Posted in College Majors, Distance Learning, engineering, Science

Member question: Can my daughter study mechanical engineering online?

Great question Vivien, thank you for asking!  There is only 1 college that meets the very rigorous criteria required for this search.

(1)  Regionally Accredited University or College (note, you’ll find many “accredited” colleges but the only accreditation you should be after if you’re becoming an engineer, is regional.  Forgive me, but Wikipedia says it well:

 

While it might seem that national accreditation would be more important than regional accreditation, this is generally not the case. Regional accreditation is older, and with a few exceptions, more prestigious than national accreditation.[4] Most non-profit institutions are regionally accredited, while most for-profit colleges and universities are served primarily by national accrediting agencies.

(2) ABET Accredited Program is considered the standard for an engineering degree.  This is a program accreditation, not a college accreditation.

Graduates of ABET-accredited programs who work in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology can seek professional recognition by enhancing their credentials through licensure, registration, and certification programs where appropriate. Graduation from an ABET-accredited program is increasingly a required minimum credential for such professional recognition.

…and the winner is

The University of North Dakota

That’s it.  Just one school is RA, ABET, and offers a full engineering program as a distance learner.  Their engineering program(s) is not new to distance learning.  I have information going back to 1989, so these guys have been doing this for a while!  I always like to see some experience as a distance learning provider before enrolling.  (I’ve taken classes at two colleges, and my husband at a third, that were brand new at offering distance learning.  Let’s just say it’s not always best to be first).

There will be brief campus visit(s) required for labs.  

The University of North Dakota offers several options:


Program Overview

Distance Engineering Degree Programs

  • Leads to a degree in one of UND’s undergraduate degree programs accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
  • Designed for working adults who are unable to complete a full-time, on-campus program.
  • Follows the same curriculum as UND’s on-campus engineering programs.
  • Available online with on-campus labs (ranging from 5 to 14 days) held during the summer in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
  • Provides online access to recorded classroom lectures and course materials from anywhere, at any time.
  • Requires supervised (proctored) exams to be completed within a specified timeframe at a location near you.
  • Waives select course requirements if you demonstrate work experience and extensive knowledge in the field of engineering.
  • Taught by highly qualified UND faculty who are committed to distance learning and are available to answer your questions by phone or email.
  • Offers student support services, such as online tutoring, library, tech support and advising services.
  • Begins every Fall (August), Spring (January) or Summer (May) Semester.

This is a $125,000 degree. Let’s look at ways to bring that number down.

Tuition is high.  If you’re a North Dakota or Minnesota resident, on-campus tuition is just under $400 per credit.  If you’re from anywhere else, you’ll pay close to $850 per credit.

In my estimation, you should be able to complete 60 credits externally through a combination of CLEP, AP, dual enrollment, and transfer credit.  Expect to pay about $6,000 doing that, but you’ll cut the cost of this degree by 50% before scholarships.

They accept CLEP and AP.  While it doesn’t say it on their policy page, my intuition tells me that engineering majors won’t allow your teen to use CLEP or AP for credit in any of their sciences.  Stick to liberal arts, social sciences, foreign language, or humanities.

They accept dual enrollment.  If you have an option of earning dual enrollment credit through your local community college, this can shave a lot of the cost for you.  This is the best way I know of to learn English 101, English 102, and all the math that’s coming!

They accept transfer credit.  Use your community college to receive guaranteed transfer of an associate’s degree.  They have a LOT of articulation agreements, not just in-state (common) but with other outside states (rare).  If you live in one of these states, contact the University before enrolling in your state’s community college.  Dot the i’s and cross the t’s.  A lot of money is at stake here! 
Arizona

Kansas

Minnesota

Michigan

New York

North Dakota

Texas

Washington

Wyoming

Posted in College Majors, Community college

Reader Question: Is there a low-cost way to do medical school?

Q:  Is there a low-cost way to do med school? 

A:  Yes and no.  Medical school is expensive, and to get there, you need a bachelor’s degree first!  So, you’re talking about a LOT of education.  My BIGGEST piece of advice is to keep your undergraduate degree as low as humanly possible because you’ll be paying interest on THOSE student loans for a long time if you take any.

