Improve Online Program Visibility and Lead Quality

The Online Degree Database helps universities improve online program visibility and lead quality. It is a unique, unbiased source of information about online degree programs shared for free with students shopping for online programs. Our data comes directly from university online program websites. Today, our database has nearly 5,000 degree programs from more than 950 universities. Some of the key details for each online program contained in the database include:

  • Degree name
  • Location – Region & State
  • Total tuition
  • Cost per credit
  • Concentrations
  • Accreditation
  • Prerequisite requirements
  • Admissions requirements
  • Rankings
  • Institutional details available through IPEDS can be appended to these data

As mentioned above, these data are sourced directly from university online program websites. Details are stored in a relational database with rankings and IPEDS data. We update all records several times a year and strive to include the universe of online programs from the most popular degrees in the U.S. today.  Prospective students who are researching their online degree options visit our website to shop for the best programs possible.

Let’s Level The Playing Field

Our website presents a student-friendly interactive tool that allows students searching for online degree programs to access our data — for free. Unlike other websites that target researching students to generate leads for online degree programs, our website never asks for student’s personal contact information. Students can access our available programs here to start their research on program options. They can select criteria like total tuition, location, or accreditation based on what’s most important to them. And they can generate an unlimited number of Free Reports that identify the universities offering online programs that fit their criteria.

Our Free Reports contain the university name, degree name, and hot links to a page with more information about the university and the program URL so that the student can go immediately to get more information on the programs of interest directly.  When a university decides to sponsor their online degree programs with us, we provide more program details to researching students in their Free Reports. This allows our sponsors to even further improve online program visibility to interested students.

When a university chooses to sponsor us, they are letting students know 1) that they are confident in the quality of their online programs, and 2) they want to provide students with the best information possible as they make one of the most expensive and important decisions in their lives.

And, importantly, when a university sponsors us, they have the option to provide us with a custom link for their online program URLs.  This link takes the shopping student to a page owned by the university where they may choose to leave their contact information for more information. Consider how this process would provide significantly higher quality leads than what may be currently available to purchase in the market. It’s a win-win for prospective students and for universities!

Our comprehensive database, interactive search tool, and Free Reports create greater efficiencies in the online program search for students looking for their best online degree options and universities with competitive online degree programs. For students, we provide free access to the most comprehensive details about online degree programs available — and, for universities, we generate greater visibility for their programs based on program characteristics, not on existing brand strength or size of marketing budget. Student’s do not care about the size of a university’s marketing budget, but they do care about an online program’s tuition, admissions requirements, concentrations offered, and delivery modality. Universities may also provide additional details about their institution and online programs on the dedicated University page on our website that is linked to the prospective student’s free report.

Improve Online Program Visibility

For the first six months of 2019, we had 2,221 visitors to our website who generated a total of 1,381 Free Reports.  Users clicked on a program URL in their Free Report a total of 626 times during this time, which means that we are currently sending pretty decent traffic to university online programs!

During the first six months of 2019, there were 16 universities that received 5 or more outclicks from our free reports, sending prospective students directly their online program’s landing page.

The online MBA, Master of Analytics, Master of Data Science, and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) are the most popular reports generated so far this year. It’s no surprise that these degrees are among the most popular searches by visitors to our website. As traffic continues to build, we see interest in other programs growing as well. Students who find us and generate Free Reports are definitely taking advantage of the depth and breadth of our data to ensure that they understand and research all of the online programs that meet their criteria. No other resource provides the universe of the most popular programs for their due-diligence shopping requirements.

There are 911 institutions that appeared in the first six months of 2019’s Free Reports.  The institutions receiving the most visibility (appeared the most frequently in Free Reports) include:  Southern New Hampshire University, American Public University System, Western Governor’s University, Bellevue University, Grantham University, Maryville University of St. Louis, University of Maryland Global Campus, UMass Lowell, National University and Grand Canyon University.  Top visibility public institutions include University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Drexel University, Wayne State College, Indiana University Bloomington, and Arizona State University.

University sponsors also have access to all of the proprietary data we collect on student shopping preferences by degree type, complete with bench-marking data on the traffic generated through our website.

The Online Degree Database Difference

As described above, the Online Degree Database is bringing new and important information to the market about online degree programs. For the first time, researching students can access these details with our easy-to-use tools that allow them to select online program options based on program characteristics that are most important to them.  Universities that fit the student’s profile appear, at no cost, in the Free Reports. And, the Free Reports contain a link to the university’s program website and a page on our website that provides more details about the university. Sponsoring universities may also find high quality leads coming their way!

Consider partnering with us by sponsoring the Online Degree Database!  Contact Michelle directly at michelle@onlinedegreedatabase.com to learn more about how we can help you improve your online program visibility and direct prospective students your way.

Visit the Online Degree Database today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Hide Online Degree Tuition?

Online Degree Characteristic

Where Is The Online Degree Tuition?

