PART 4 of 4
Degree planning, in contrast to high school planning, is when your teen’s courses are selected to meet the requirements for a college degree. Resourceful high school planning, something we’re especially focused on here, is considering those requirements while your teen is still in high school and thoughtfully injecting college credit into your homeschool program where it makes sense. Since planning a high school diploma is already a big job for most of us, degree planning can feel unachievable. In this 4-part series, I’d like to talk more with you about degree planning.
The Big 3 & The Next 9
After the Big 3, there are 9 other colleges that have really nice DIY Degree Planning capability. These schools are similar in that they are generous with credit acceptance, but the difference here is that they all require 1 year of classes through the college. The last year (30 credits) can be completed online or on campus, depending on your goals.
The advantage of using one of the Next 9 is that you’re going to have a more traditional college experience with access to majors that otherwise require in-person classroom work. This is a good balance for those of you who hope to plan as fully as possible, but still want your student to “experience” being on campus or taking courses with a professor. That last year of college is going to be rack-rate tuition, but funding 1 year vs 4 is very appealing for most families.
1) Charter Oak State College (CT) Online
2) Thomas Edison State University (NJ) Online
3) Excelsior College (NY) Online
4) Franklin University (OH) Online / On-campus
5) Granite State University (NH) Online / On-campus
6) Liberty University (VA) Online / On-campus
7) Southern New Hampshire University (NH) Online / On-campus
8) State University of New York SUNY Empire (NY) Online / On-campus
9) Upper Iowa University (IA) Online / On-campus
10) Willmington University (DE) Online / On-campus
11) University of Maryland Global (MD) Online
12) Colorado State University Global (CO) Online
Transfer Makes $ense
If you’ve learned one key point in this series, it’s that transfer credit makes college affordable. If a college you’re considering accepts transfer credit in any amount, you have an opportunity to save significantly over the rack rate tuition they’re advertising.
- Most state colleges accept transfer credit or alternative credit for 50% of a degree. Examples of this are using your community college to complete the first two years of a degree and then the last two at a state college.
- Colleges with a generous transfer policy will accept transfer credit or alternative credit for up to 75% of a degree.
- There are three colleges (The Big 3) with a VERY generous transfer policy. You can DIY the entire degree in advance except for a Cornerstone and/or Capstone.
- There are nine colleges (The Next 9) with a VERY generous transfer policy. You can DIY the entire degree in advance except for the last 30 credits (1 year).
The Same Thing Only Different
Occasionally, a college will “reverse” the way they state their policy, which can be confusing at first blush. For instance, a bachelor’s degree usually requires the completion of 120 credits. Their transfer policy may be written in several different ways, you might have to do a little math to help you understand what they mean.
Policy Example #1) A student may transfer in up to 90 credits
Since a bachelor’s degree is 120 credits, we can calculate that 90 credits will represent 75% of the degree. (120 divided by 90 = 75%) In this policy, a student may transfer in 75% of the degree, or 90 of the 120 credits required.
Policy Example #2) A student may transfer in up to 75% of the degree
Since a bachelor’s degree is 120 credits, we can calculate that 75% of 120 is 90 credits. (120 x .75 = 90) In this policy, a student may transfer in 75% of the degree, or 90 of the 120 credits required.
Policy Example #3) A student must complete 25% of the degree at this college
Since a bachelor’s degree is 120 credits, we can calculate that 25% of 120 is 30 credits. (120 x .25 = 30) In this policy, they are spelling out what you can’t transfer instead of what you can. It’s a little less direct, but by requiring you to complete 25%, they are allowing you to transfer in the remaining 75% (90 credits).
You’ll occasionally see variations and stipulations, but if you take a moment to understand exactly what they’re allowing, you’ll know whether or not it’s a good policy!
Degree planning is tricky, but it’s not impossible – and it IS WORTH IT! A resourcefully planned degree can cost 20% of what you’ll pay if you just walk in and sign up for college. This makes a college degree attainable and affordable for any family.
The rest of this series: