written by: Jenny Rae Armstrong•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 4/8/2009
Excelsior College is a popular online college among online degree-seekers. Is it worth the hype? The answer lies in their wealth of programs, courses and the affordability of the college.
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Founded in 1971 under the name “Regents College," Excelsior College was one of first American colleges dedicated exclusively to distance learning. Since they were founded on the premise of distance learning and have been refining their systems since today’s college student’s parents were sitting through Earth Science 101, Excelsior has created one of the simplest and most streamlined online learning experiences the internet has to offer.
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Degree Completion Programs
Excelsior’s biggest draw is their flexible online degree completion options. They allow students to transfer in an unlimited amount of credits from other accredited universities, are receptive to life-learning portfolios, and encourage students to complete a good amount of the classes they need to graduate through credit-by-examination programs. In fact, Excelsior is one of the few fully accredited colleges that allow students to complete their degree entirely through credit-by-examination. They grant credit for CLEP, DSST, AP, Subject GREs, and credit-by-examination programs offered by accredited colleges. This policy drastically reduces the time it takes most people to graduate.
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Excelsior’s pricing scheme can be confusing to people used to traditional colleges where everything is rolled together. Students pay a yearly fee to be enrolled in Excelsior College, which covers the administrative costs associated with their degree programs. Since courses do not have to be taken through Excelsior, tuition is paid directly to the schools the class is taken at. Excelsior’s own online classes are reasonably priced, less than two hundred dollars per credit, and financing is available for students who need it. If you enrolled in Excelsior using FAFSA, you need to take your courses through Excelsior.
Overall, Excelsior’s wide acceptance of budget-friendly credit-by-examination programs reduces the cost of earning a college degree through them. Their own Excelsior College Examinations cost about a third of what their corresponding courses do.
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Excelsior has a wide range of courses, available online or on CD-ROM. They begin every other month, so students never have to wait long to get into the classes they need to finish their degree. Excelsior’s online interface is user-friendly and easy to understand, which allows students to have easy access to advisors, instructors, classmates, and even Excelsior’s virtual library through their high-quality website.