Beware of Northcentral
#1
Beware of the Ph.D. on-line programs. Northcentral University on-line purports to be 100% online but is primarily a correspondence school. NCU uses deceptive advertising. It purports to have an online Ph.D. program. The school is a distance education correspondence program. It is not conducted over the Internet. The Internet capability of the university is grossly ineffective and is one of the weak links in its program. There is no interaction with students and very little, if any, assessment or interaction with professors. It is what one of my colleagues called, a glorified correspondence school. Yet, NCU continues to promote itself as an on-line delivery system simply because there may be some limited emails and download files or information.

NCU may try to compare itself to large private programs, but these schools are mostly owned by publicly held corporations that are subject to Sarbanes Oxley and thus a higher standard of accountability. They also have the resources to provide multi-media on-line educational programs and have the library and faculty resources to provide a viable program. NCU does not have any of these.

NCU has demonstrated very little accountability or service initiative. Although NCU is accredited, it promotes its services in a deceptive manner. It should be classified with unethical marketing scams. It is not an on-line program. It is a correspondence school.

NCU is not a student friendly environment, nor is it transparent and accountable in its disclosure. NCU advertising is deceptive and I believe that this is wrong and should be changed and or reported to the public at large.

Their student service is not effective and their focus is primarily on money. Students will receive much better service from large traditional or private universities.

NCU will not refund your money after you enroll and determine that their program was not what they purported it to be. In fact, they will ignore you and use unethical tactics to harass you. They continue to use false advertising and this warrants public disclosure and, at least, preventing others from falling for NCU’s deceptions. Although they may rank well in terms of cost, please remember, you get what you pay for. And you will not get much from this correspondence school.

Search for an AACSB school or a regionally credited school that has a long successful history and/ or is backed by a credible organization that has the resources to provide a top rated program.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Distance-Lear...901909.htm
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#2
Is it just me?  No, I don't think so.  Here is a sampling of the negative Northcentral reviews at Online Degree Reviews (in between the obvious shill reviews):

Quote:Watch out
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on December 13, 2007

So called Mentor did absolutely nothing to "facilitate" my learning.  Got a generic "welcome aboard" message at the beginning of class along with a list of papers that I had to write.  Zero interaction (other than, here's your grade).  You are at the mercy of your mentor, who by the way you don't get to choose.  Also, check out the incestuous faculty credentials.  My mentor’s replies to my emails (which didn’t answer my questions) included spelling errors and misuse of “big words” – but what do I know, maybe the pace in which assignments are submitted is an “interglacial” part of the learning process.  

I will have to say that this instructor was "new" but her incompetence didn't save me from having to fork over the tuition money.  At $850 plus books, it was a costly "learning experience"!

You are required to use a special email system for all correspondence, which makes me thankful for Outlook.

The learner portion of the website isn't very intuitive.  Eventually I found a site map, which wasn't linked. . .

Quote:Question about accreditation
By: mgaobe (In Progress) on November 24, 2007

...My concern is about the accreditation.  I have been checking the accrediting web site for NCU and see that they have issues with conflict of interest, ownership, and they are getting ready for reaccrediting.  Given the history of the owner, the bankruptcies I found on google, being turned down for federal aid, etc. anyone who can provide feedback regarding chances of getting accredited again would be helpful. Otherwise, I am pulling out before I get too many credits into the process.

Quote:Refund Problems
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on July 25, 2007

I planned to take two courses as a graduate student at large purely for licensure purposes - I already have two masters.  When I started the first course I was shocked at the number of assignments, papers, etc. that were due each week.  I have a 4.0 in my graduate degrees and am not afraid of work, but they clearly seemed excessive, including an assignment to make a videotape - I don't have that kind of equipment!!  So, I dropped the two courses, and after two months am still waiting for the $2800 refund!!  They keep saying they're in the process but haven't received it yet.  I am going to lodge a complaint with the BBB as the next step.