I’ve spent a good deal of time researching online degree tuition and other key characteristics of online programs for competitive analyses. Our database of online degree program information (www.onlinedegreedatabase.com) currently holds details for nearly 5,000 online programs from more than 950 U.S. institutions. This makes it, by far, the most comprehensive information available about online degree programs in the U.S. market today.

We update the records in our database at least twice per year. Our updating process includes verifying:

  • the program website link (which we provide to students who download our free reports)
  • degree name
  • available concentrations
  • total credits
  • cost per credit (including in-state where appropriate)
  • prerequisite requirements
  • admissions requirements
  • plus several other key characteristics

The new 2019-2020 tuition is now posted on university websites for most programs. We are in the process of updating the online degree tuition and program characteristics for all of our records.  Our search for online program details replicates how a student would shop for an online program. This means that I’m in a unique position to offer some insights about online program website strengths and weaknesses.

In my experience, the greatest weakness is that online degree tuition, or the tuition / cost per credit of these programs, is often the most difficult item to find. And yet, it is one of the most important considerations for students who are shopping for an online program.

Biggest Website Weakness

There are often no references or links to tuition / cost information on the program websites. Only a few programs have clear, easy to find information about their tuition on their websites.

Many websites link to outdated tuition or to pages that no longer exist (the dreaded “404” error). In some cases, the tuition and fee information provided on the university website is so complicated that it is nearly impossible for an outsider (and prospective student) to interpret. For example: In-state vs. out-of-state costs. Multiple add-on fees with acronyms that make no sense to someone outside of the university. Different tuition for each school or division. Undergraduate vs. graduate tuition. Tuition rates for multiple campuses. Total tuition numbers without clarifying the number of credits each represents. Any or all of this information may or may not apply to an online program vs a campus-based program.

And, even in early July 2019, many programs still have the tuition tables for the previous academic year on their websites (too many with 2017-2018 also!). And many provide tuition data without referencing the academic year to which it applies.

Other Website Weaknesses

To make matters even worse, many websites demure their discussion of cost to information about how to ‘fund’ education costs. Here they introduce their process for helping students get loans and scholarships.

As a consumer, I always get a little worried when someone offers me financing options before I even know the total cost. And online students say they are experiencing buyer’s remorse. This is largely because they did not complete enough research on tuition and fees before enrolling in their online program.

Most university online program websites also lack:

  • complete application deadline information for programs, so there is no way to know how many opportunities a student has during the year to enter the program
  • a thorough discussion of the curriculum, including course descriptions and course sequence
  • prerequisite requirements

It’s time for online program websites to step up to this challenge. Students will move on to other online program websites if they can’t get the information they need on yours.

Website Strengths

There are improvements in the overall level of relevant details provided by most online program websites. More programs are providing meaningful details and improving the usability of their sites:

  • details for all online programs offered are located in the same area of the website
  • online program pages include a “summary” area near the top that includes cost per credit (which includes tuition and fees), total credits, available concentrations, and the time required to complete the program
  • prerequisite and admissions requirements are clearly identified
  • application fees and the application process are also clear for applicants

There are definitely more online program websites with improved content this year vs. the previous three years. But there are also many more online programs in the market, as competition continues to intensify.

The Online Degree Database Difference

Gathering detailed online degree program information takes hours, if not weeks, of time scanning university websites. This is why the Online Degree Database exists.

And, we collect details from university websites for the universe of most popular online master’s degrees like the MBA, MPA, MPH, MHA, MSW, MSN and more. And we’ve significantly increased the number of online information systems master’s degrees and bachelor’s degree programs since last year.

Even more important, our interactive tool allows prospective students to work with the database details to find the best online programs using criteria that are important to them. Plus, we give prospective students helpful information on thinking through what program characteristics are most important. And we offer tips for how to talk with online program advisers for the most popular master’s degrees.

Visit our website today to see what we have to offer. Let us web-surf university program websites for you! With our data, you can complete the due-diligence research a purchase this important deserves!

If you work at a university, let the Online Degree Database help you find your most competitive price and program characteristics. Contact michelle@onlinedegreedatabase.com for more information on our market intelligence reports today!

 

The Real Cost of Online Degree Rankings

Start your search for online Master of Accounting programs now!

The Real Cost of Online Degree Rankings

There are a lot of online education directory websites (owned by marketing firms) that offer rankings of online programs based on a wide variety of program characteristics. But, is the information they present unbiased, accurate, and based on criteria that are most relevant to you, the student? And, just who benefits from these published rankings?  Presumably, they help you save money on an online degree?

Published rankings, like the “2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Master’s in Accounting”, have been created for the purpose of marketing programs. They shouldn’t be confused with unbiased, accurate, information that will help you make the best decision on what online programs to consider if cost is important to you.

