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University introduces low-cost, high-convenience, “good-enough” degrees


BOCA RATON, Fla. - In a recent Business Week Viewpoint article adapted from author Kevin Maney’s new book, Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On and Others Don’t, Maney says an “…online, low-cost revolution in education has become a lit fuse, sparking and crackling its way toward an explosion.” He goes on to state that since the economics of traditional colleges and universities are out of whack it is inevitable that new players will seize the opportunity to provide convenient low-cost online degrees.

While Maney’s article mentions startups Knewton and StraighterLine, although neither is an accredited institution, it somehow missed Andrew Jackson University, the organization with what is perhaps the best deal in higher education today. With accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and eleven degree programs, all offered online, this university has eliminated or greatly reduced tuition in its unique sponsored programs. In most cases, these programs reduce the cost of the university’s online courses to less than fifty dollars per credit hour, a great bargain in the eyes of students, particularly working adults seeking degrees.

Ranked the No. 1 online degree granting university by Online Degree Reviews, Andrew Jackson University has opened its sponsored tuition programs to all U.S. based applicants and those serving in the Armed Forces.

Andrew Jackson University president Don Kassner said the school took a close look at its cost structure and, rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising like most universities, decided to cut the cost of delivering education to the bone. “We are not a high-fidelity university, as Kevin Maney describes the Harvards of the world, but a low-cost, high-convenience market disrupter,” Kassner said. “No football teams or beer-soaked frat parties at AJU. Just rigorous online degree programs for those who want the sheepskin but don’t want to pay for the sheepherder’s luxury ranch and private plane,” Kassner commented. “We’re even thinking about offering a ‘smorgasbord’ program where a student pays a flat monthly fee for all the courses they can handle,” he added.

Author Maney refers to degrees from schools that don’t have a high-fidelity brand, but offer programs that are far less expensive, as good-enough degrees. “Good-enough degrees are certainly worthwhile pursuing for those in law enforcement, the military, most municipal and all Federal agencies,” said Joseph Schmoke of University Consultants LLC, who is a director of Andrew Jackson University. “The police sergeant who needs a degree from an accredited university in order to be promoted to lieutenant is not interested in overspending for that degree, or being inconvenienced by required classroom attendance,” Schmoke stated. He closed by saying, “Watch this university. It may very well disrupt the century-old university business model, especially its expensive pricing structure and inconvenient, sometimes nonsensical, requirements.”


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