Quote:Mixed reviews
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on June 25, 2007

I've taken 3 courses now in my doctoral studies towards my DBA in Management. I must say, in all honesty, that I have very mixed feelings about the school. Other reviewers comment that the staff is frequently unavailable, and I have to agree. When I have questions over an assignment, they frequently go unanswered for days. Also, I find that the mentors are more preoccupied with the format of the research papers rather than the content. I'm critisized at length because, this or that, is not properly formatted and has to be re-submitted, thus wasting a lot of time. This is total rubbish to me. The assignments themselves are often either confusing, or, overwhelming (too much reading and writing). My thoughts going into the program was that this would allow me to be more flexible about family and job. The reality is that it is not. I am having to spend far more time away from job and family to complete some of these inane assignments than I feel comfortable doing. My GPA is not the best (nor the worst), but I feel that all of my assignments were subjectively graded based on no real set of guidelines. The library is a joke. The research material itself is fine but the search engine is horrible (try to re-find an article you found the day before, you'll see what I mean). I think this could be a great school if they hired professional instructors, not the "leading professionals in their respective fields". These leading professionals in their field may be wonderful...in their field. But that doesn't necessarily make them good instructors. Also, fix the damn library search engine.

Quote:Lack of Support in the program from the mentors
By: Hamdi_LF (In Progress) on May 26, 2007

The idea of having NCU degree seemed to be great, but the problem arise from the lack of mentors support to their learners and the academic advisors. As I started my Ph.D program, They don't tell you anything that direct you to the proper source. You are basically on your own. I have an MBA and I got 30 credits transferred. The main problem is that when you start a Ph.D, One may need a lot of support all along, but the beginning is always hard. I just wanna say that it is extremely hard to even get their support. There is no standard grading system, by which you can pinpoint your grade. It is all up to the mentor and what they decide to do with you, so if the mentor does not clarify what wants you end up losing out, especially if your name sounds foreign like mine. I got an (A)in almost all of my assignments, but the mentor sometimes read the first two lines of my assignment and tells to resubmit and you already lost 10% of your assignment grade without even knowing why and if you discuss it, they may screw up your entire grade of the class, because there is standarized grading system that all mentors can abide by. It is important to mention to you that My MBA GPA is an (A)and I still maintain an (A) in my first classes assignment. The bottomline is you need to check out different online schools like Walden, Argosy or somewhere else as long as they provide a more standardized grading system and strong support for their learners, because you a mentor to be on your side to help you achieve your academic goals and be on your side during the process.    

Quote:Dissertation
By: hamptonspress (In Progress) on May 2, 2007

I am concerned.  I am in the middle of completing my specializations and hear that the dissertation process is very long and no one to speak to about it.  I do correspond with many students that are in the process.  They seem very, very disappointed.  The University has a new president, a new Chair for the Bus. Dept. and I hear the mentors are new and usually are of no help.  Maybe we should compile a list of students and go to the Northcentral accreditation region with our grief.  Keep all your e-mail and attempted telephone contacts so if and when this happens we have a leg to stand on.  I think it is lucridous that people write their mentors asking where they stand on their dissertation and they do not get an answer and when they do it is that the chair of the Dept. who does not respond or tel. calls or e-mail needs to approve it.  Let's do something collectively. E-mail me with your concerns.  I have a great deal of experience in the accreditation process and will comply a complaint to them that will get their attention.  

Quote:NCU is a Joke
By: Anonymous (Graduate) on February 26, 2007

What a joke.  NCU has no rigor.  All of the "mentors" (not even called professors) are rarely available... not that you'd need them anyway.  Every class is the same.  Read the text and either answer the canned questions in each chapter or write a "paper" which is no more than a repeat of the questions - only rephrased.

Financial collection problems are common.  Academic "advisors" are no help in sorting out degree options.  Tuition just took a HUGE hike along with "fees".

The "department heads" are not available.  I've called mine several times, left emails, left voicemails, and even sent registered letters to him about issues I have.  To date... NO feedback.

Avoid the place like the plague.  No value.

Quote:learners beware!
By: davidfsims99 (In Progress) on January 20, 2007

NCU has both good and bad qualities. First I'll list what I have found to be the bad ones.

1. NCU does not participate in Title IV federal funding. That means that any loans you currently have in deferment will not stay in deferment. The school web site does hint that some lenders *might not* let your loans be in deferment, but that warning is not adequate. If I had known beforehand that I would have to be in repayment status while attending this "regionally accredited" school, I would have chosen a different school.

2. Since they don't participate in Title IV, you have to fund your tuition yourself. That might mean taking out personal education loans or charging it to your credit card, or simply using their payment plan. Fortunately for me, I can use GIBILL.

