals, and everyone else. As the editors explain, "Online degree completion programs offer affordable options and unmatched convenience, especially when compared to their 'brick and mortar' counterparts." With flexible scheduling, affordable tuition costs, and a wide variety of format options (such as accelerated courses, cohort plans, asynchronous lectures, online collaboration, and more), online programs have become ideal for working adults. The College Consensus Online Colleges & Universities ranking points them to programs that are really concerned with their success.

College Consensus is an innovative approach to college rankings. We combine the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores. College Consensus also offers expert advice and guidance on all aspects of college life, from finding the perfect college, to getting accepted, paying for it, and finding your professional path after graduation.

Carole Taylor
Social Media & Marketing Manager, College Consensus 
238379@email4pr.com 
(512) 710-9901
http://www.collegeconsensus.com/ 
https://www.facebook.com/collegeconsensus/
TW: @CollegeConsens
IG: @CollegeConsensus

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/college-consensus-publishes-aggregate-consensus-ranking-of-100-best-online-colleges-and-universities-for-2020-301044062.html

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Coursera's 23 most popular online classes - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 01 May 2020 01:37 PM PDT

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More people are now under lockdown to protect against COVID-19 than were alive during World War II. And of the 2.9 billion people under quarantine to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, millions are enrolling in online courses like The Science of Well-Being at learning sites like Coursera and edX.

There are many class offerings, but below are the 23 most popular Coursera courses around the world right now, according to the company.

The list includes individual courses as well as Specializations and professional certificate programs, which represent a series of related courses bundled together to help students master a specific skill or interrelated concepts.

Rather than offer courses that are free to audit with a one-time fee to enroll, Specializations and professional certificate programs typically offer a free week-long trial and are billed monthly afterward. Since they contain multiple courses, they can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to complete. So, the faster you complete each program, the more money you'll save.

If you're looking to take just one course included in a Specialization, you can usually do that too. And, if you expect to spend more than $399 on your months-long program, consider the Coursera Plus annual subscription — just make sure your courses are included in the 90% of classes it gives you access to.

Looking for more e-learning? Here are some of the best online classes you can take

These are Coursera's top 23 most popular courses right now:

Here’s A Look At The Impact Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) On Colleges And Universities In The U.S. - Forbes

Posted: 30 Apr 2020 02:29 PM PDT

Nearly every aspect of normal life has been affected by the spread of coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19. Businesses of all different sizes and industries of all different sorts have been significantly impacted. Layoffs and furloughs have soared, with unemployment reaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. Household finances have been thrown into uncertainty as breadwinners have lost their jobs. And while banks and lenders have offered financial relief options, many are now curtailing these options as they must keep an eye on their own risk.

One huge area that COVID-19 is impacting and sowing major confusion is in higher education. Colleges and universities have been thrown into very uncertain waters as they are forced to convert to online-only courses while struggling with a myriad of other issues, especially in the realm of finances. We asked college professors and administrators, counselors, higher education consultants and many other experts in the field of higher education for their views on how COVID-19 is impacting colleges and universities, both currently and in the longer-term. Read on to find out what the effects of COVID-19 have been like for colleges and universities and what the future holds for higher education in the wake of this crisis.

The Effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Colleges and Universities

As with COVID-19's impact on the affiliate marketing industry, its effects on colleges and universities are multifaceted and quite complex. Whether it is in the area of applications and admissions, tuition, student loans or teaching, COVID-19 is making a substantial, and perhaps, lasting impression on colleges and universities.

Challenges and Opportunities

"COVID-19 has forced all of us to reimagine how we delivery an engaging and holistic learning experience for students. While it presents its challenges, it is also a massive opportunity to break out of old habits and create new, impactful, relevant modes of learning that take advantage of technology and this moment," said Gaidi Faraj, dean of African Leadership University. "An unintended consequence of this pandemic is that high education will become significantly more accessible as universities think about how to move all of their programming online, including counseling, student life, career development, etc."