It’s worth a closer look

Let’s take a closer look. The first ten of 24 online Master of Accounting programs ranked by the website referenced above for affordability are shown in the table below. I spent two hours reviewing the actual program websites for these online programs. See my notes on this list in the column called ODD Evaluation of Top Ten. These illustrate some of the problems frequently found with this type of ranking analysis.

search online master of accounting programs

(Sources: https://www.onlineu.org/most-affordable-colleges/accounting-masters-degrees and web searches by OnlineDegreeDatabase.com)

The #1 program in this ranking is offered at National Paralegal College. This institution is accredited by DEAC, a national accrediting body for distance education programs. Online programs offered by institutions with this accreditation may be less appealing than those offered at regionally accredited institutions.  And, in fact, the methodology posted on this website explicitly states that only regionally accredited institutions are included in their rankings analyses. Well…

The tuition published here is ‘Annual Tuition’ which is not Total Tuition. If you are searching for an online Master of Accounting degree and have thought about what you can afford to pay, you are likely thinking in terms of total tuition, not annual tuition. And, many online programs offer students full-time and part-time options. What you pay is determined by how many courses you take each year. So, this makes the annual tuition detail somewhat misleading, and at best, confusing.

Three of the programs listed here aren’t even Master of Accounting degrees. The first, at National Paralegal College, is a Master of Taxation degree, which does not prepare you to sit for the CPA exam. Two others, at Tennessee Wesleyan University and University of North Alabama, are online MBA programs with Accounting concentrations.

Emporia State University’s online Master of Accounting program’s tuition varies by student residency. In-state total tuition is $10,680, but this detail is missing.  Only the out-of-state or one-rate (unified) tuition is apparently referenced above.

The tuition reported for Tennessee Technical University is completely wrong, even if you multiply what they have here by two, to account for the difference between annual and total tuition. However, I must say that finding the correct tuition on this program’s website was very difficult. But after about 20 minutes of searching, I found a statement on the program website that said the tuition for the online program is the same as the tuition for the online MBA at this institution. The actual tuition is higher than what’s posted on this list. Finding costs on online program websites is frequently difficult — check out my blog on this here.

For the record…

Picking one online education directory was necessary to make my point. But frankly, most other online education directories do this too. See U.S. News & World Report Rankings, Poets & Quants, onlinemba.com, etc. The purpose of these rankings is to get the attention of students searching for online degrees. Even I use this approach to drive eyeballs to my website, but my rankings use up-to-date data from my unique database. I don’t generate leads or market specific programs with my ranking reports.

We’re on a mission to help our industry do better. We owe it to you, the student, who is researching online degree options, to provide accurate, unbiased information about online degree programs! And we owe it to some truly great online degree programs that might not get the visibility that other programs do because they don’t have a large advertising budget.

The Online Degree Database Difference

If you used this list to start searching for the right online Master of Accounting program, you might overlook some very good programs that are not included here. This is my biggest concern about published rankings of any kind.

The Online Degree Database painstakingly collects the actual online Master of Accounting tuition data from university program websites. We gather program details for all of the most popular online degrees, including the MBA, MPA, MHA, MSN, MSW, and more.

Here’s what we found when we ranked our online Master of Accounting programs in the Online Degree Database by affordability only, using total program tuition for out-of-state / one-rate (unified) programs:

2018 Most Affordable Online Master of Accounting Programs
(Source: www.onlinedegreedatabase.com, 2018)

The programs in the table above are all from regionally accredited institutions. They are the low cost-subset of 91 total online Master of Accounting programs currently found in the Online Degree Database.  Nine of these programs are 100% online, and the other, Wilmington University, offers a low residency program where 90% of the curriculum is delivered online. Five programs – Boise State University, University of South Dakota, Emporia State University, University of West Florida, and Southern Utah University – are AACSB-accredited. American Public University’s program is accredited by ACBSP and Wilmington University’s program IACBE-accredited.

If you happen to live in Kansas and want to get an online MAcc, then Emporia State University offers your lowest cost option.

Only three programs (Boise State University, Wilmington University, and Emporia State University) from the first list are on the more accurate list from Online Degree Database. Our list includes SEVEN other programs that are actually Master of Accounting programs with lower total tuition than the first list provided.

Search online degrees using the BEST source

We have the best source for searching online degree programs. With our database, you can develop an accurate list of online degree programs using the criteria that are most important to you.  Visit our Available Programs page, and select online degree programs by degree type, tuition range, professional accreditation, GMAT requirement, location, and more. The reports we provide are FREE to you. Generate as many reports as you need. We don’t ask for your contact information because we are not a marketing firm looking to sell leads.

And, one more thing

Once you’ve narrowed down your degree choices using the Online Degree Database, consider hiring an expert to help you make your final decision. Check out the innovative new consulting services offered by Clear Degree. They offer students like you professional, personalized assistance in finding the best degree program at a better price in less time, and can save you thousands of dollars in time and tuition.

Universities, work with the Online Degree Database directly to access unique and relevant intelligence about the online degree market. Contact Michelle at michelle@onlinedegreedatabase.com for more information.