3. They have a fee for just about everything. If you want to have an additional transcript evaluated after initial enrollment, $50. If you want to change how you pay for your tuition, another $50. If you want to change from the DBA to a PhDBA, another fee.

4. As of the time of this writing, I am in my first course at NCU. This particular course is mandatory, and you cannot get credit for it from an identical course at another school.

5. As this is my first course at NCU, I can only speak to my experience in this course. There are 7 writing assignments. Write six 2-3 page papers, then one 15-20 page project paper. There is a "suggested" schedule of when to turn in each one, but you can go at your own pace and turn them in sooner. I read of one student who completed an entire 3-month course in just 8 days. There is no mandatory course discussion with the rest of the class, like at other online distance education schools. Also there is no lecture or lecture notes. Instead, you are assigned to read the textbook and write your papers using scholarly resources. I guess some people might count this as a good thing, but I consider it a weakness because you don't receive personal experience input from the instructor or fellow learners. Maybe that is why they don't call the instructors "instructors" ...they call them "mentors" instead. That ought to be "red flag" enough.

6. Degree and Institution recognition. There is another "North Central University" in Minnesota for Pentecostals. Some people might take offense at the possibility of confusing the two. According to the list of NCU's faculty members, many of them have degrees from NCU...it makes me wonder if they couldn't get a job anywhere else (because of their degree) and were forced to come back to NCU for work.

Quote:You can do a lot better than this
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on September 12, 2006

As a relatively new school NCU seems to be experiencing a lot of growing pains.  This wouldn't be too much cause for concern if the effect was solely internal to the school, but they seem to be passing it on to the students.  

For example, initially I had difficulty with the person evaluating my previous work for transfer credit.  It was apparent the individual hadn't even read the transcripts I submitted, and as a result I initially was being denied appropriate credits.  I'm still not certain whether this was merely the result of that individual's abject incompetence or part of a plan to soak students for more tuition for unnecessary coursework.

Once that was settled I started the program and did have a couple of wonderful professors.  But I also had one professor who was not only incompetent but an unabashed liar as well. Again, the professor's conduct was so outrageous it raised the issue whether anyone could be that incompetent by accident, or whether there was some purpose or design to the conduct.  

(I've since learned NCU has a legacy of corruption, shady dealings, diploma milling and "overseas agents" involved in selling cut rate degrees for little or no work, as discussed in more detail here: http://www.armedforces.net/Groups/Genera...am_P276797 )  

Eventually I got tired of dealing with their problems and left the program.  I found another program at a different school with a much higher level of prestige in my field.  

I would not recommend NCU to anyone unless you couldn't possibly get admitted at a decent school.  Even at its best NCU is bottom of the barrel.  If you are willing to settle for that then this is for you, but if you aspire to anything above that look elsewhere.

http://www.onlinedegreereviews.org/colle...y/reviews/
Reply
#3
Here is something else that was passed on to me.  Ever notice that NCU does not have a Wikipedia entry?  The reason is that when the following was posted to their Wiki page the school was unable to refute it factually and so had the entire page closed down.

Quote:NCU Controversy

For the past two decades NCU's president Dr. Donald Hecht has been dogged by allegations of scandal and impropriety in the operation of higher education entities.

1.  Balin Institute of Technology.  On September 6, 1991,  Administrative Law Judge John F. Cook ordered that Hecht's Balin Institute of Technology pay a $500,000.00 fine and terminated its eligibility to participate in student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.  (Dkt. No. 90-67-ST) http://www.ed-oha.org/cases/1990-67-st.html

On March 26, 1992, the same Judge Cook ordered that Hecht's Balin Institute of Technology reimburse the United States Department of Education in the amount of $172,469.05 and reimburse lenders in the amount of $76,167.00. (Dkt. No. 90-84-SP) http://www.ed-oha.org/cases/1990-84-sp.html

Neither the fine nor any reimbursement ever has been paid.

2.  American University of Hawaii (AUH).  On May 17, 2006, Judge Shackley F. Raffetto of the Second Circuit Court of the State of Hawaii found that AUH had issued degrees in violation of the laws of the state, and that in so doing also had violated the state's laws against unfair competition and unfair or deceptive business practices.  

The court found that AUH was incorporated in 1994 by Hecht's fiancé, Carol Sue Fazio, who owned all its stock.  Hecht provided AUH with its initial courses, curriculum, handbooks, dissertation handbook, and other academic materials, as well as its initial equipment and supplies, and he also designed and created the logo and motto of AUH.