"The colleges best positioned to survive the financial challenge may be the urban commuter schools. Living at home while attending schools with limited-sized classes may become a much more palatable option for parents afraid to send their children to live in densely populated campus dorms," said Gil Gibori, CEO and founder of The House Tutoring Lounge. "A study out of Cornell modeled the effect of limiting the size of their classes on interpersonal interaction, using a sophisticated networking model, and found little effect on their close-knit campus."

Effects on Applications and Admissions

"For new students, it's going to be a mess. I expect that we will see many of the students who were so excited to be accepted a few months ago will either elect to take a gap year. Especially if the school is residential and far enough from home to make it difficult to return if needed," said John Pryor, founder of Pryor Education Insights. "If local colleges can open with safety measures in place — space between students in classrooms, for instance — they might be seen as a good option for a year while the situation with the virus becomes more definite."

"Over the longer term, the college admissions process next year will be more complex, due to online tests, online schooling, and changes to requirements," said Venkates Swaminathan, founder and CEO of LifeLaunchr, a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. "Admissions tests will be offered online and at home, and schools will have to adjust to teaching online. All of this will make the admissions process more complex."

"New domestic applications are likely to go down as many students and their parents may no longer be in the position to afford tuition fees because of being laid off, furloughed, unable to pay off loans, needing to dip into their savings, etc.," said Dr. Mansur Khamitov of the Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University. "On the other hand, history shows that there is a documented tendency for a number of students to go up in recession times as they try to 'wait it out' so to speak with a hope that once recession is over, the job market will look much better. In that sense, only the time will truly tell what kind of a long-term impact COVID-19 will have on colleges and universities."

"Students for whom finances were not a particular concern are now focusing on their state institutions to save money. I think that schools like Harvard and Yale will always be just as selective as they are today, as most families would go to great lengths to make that a financial reality for an admitted student, but schools that are a few notches below in selectivity will see a substantial impact to their applicant pool," said Colleen Ganjian, a former undergraduate admissions officer and the owner of a college admissions consulting practice, DC College Counseling. "Parents have shifted from considering whether a school is a good fit to asking themselves whether it is 'worth it' from a financial perspective. As a result, I think it will be easier to gain admission to many selective private schools, but much harder to get into the highly regarded state institutions."

More Moves Toward Online Schools

Colleges and universities as well as primary and secondary schools have made an enormous shift toward online and virtual courses. While the ability to do this so quickly is impressive, the effects on teaching and learning has been very mixed. Even schools that had a viable online course system in place before the crisis are struggling to adapt to an entirely virtual program.

"Faculty and staff transitioned all learning to online and virtual in a very short period of time and this will undoubtedly impact the success and retention of students. If fewer students are successful in their courses and fewer students re-enroll for summer and fall semesters, campuses will see their retention rates and tuition revenues decline," said Brian Jones, director of admissions at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

"The requisite change to online learning has been challenging for most colleges, especially those campuses that emphasize an intimate college experience. What's more, with campus closures, colleges have lost the opportunity to actively engage with potential students through on-campus experiences, such as admitted student days and open houses," said Nicole Pilar, college counselor with Collegewise. "Sure, a college can mount a ton of webinars, but the fact remains that on-campus events are the most impactful events for students who want to get a visceral feel for a particular campus."

"Students might enroll in online programs such as Western Governors University or Southern New Hampshire—schools with good track records online, as opposed to residential colleges without as much experience with this method," said Pryor. "This could also happen with returning students who do not return this year. Some students and families understandably balk at paying high-touch residential college tuition for a low-touch experience." 

Implications for International Students

"Given the large number of international students who attend U.S. institutions of higher learning, there are many unknowns as we plan for the fall semester. In the event U.S. embassies and consulates are unable to reopen relatively soon, this will negatively impact the processing of newly admitted international students' I-20 and visa requests," said Stacy L. Peazant, academic and research administrator at the University of Florida. "Even if international students are able to participate in fall classes remotely, there will be technological access issues as well as freedom of speech and thought concerns for those citizens of more austere governments."