UNDERGRADUATE NOTES:  Unless your teen receives a full tuition full room and board scholarship to a private or out of state school, the lowest cost process is as follows:  use CLEP, AP and dual enrollment in high school for everything except for the sciences.  Attend your community college for the first two years (general education) earning EXCEPTIONAL grades (you’ll need all A’s), apply for the Phi Theta Kappa Community College scholarship.  Transfer to an in-state public university and live at home while doing so.  Take 15 credits per semester to graduate in 4 years while using summer to work (for money) and volunteer in a medical capacity (for service hours). 

But, there are some tricks and strategies you can use to bring the cost of Medical School down.  Can you attend for free?  In some cases, yes.  

(1)  The Ph.D. Md route.  Ahh, even MORE education!   If your teen has completed a lot of college credit in high school, they are probably younger than their peers anyway, so what’s another couple years?  Kidding aside, this isn’t an easy route, but you can “add” the research doctorate to your med school process, and usually, they will provide some amount of free tuition and or a stipend for doing so.

(2) National Health Service Corps Scholarship.   This is a 100% tuition scholarship for medical school (also counts for Physician Assistant, Dentistry, Doctor of Nurse Practitioner, or Certified Nurse Midwife) in addition, you get a $1316/month stipend, all fees, books, clinical supplies, uniforms, and educational supplementary fees covered 100%. Some students will also qualify for partial or full undergraduate loan forgiveness.
Recipients of this scholarship will have to repay each year of scholarship with 1 year of service (2-4 years) in a health professional shortage area – in other words, you can’t choose where you work immediately after graduation. You commit to working (full salary) in certain areas where they *really* need doctors, dentists, etc. After those few years of service are fulfilled, you can go on with your practice as you choose. As of 2016, they awarded 330 full awards. What they DON’T disclose is how many applicants try for it. You can assume it is competitive, but in my experience, FEWER THAN YOU THINK will apply. A lot of the time, scholarships are left on the table because people don’t apply.  Application cycles open early Jan/Feb of each year.   http://www.nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships

(3)  Attend in-state public.  Apply to ALL of the MD (and DO) programs, of course, but it’s usually cheaper to attend a public university as an in-state student.  Not all states have medical schools, and of those that do, many are private (typically charge the same for instate and out of state) but if you’re in a position to choose, it’s a lot less expensive.  Wikipedia has a nice state-by-state list of all the medical schools.  List of Medical Schools

Example of cost difference at the University of Colorado School of Medicine

in-state 4 years:  ~$146,000

out of state 4 years:  ~$250,000

(4) Health Professions Scholarship (Military).  Army, Navy, and Air Force will all pay 100% of the student’s medical, dental, advanced practice nursing, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary, social worker, or physician assistant tuition.  Candidates must already possess a bachelor’s degree and have an acceptance letter to a med school program before they can enlist.  Incentives vary based on branches of service, but during professional training (med school), the student is placed on inactive reserve.   Upon completion, they begin their service obligation as an officer and will complete anywhere from 4-6 years of service.

Examples of the different branch’s incentives for 2016:

100% tuition, textbooks, lab, and fees

$2,000 per month cash stipend

$20,000 sign on bonus


There are a lot of math/cost questions surrounding the medical school question.  Is it worth it? Most number-crunchers say “no” but they are assuming you’re paying rack rate for tuition. The 1 Million Dollar Mistake …and you’d never let your teen do that, right?

The American Association of Medical Colleges publishes a record of all costs of all medical schools each year.


U.S. NEWS RANKING

Remember to multiply tuition shown x4

Below is a list of the 10 least expensive public medical schools based on tuition and required fees. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report. The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a federal service postgraduate academy that waives tuition and fees in return for military service, was excluded from this list.