The court described the AUH degree issuing scheme in its Findings of Fact:

"As a part of its degree issuing operations, Defendant AUH acts as the center of a hub of foreign universities located in different nations. Defendant AUH and these universities recruit and teach non-US-resident students. The student is required to pay tuition to the affiliate foreign university, located in the foreign country. In turn, Defendant AUH requires the affiliate to pay five percent of the tuition monies received to Defendant AUH. After the non-US-resident, foreign student has completed course work and after the fee is paid to Defendant AUH, Defendant AUH will issue the student an AUH degree, referred to as an “American” degree."

The enlistment of overseas agents to recruit and "teach" foreign students, and issuance of foreign degrees based on payment of a "fee,"  is a pattern of conduct typically associated with Hecht's operations.

http://www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/ocp/udg...ibit-a.pdf

3. Southern California University of Professional Studies (SCUPS).  Another Hecht operation, founded in 1978 in Santa Ana, California.

The February 1995 issue of Spy Magazine reported on a "sting" operation in which a number of schools, including SCUPS, agreed to sell their undercover reporter various degrees. The SCUPS price, Spy reported, was $10,000.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.educa...af7adcf216


In the April 25, 1997, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education where there is an article headlined "Thailand Cracks Down on Diploma Mills," in which author Tony Gillotte reports that SCUPS operations in Thailand caused it to be blacklisted and banned there as a "diploma mill."
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.educa...32ecf8d103

According to John Bear, author of the authoritative Bear's Guide, SCUPS distributed "what looked like a reprint of the write-up on them in my book—but they had changed it, to have me say more favorable things about them than I did. And, for good measure, they also distributed what looked like reprints from my book on some of their competition, which they had changed to make less favorable than what I really said."
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.educa...6bf3a39221


SCUPS has never refuted any of these allegations.

Although it currently is being investigated by state and federal authorities, SCUPS remains approved to operate by the State of California BPPVE.

4. Newbridge College.  A vocational school founded by Hecht and operating out of the same street address as SCUPS, it employs the same familiar scheme to entice overseas students as described above.  

https://app.dca.ca.gov/bppve/school-sear...de=3004631
https://app.dca.ca.gov/bppve/school-sear...de=3008511


Newbridge maintains a relationship with MeiHo Institute of Technology in Taiwan "to encourage graduates to study to qualify to work in the United States. We look forward to a steady "pipeline" of students, to head to the US for work, after graduation."

http://universitiesunited.com/united/p1.html

5. Northcentral University (NCU).   The deceptively named NCU (not the same as Minnesota's older North Central University founded in 1930) is a spinoff of SCUPS created by Hecht in 1996 and relocated to Prescott, Arizona, to take advantage of the lax accreditation standards employed by that regional accrediting agency, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).

The nature and degree of separation, if any, between regionally accredited NCU and unaccredited SCUPS is a subject of much controversy.  The two entities are said to have even established separate boards of directors only recently.  

State regulators and regional accrediting agencies are investigating a purported "shell game," whereby SCUPS used NCU assets/students/infrastructure to support California BPPVE approval while simultaneously NCU used SCUPS assets/students/infrastructure to support NCACS accreditation.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.educa...fd114cb269

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.educa...66b9bc7a88

Dr. Tom Esch, who has well-documented the nature and extent of the connections between the unaccredited SCUPs and accredited NCU, has described any alleged separation between the two as "superficial."

http://www.degreeinfo.com/forums/showthr...ietnam+ncu

http://www.degreeinfo.com/forums/showthr...genumber=1

NCU also has well documented relationships with a number of foreign schools, in which NCU pursues the familiar "foreign agent" scheme described above, i.e., overseas agents recruit and "teach" foreign students, and NCU issues degrees based on payment of a "fee."   As in the previous iterations of this scheme, these relationships are criticized for short-changing American students who pay full price for "degrees" they could obtain more cheaply and for little or no work overseas.

Among these "foreign agents" is the reputed Russian diploma mill International University of Fundamental Studies.  NCU also has similar relationships with "foreign agents" in Vietnam and China.
http://forums.degreeboard.com/printthread.php?t=1556

Troublesome issues also remain regarding the overall quality of the NCU doctoral programs.  Studies have shown that a disproportionate number of initial NCU PhD dissertations appear remarkably short in comparison to those of other universities.

