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Opinion: The Problem With Deceptive Degree Aggregators In The Search For Online Courses & Degrees

By on January 2, 2013
Domestic, Ethics, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Recruitment, Regulatory, Required, Universities & Colleges

143/365 Oh Inverted World 

Gibson Regester via Compfight

By Suzanne Kaplan, Guest Columnist

If you’ve ever tried to google the phrases “online degrees” or “online certificates” you have most likely encountered a degree aggregator such as OnlineClasses.neteLearners.com,Online Certificate Programs, or DegreeSearch.org. They’re all the same, really. They present as if they are going to search the Net for all possibilities, but that’s not the case at all; they search their own databases that are filled with information from their partnership schools.Take DegreeSearch.org. They have a tab on their homepage that allows users to search for online degrees. The catch is that you, the user, will only find information about online degrees from the schools they work with, which not surprisingly are almost all for-profit colleges, with the exception of USC’s School of Education and School of Social Work and Georgetown’s School of Nursing and Health Studies.

What’s worse, these aggregators want your email and phone number. And once they get it, they’ll keep emailing and calling you. After testing an online aggregator and sharing my email and phone number, I was bombarded with emails and calls from Walden University.

While you might not rule out going to a for-profit college, surely you want to see all your options, not just those from places like University of Phoenix and Walden University. (If you’re wondering which colleges are for profit, here’s a list.)

Of course, you may be one of those people who completely rules out going to for-profit colleges because you don’t trust their academic rigor or you’re just not okay with their ridiculously high tuition and questionable recruiting practices. And if you have no idea what some of the problems are with for-profit colleges, you should refer to Senator Tom Harkin’s two-year investigation on the for-profit education industry that he disclosed this past July.

Your feelings about for-profit colleges aside, if you want to find high-quality online-degree or certificate programs, you’re better off googling specific areas of study rather than using an aggregator. For example, if you’re looking to do an MBA online, google “MBA online” or “online MBA degrees.” Even then, your search will include aggregators; eLearners.com shows up sixth if you google “online MBA degrees.” But, you’ll also see that Penn State, Drexel, and Northeastern show up in the results, which are all reputable universities.

Via JobTalk 


2 Comments

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Vicky Phillips
Jan 6, 2013

Hi Suzanne,

It is very difficult indeed to find non-profit schools online because of the industry domination by lead aggregators.

As you say, sites like those you mention are lead machines that only list those schools that pay them for running lead inquiry forms. They are paid per lead to recruit directly for these schools and they are only paid if they send a lead to that school.

The pay per lead business model dominates the college directory sector and once a site accepts that model they are locked into listing large for profits by and large, and of course they run no listings and provide no data on schools unless a school pays them to do so.

There is, however, an alternative to the lead aggregator model.

I created it to help consumers get eduated before they enroll about as many schools and degrees as possible. It’s a consumer’s guide — not a lead machine.

GetEducated,com is a portal that works for the consumer and accepts NO pay per lead advertising for this reason. Our degree comparison engine lists real data — ranging from cost to whether or not a school is non profit or for profit — on over 400 accredited schools — 1,300 masters and almost 400 MBAs.

Our selection is extremely large and includes many non-profit and state schools. We are not a lead generation machine. 85% of the schools on our site have never run any advertising with us and likely never will. They still “show” on our site; moreover we give consumers data on these schools that they can honestly compare.

Our mission is to help consumers get educated before they enroll — not to recruit students for the schools that pay us to list ads. To this end we use an old fashioned ad model that sepeaates ads and editorial like newspapers and magazines used to do, This old media model allows us to create a huge directory and create comparison tools for consumers.

Try looking at our Best Buy lists for online degrees across the nation, These are objective fact-based data lists of the most affordable degrees in the USA.

You’ll be surprised at how many low costs, sold schools actually offer online degrees.

Vicky Phillips
Founder

Get Educated

3000 online degrees reviewed and rated for cost and credibility
Get Educated BEFORE You enroll!

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