Medical school (name) (state) In-state tuition & fees (2015-2016) U.S. News research rank U.S. News primary care rank
Texas A&M Health Science Center $16,432 76 (tie) 78 (tie)
University of Texas Health Science Center—San Antonio $17,661 60 (tie) 71 (tie)
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center $17,737 84 (tie) 84 (tie)
University of North Texas Health Science Center $19,022 RNP* 50 (tie)
University of New Mexico $19,233 78 (tie) 45 (tie)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $19,343 25 (tie) 21 (tie)
University of Texas Health Science Center—Houston $20,092 56 (tie) RNP
Marshall University (Edwards) (WV) $20,100 RNP RNP
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine $21,650 RNP RNP
East Carolina University (Brody) (NC) $22,281 88 (tie) 32 (tie)

 

Below is a list of the 10 ranked private medical schools with the lowest tuition and fees in 2016. Two of these schools offer discounts to in-state residents – the Baylor College of Medicine and the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. The prices given for the schools in this article are the full-freight rates paid by out-of-state students. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (name) (state) Tuition and fees (2016-2017) U.S. News research rank U.S. News primary care rank
Baylor College of Medicine (TX) $32,663 21 8 (tie)
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA) $33,055 RNP RNP
University of Miami (Miller) (FL) $42,642 48 (tie) 68
University of Pikeville (KY) $42,975 RNP RNP
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine—Virginia, Carolinas, and Auburn $43,800 RNP RNP
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (MO) $44,595 RNP RNP
Lincoln Memorial University (DeBusk) (TN) $47,880 RNP RNP
Hofstra University (NY) $49,500 71 (tie) 55 (tie)
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (MN) $49,900 20 31 (tie)
Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (NY) $50,270 RNP RNP
Posted in College Majors, High School

Hot Rod School

Hot rod college? What?  File this under “interesting college options!”  Since relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina, I’ve received quite an education about motorsports engineering, fabrication, and engines- it’s a BIG, BIG, deal to a LOT of people! nascar.jpg

So, I thought I’d devote this post to all things automotive.  I’ve got some really great resources for you from high school through college, mainly because I have 4 teenage sons obsessed with all things automotive.  Each of my sons has their own special interest (luxury cars, muscle cars, motorcycles, ATVs) so if this is where your teen’s interest lies,  start your engines!


Homeschool Curriculum

Crankin Engines (High School Credit) is a homeschool curriculum for your teen and easily adaptable to a co-op class.  This is on my “to buy” list for 2017-2018 school year, so I hope to share specific feedback later.  This will be devoured by my 13-year-old son. It’s a 4-stroke internal combustion engine applied science course, taught through DVD and enginehands-on lab.  The students much purchase an engine (the teacher walks you through a salvage yard and shows you how to choose one for about ten bucks).  The description promises that the parent/teacher doesn’t have to have prior knowledge.

Community College (High School Credit) you may not realize that community colleges have an entire division of courses available to anyone 16 and older for anyone to take!  They use various names, but you’ll see it called “Adult Education” or “Professional Development” and even “Continuing Education.”  These courses are taught by professionals through a non-credit option, usually evenings or weekends for a flat fee (not tuition).  Check more than one community college, if you may find a robust automotive offering!

Car Painting Course (High School Credit) is a DVD curriculum for anyone interested in learning how to paint a car and do simple body work in your home garage.


Summer Camp / Extracurricular

Motorsports Engineering Camp-  I have to take a moment to promote a summer pro1gram that my oldest son attended in 2012 at Univerisity of North Carolina that was absolutely fantastic.  We lived in Illinois at the time, so this was his first “sleep away” experience, but the students stayed on campus and were supervised by the
Engineering faculty during a week of motorsports engineering lab activities at their 4.5 million dollar facility! The did a lot of amazing things.  Sadly, this specific camp isn’t currently offered this year, but I encourage you to contact the many colleges I’ve listed below if this sounds like something your teen would enjoy.


Driving Experiences

Ok, I’m not fooling anyone- this is a complete and total indulgence, but if your teen is a car ennascar2thusiast, this fuels their fire and helps them appreciate the complexity and level of knowledge they’ll have to possess in the profession.  Driving experiences are available all over the country at select locations.  The NASCAR Driving Experience allows you to ride with or drive an actual NASCAR.  It’s expensive and requires
a full day of “school” before you’re eligible.  If you ride along, you must be 16, and to drive you must have a car3valid driver’s license.  The fun doesn’t stop there.  If NASCAR isn’t your style, there are Exotic Driving Experiences, which are nearly identical, except instead of a NASCAR, you’ll ride in or drive an exotic sports car.  (I feel obligated to share that my son paid for this himself.  This kind of indulgence isn’t in this momma’s budget!)