NCU is up for accreditation review by its regional accrediting agency NCACS in 2008, with a site visit scheduled for February 25-27, 2008.  Should NCACS decide to revoke NCU's accreditation, degrees issued prior to revocation still will be considered accredited.  However, this likely will be small solace to degree holders when compared with the resulting loss of prestige and credibility.  Prospective students should consider carefully the likelihood and possible consequences of such action by the accrediting agency before enrolling.
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#4
RAW Wrote:Is it just me? No, I don't think so. Here is a sampling of the negative Northcentral reviews at Online Degree Reviews (in between the obvious shill reviews):

Quote:Watch out
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on December 13, 2007

So called Mentor did absolutely nothing to "facilitate" my learning. Got a generic "welcome aboard" message at the beginning of class along with a list of papers that I had to write. Zero interaction (other than, here's your grade). You are at the mercy of your mentor, who by the way you don't get to choose. Also, check out the incestuous faculty credentials. My mentor’s replies to my emails (which didn’t answer my questions) included spelling errors and misuse of “big words” – but what do I know, maybe the pace in which assignments are submitted is an “interglacial” part of the learning process.

I will have to say that this instructor was "new" but her incompetence didn't save me from having to fork over the tuition money. At $850 plus books, it was a costly "learning experience"!

You are required to use a special email system for all correspondence, which makes me thankful for Outlook.

The learner portion of the website isn't very intuitive. Eventually I found a site map, which wasn't linked. . .

Quote:Question about accreditation
By: mgaobe (In Progress) on November 24, 2007

...My concern is about the accreditation. I have been checking the accrediting web site for NCU and see that they have issues with conflict of interest, ownership, and they are getting ready for reaccrediting. Given the history of the owner, the bankruptcies I found on google, being turned down for federal aid, etc. anyone who can provide feedback regarding chances of getting accredited again would be helpful. Otherwise, I am pulling out before I get too many credits into the process.

Quote:Refund Problems
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on July 25, 2007

I planned to take two courses as a graduate student at large purely for licensure purposes - I already have two masters. When I started the first course I was shocked at the number of assignments, papers, etc. that were due each week. I have a 4.0 in my graduate degrees and am not afraid of work, but they clearly seemed excessive, including an assignment to make a videotape - I don't have that kind of equipment!! So, I dropped the two courses, and after two months am still waiting for the $2800 refund!! They keep saying they're in the process but haven't received it yet. I am going to lodge a complaint with the BBB as the next step.

Quote:Mixed reviews
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on June 25, 2007

I've taken 3 courses now in my doctoral studies towards my DBA in Management. I must say, in all honesty, that I have very mixed feelings about the school. Other reviewers comment that the staff is frequently unavailable, and I have to agree. When I have questions over an assignment, they frequently go unanswered for days. Also, I find that the mentors are more preoccupied with the format of the research papers rather than the content. I'm critisized at length because, this or that, is not properly formatted and has to be re-submitted, thus wasting a lot of time. This is total rubbish to me. The assignments themselves are often either confusing, or, overwhelming (too much reading and writing). My thoughts going into the program was that this would allow me to be more flexible about family and job. The reality is that it is not. I am having to spend far more time away from job and family to complete some of these inane assignments than I feel comfortable doing. My GPA is not the best (nor the worst), but I feel that all of my assignments were subjectively graded based on no real set of guidelines. The library is a joke. The research material itself is fine but the search engine is horrible (try to re-find an article you found the day before, you'll see what I mean). I think this could be a great school if they hired professional instructors, not the "leading professionals in their respective fields". These leading professionals in their field may be wonderful...in their field. But that doesn't necessarily make them good instructors. Also, fix the damn library search engine.