"Additionally, due to varying time zone differences, many international students may not be able to participate in remotely offered classes in real time," Peazant added. "In the event a temporary workaround cannot be offered to international students, higher ed institutions will incur less diverse student populations and deeper financial strain."

"If international students, a population that tends to pay more than domestic students, are unable to come to campus due to visa restrictions, their absence most certainly means lost tuition revenue," said Pilar. "While some schools might choose to offer a delayed start to those students —second semester or quarter, for example — the students' ability to return will depend on whether the State Department starts accepting routine visa appointments. And even if they do start accepting appointments, there is no guarantee those students will still choose to come to the U.S."

Financial Impact on Colleges and Universities

Like businesses, colleges and universities are feeling significant pressure on their finances due to the impact of COVID-19. And like so many businesses today, colleges and universities are taking measures in order to weather the storm and come out the other side.

"There are already very noticeable financial ramifications for colleges, staff and students alike and the situation is likely to only get worse for the time being and in the foreseeable future. Most of the colleges are reassessing their financials to only keep essential expenditures, enacting severe cost-cutting and saving measures, or even dipping into their already battered endowment funds," said Dr. Khamitov. "As a case in point, staff and employees at some colleges like the University of Arizona are already facing confirmed temporary pay cuts and furloughs. While universities and the government are announcing and rolling out relief package measures to support affected students facing financial hardship due to this global pandemic, such measures are not yet widespread or standard."

"Colleges and universities will first need to determine if they can recover from the financial losses they sustained during the spring semester and anticipate for the summer. There are predictions that some small institutions may need to close or merge, and larger institutions may need to reduce significant numbers of faculty and staff—or at least reduce their pay and benefits," said Allison Vaillancourt, vice president of organizational effectiveness at Segal, and previously at the University of Arizona as vice president of business affairs and human resources and a professor of practice in the School of Government & Public Policy and Honors College. "Many institutions rely on international students who typically pay full tuition. If they are barred from entering the United States or reluctant to come, many colleges and universities will lose a significant base of tuition support." 

Financial Impact on Student Loans

Something that's always a hot topic in higher education is student loans and student loan debt. COVID-19 is making itself felt very strongly in the world of credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages and student loans are no exception.

"It is too early to predict implications for student loan debt. However, losses in endowments and operating funds may prompt college and universities to reduce merit and need-based aid, which would drive students to take out larger loans," said Vaillancourt. "Students who have traditionally relied on on-campus work may have fewer options. Students with outstanding loans who choose not to return to colleges and universities may find themselves challenged to secure the salary levels needed to pay back their debt in a timely manner."

"One thing students need to remember is that student loans are only deferred for six months from the time a student graduates or stops attending class," said Robert Farrington, founder of The College Investor. "If their courses were cancelled early, loan deferment will come sooner than it would have had classes ended on their normal schedule."

Other Financial Effects of COVID-19 On Colleges and Students

"COVID-19 will change the nature of fundraising for many institutions. While the wealthiest donors may not feel financial constraints as much as others, I think there will be a decrease in gifts from alumni and parents who make small gifts to annual funds each year. Those $25 and $100 donations may seem insignificant, but collectively they add up to millions and can account for 5% or more an institution's annual revenue," said Emily Weisgrau, president of Weiswood Strategies, with over a decade of experience as staff and a consultant in higher education.

"Additionally, the backlash against large endowments may grow as people perceive that there are billions of dollars available to compensate for the loss in tuition, room, board, annual gifts and other sources of revenue," said Weisgrau. "This will mean colleges and universities will have to work harder to educate their constituents about how endowments work, why they are not the same as savings or emergency accounts, and what the long-term dangers are of pulling too much money out of them too quickly."

"New scholarship submissions are declining, which suggests fewer opportunities for students. As in, there are fewer scholarships being offered, not fewer students applying," said Mike Proctor of BrokerScholar. "A big sector of college and university scholarships is commercial companies that offer scholarships. Due to the impact of COVID-19, commercial companies are cutting their budgets and data shows that private scholarships from commercial organizations are down."

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