Dual Enrollment

Community College (High School & College Credit)  There is a strong possibility that your community college offers dual enrollment courses for college credit.  In many states, dual enrollment in career and technical occupations (automotive, motorsports, fabrication) waive testing requirements that are otherwise used for liberal arts, math, English, science, etc. courses.

As an example, my local community college offers 3 dual enrollment automotive paths, all lead into a degree program if the student desires.


College, Career, and Techincal Programs

The following programs are for high school graduates, though some may offer dual enrollment and summer programs.  This short list is my personal list, and I’m sure lacks hundreds of excellent programs, so it is by no means complete.  If you have a program you’d like to recommend for this list, let me know!

University of North Carolina Charlotte  Motorsports Engin2eering capital of the country.  A number of programs including Bachelor of Engineering with a concentration in Motorsports, Master of Science, MBA in Motorsports, and even a Ph.D. in Motorsports research. This is the campus that hosted the camp my son attended.
(Engineering majors study math above Calculus)

Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis The first Bachelor’s program in the country dedicated to motorsports engineering, and they’ve also added a Master of Science program and a certificate option.  (Engineering majors study math above Calculus)

car2.jpgLakeland College Street Rod Apprenticeship Program in Canada has a fantastic program called “try-a-trade” that allows the students to “try out” the program for 12 weeks before deciding to enroll in the 8-month Street Rod Apprenticeship.  Apprenticeship Video

 

Utah Valley University    With a specialization in Hot Rod Technology, Utah Valley offers a one-year certificate, diploma, Associate in Applied Science Degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Technology Management Degree.  NOTE:  Utah Valley allows students to use CLEP and DSST exams to complete their general education requirements!  Up to 25% of a degree may consist of CLEP or DSST credit.

Ohio Technical College offers 10 different training programs, ranging from 1-2 years in length.   Depending on the specialization, students will earn either a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.  The Associate degree requires some general education, but the certificates and diploma programs consist of 100% hands-on labs.

  • Auto-Diesel Technology
  • Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology
  • Manufacturer Training
  • Classic Car Restoration Technology
  • Complete Automotive Technology
  • Diesel Equipment Technology
  • Motorcycle and Powersports Technology
  • High Performance and Racing Technology
  • Rod and Custom Technology
  • Welding and Fabrication Technology

NASCAR Technical Institute (Universal Technical Institute) is a NASCAR-endorsed franchise training program operating in 8 states (North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts).  Beyond NASCAR engines, you can also study automotive, motorcycle, diesel, collision, and marine technology.  They have a pretty active Facebook page your teen can follow.

The Hot Rod Institute in South Dakota is another 100% hands-on program.  The student’s training can lead to a certificate or diploma in specialties like Hot Rod Motorcycle, Hot Rod Upholstery, and Hot Rod Performance.  The only “ding” that bothers me a bit about this school, is that they don’t participate in Federal Financial Aid.

 McPherson College offers a BA in Automotive Restoration.  (Thanks Kathy B. in New Jersey!)

 

WyoTech has 3 campus locations (Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Florida) that specialize in core automotive technology, collision, diesel, marine, and motorcycle technology. WyoTech used to be owned by Corinthian Colleges, which landed them in serious financial student loan trouble- they used to have 7 campuses, and now only have 3 as of 2015.  This is a program to consider with caution.  It’s too soon to know if they will turn around or close down.  I mention this because if you start doing an internet search for programs, they’ll be in your top search results.  More information to consider before considering WyoTech.


Let me leave you with one closing thought:  Before enrolling in any of these super exciting programs, be sure to allow your teen the opportunity to meet people working in these careers.  Even informal interviews, email correspondence, or social media connections can provide valuable insight into matching the right training to the right career path.  

It is not always possible to be the best, but it is always possible to improve your own performance.  -Jackie Stewart “Flying Scot” Formula One Racing Driver

 

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