Quote:Lack of Support in the program from the mentors
By: Hamdi_LF (In Progress) on May 26, 2007

The idea of having NCU degree seemed to be great, but the problem arise from the lack of mentors support to their learners and the academic advisors. As I started my Ph.D program, They don't tell you anything that direct you to the proper source. You are basically on your own. I have an MBA and I got 30 credits transferred. The main problem is that when you start a Ph.D, One may need a lot of support all along, but the beginning is always hard. I just wanna say that it is extremely hard to even get their support. There is no standard grading system, by which you can pinpoint your grade. It is all up to the mentor and what they decide to do with you, so if the mentor does not clarify what wants you end up losing out, especially if your name sounds foreign like mine. I got an (A)in almost all of my assignments, but the mentor sometimes read the first two lines of my assignment and tells to resubmit and you already lost 10% of your assignment grade without even knowing why and if you discuss it, they may screw up your entire grade of the class, because there is standarized grading system that all mentors can abide by. It is important to mention to you that My MBA GPA is an (A)and I still maintain an (A) in my first classes assignment. The bottomline is you need to check out different online schools like Walden, Argosy or somewhere else as long as they provide a more standardized grading system and strong support for their learners, because you a mentor to be on your side to help you achieve your academic goals and be on your side during the process.

Quote:Dissertation
By: hamptonspress (In Progress) on May 2, 2007

I am concerned. I am in the middle of completing my specializations and hear that the dissertation process is very long and no one to speak to about it. I do correspond with many students that are in the process. They seem very, very disappointed. The University has a new president, a new Chair for the Bus. Dept. and I hear the mentors are new and usually are of no help. Maybe we should compile a list of students and go to the Northcentral accreditation region with our grief. Keep all your e-mail and attempted telephone contacts so if and when this happens we have a leg to stand on. I think it is lucridous that people write their mentors asking where they stand on their dissertation and they do not get an answer and when they do it is that the chair of the Dept. who does not respond or tel. calls or e-mail needs to approve it. Let's do something collectively. E-mail me with your concerns. I have a great deal of experience in the accreditation process and will comply a complaint to them that will get their attention.

Quote:NCU is a Joke
By: Anonymous (Graduate) on February 26, 2007

What a joke. NCU has no rigor. All of the "mentors" (not even called professors) are rarely available... not that you'd need them anyway. Every class is the same. Read the text and either answer the canned questions in each chapter or write a "paper" which is no more than a repeat of the questions - only rephrased.

Financial collection problems are common. Academic "advisors" are no help in sorting out degree options. Tuition just took a HUGE hike along with "fees".

The "department heads" are not available. I've called mine several times, left emails, left voicemails, and even sent registered letters to him about issues I have. To date... NO feedback.

Avoid the place like the plague. No value.

Quote:learners beware!
By: davidfsims99 (In Progress) on January 20, 2007

NCU has both good and bad qualities. First I'll list what I have found to be the bad ones.

1. NCU does not participate in Title IV federal funding. That means that any loans you currently have in deferment will not stay in deferment. The school web site does hint that some lenders *might not* let your loans be in deferment, but that warning is not adequate. If I had known beforehand that I would have to be in repayment status while attending this "regionally accredited" school, I would have chosen a different school.

2. Since they don't participate in Title IV, you have to fund your tuition yourself. That might mean taking out personal education loans or charging it to your credit card, or simply using their payment plan. Fortunately for me, I can use GIBILL.

3. They have a fee for just about everything. If you want to have an additional transcript evaluated after initial enrollment, $50. If you want to change how you pay for your tuition, another $50. If you want to change from the DBA to a PhDBA, another fee.

4. As of the time of this writing, I am in my first course at NCU. This particular course is mandatory, and you cannot get credit for it from an identical course at another school.

5. As this is my first course at NCU, I can only speak to my experience in this course. There are 7 writing assignments. Write six 2-3 page papers, then one 15-20 page project paper. There is a "suggested" schedule of when to turn in each one, but you can go at your own pace and turn them in sooner. I read of one student who completed an entire 3-month course in just 8 days. There is no mandatory course discussion with the rest of the class, like at other online distance education schools. Also there is no lecture or lecture notes. Instead, you are assigned to read the textbook and write your papers using scholarly resources. I guess some people might count this as a good thing, but I consider it a weakness because you don't receive personal experience input from the instructor or fellow learners. Maybe that is why they don't call the instructors "instructors" ...they call them "mentors" instead. That ought to be "red flag" enough.

6. Degree and Institution recognition. There is another "North Central University" in Minnesota for Pentecostals. Some people might take offense at the possibility of confusing the two. According to the list of NCU's faculty members, many of them have degrees from NCU...it makes me wonder if they couldn't get a job anywhere else (because of their degree) and were forced to come back to NCU for work.

Quote:You can do a lot better than this
By: Anonymous (In Progress) on September 12, 2006

As a relatively new school NCU seems to be experiencing a lot of growing pains. This wouldn't be too much cause for concern if the effect was solely internal to the school, but they seem to be passing it on to the students.

For example, initially I had difficulty with the person evaluating my previous work for transfer credit. It was apparent the individual hadn't even read the transcripts I submitted, and as a result I initially was being denied appropriate credits. I'm still not certain whether this was merely the result of that individual's abject incompetence or part of a plan to soak students for more tuition for unnecessary coursework.

Once that was settled I started the program and did have a couple of wonderful professors. But I also had one professor who was not only incompetent but an unabashed liar as well. Again, the professor's conduct was so outrageous it raised the issue whether anyone could be that incompetent by accident, or whether there was some purpose or design to the conduct.

(I've since learned NCU has a legacy of corruption, shady dealings, diploma milling and "overseas agents" involved in selling cut rate degrees for little or no work, as discussed in more detail here: http://www.armedforces.net/Groups/Genera...am_P276797 )

Eventually I got tired of dealing with their problems and left the program. I found another program at a different school with a much higher level of prestige in my field.

I would not recommend NCU to anyone unless you couldn't possibly get admitted at a decent school. Even at its best NCU is bottom of the barrel. If you are willing to settle for that then this is for you, but if you aspire to anything above that look elsewhere.

http://www.onlinedegreereviews.org/colle...y/reviews/


What are the qualifications of the "mentors"? Are they professors, do they hold degrees... what's the deal?
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#5
I know you guys here are no fans of the DegreeDiscussion site, but this post is relevant to the discussion here.  This just happens to be the most recent of a number of similarly themed posts by different people on the various disucssion forums.  Here poster Reverend Rick proposes a class action lawsuit against Northcentral:

Quote:Possible lawsuit at NCU?

I am a Northcentral University student who is one appeal step away from academic dismissal. The rules at NCU state that a student may repeat a class once. A failing or unsatisfactory grade results in dismissal. No surprises there. I have maxed out my allowable attempts and find myself in the current situation.

The class under discussion is a research topics class. This point in a doctoral student's studies seems to be the time when students smack face-first into the dissertation topic brick wall. And yes, they probably heard my collision clear down in Prescott, Arizona.

What has surprised me is the level of engagement on the part of the mentors. Or lack thereof. On this latest attempt, the mentor only initiated contact once. Once! I initially asked questions and presented some topics, but received very little constructive guidance. Very, very demoralizing to have a one-sided conversation. The one time that the mentor initiated contact, I responded that I was having a severe writer's block. The only response from the mentor after that point was the posting of the unsatisfactory final grade.

During the prior attempt, the mentor didn't initiate contact once (as seen via the internal messaging system).

The learner's guide at NCU says it is policy that the Mentor must provide active mentorship and that by not doing so, the student is prone to failure. (Paraphrased... I didn't want to infringe on any copywrites by cutting and pasting)

The latest mentor didn't live up to his obligations by being absent from the learning experience. Adding to that injury is the insult of having to pay $$$ for each attempt.

Are there any legal actions that can be taken? I would dearly like to reverse the outcome of this class and find an engaged mentor to finish the doctorate at NCU.

I've learned from other discussions about others who have experienced this same situation at NCU. Is a class action lawsuit an option so that we can pool our resources together?

http://www.degreediscussion.com/forums/v...sc&start=0
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#6
Hmmm, I noticed in the thread at DegreeDiscussion, that Rich was throwing in that (CLMS) (Centre for Labor Market Studies) at about the same rate (all the time) he used to squeal MIGS-MIGS-MIGS. A damn good reason to run like hell for the exit. I hope people have finally learned to ignore salesmen looking for suckers. The idea is to find something useful to the student, not for the guy getting the commissions.

Now for NCU. Most of the guys over there have no first hand knowledge of what NCU does or doesn't do. They just parrot each other or argue, as the mood strikes them. It's just pointless chatter.

I've seen people all over the place on NCU. Some love it and others can't stand the school. All I can say is that if the fit isn't there, you have no option short of finding another school. The school will not change what it is for a student. You either give them what they want or you don't get the degree.

Here is some advice given to me by a University of Tennessee professor. I was complaining to him at the time about something. I don't recall what.

"Give me what I want and you will pass. If you don't you won't."

That about sums it up. If you can't please them, you have no choice but to find another school.

NCU would not have been my first choice. I base this on what I have heard, not what I know. I have never been a student there and have little direct knowledge of it. But the information I have seen about NCU makes me concerned and since there are other choices, I would take one, but that's just me.
James
A.S., B.S., M.B.A.
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#7
this must not be construed as apology or defense or "devil advocacy" in favor of the above schools, for I do not know them and have no experience with them.
A few points about distance learning and learning in general, though:
I have taken several courses with accredited DE providers such as Oxford, Cardiff, Exeter, Athabasca, Open University; I have brick&mortar state university degrees.
1 You are on your own. Yes, this is true in most cases and -to a point- is partly why I love distance learning; I am more of a lone wolf. B&M universities ( or online ) are no guarantee you'll get your hand held, or receive tuition as bragged about in the "just wonderful" brochures and videoclips detailing how "just awesome" the university can be.

2 I have not studied under professionals posing as teachers, but always under proper university teachers, including most published authors, scholarly columnists etc. Well, I must say support levels vary, but must be expected to settle towards the lower end of the spectrum. The most common excuse is that they are tutoring 50, 70, 500 students at once and cannot bother trouble-shooting for you. They enforce academic standards & expectations typical of their institution...how to live up to them, it is your problem. Even asked directly, most will just answer "well, if you couldn't find anything about X, then fine. But remember guidelines ask for 50 scholarly sources minimum"; " I understand your predicament, but there is nothing I can actually do to relieve it".
This both DE & B&M ( at B&M teachers actually rely on teaching assistants to do 3/4 of the job at undergraduate levels ).
2-A this raises the question of COMPETENCE, but how would you know, anyways? Yes, professor X published 12 books and chaired 3 symposia, but what good is that to you, if he's too busy (or unwilling ) to help you?

3 REFUNDS. Most universities just do not refund, whether B&M or DE, period. Some offer a narrow time window (at my B&M university it was fifteen days ); some offer regressive refund (EG the further you get with your course, the less you get back ).

4 CREDIT TRANSFER. Even big, established universities often act as complete amateurs in the domain of credit transfer, especially internationally. I never attended dodgy or gray area schools, but witnessed extremely amateurish CT procedures; credit transfer might be denied one time and awarded next time for the same courses. Even university registrars (forget common CT employees ) blindly rely on some aging books and publications -often unofficial- and seem to discover something unheard of when you request transfer from universities such as Cardiff. That is the reason -I think- why many African blatant degree mills "slipped through the net", while a man with half a brain would not even bother; that is also why some universities rely on third party services, EG NACES, IQAS etc.

5 STUDENT SERVICES. Well, I had a few pretty funny experiences bordering complete nonsense. I had to personally phone or write ministries and other state authorities to "get proof" of the actual rules, after getting diverging opinions. Call-center attendants and even niche counsellors are often ill-informed or just "make it as they go". B&M's excuse is that their wallet is kept dry by running physical campuses & the like; DE's excuses is that their revenue is only a fraction than that of BM's.
A.A Mole University
B.A London Institute of Applied Research
B.Sc Millard Fillmore
M.A International Institute for Advanced Studies
Ph.D London Institute of Applied Research
Ph.D Millard Fillmore
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#8
Are these "mentors" qualified in any particular areas? How would one know? You also mentioned "counselors." Are these really qualified counselors, or are they actually salespeople? Does anyone know?
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#9
Whatever Wrote:Are these "mentors" qualified in any particular areas? How would one know? You also mentioned "counselors."  Are these really qualified counselors, or are they actually salespeople? Does anyone know?

I would liken the NCU "mentors" more to the Dementors of the Harry Potter books:

Quote:The Dementors are soulless creatures considered to be among the foulest beasts on Earth. They are soul-sucking fiends who guard the wizard prison, Azkaban. In the books, Dementors appear to have a generally human shape, approximately ten feet (3.05 meters) in height, but covered in dark, hooded cloaks which reveal only grey, decayed hands. The wraith-like creatures have no eyes, and there is a large hole where the mouth should be. According to the author, they grow like fungi in the darkest, dankest places, creating a dense, chilly fog. This effect is cumulative with the number of Dementors, and large numbers can effectively freeze even a lake with merely their presence....

Rowling has likened the effect of a Dementor to the human ailment known as depression, which the author has herself experienced.  She describes it as "that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad."

Being blind, Dementors sense and feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings to move around, forcing them to relive their worst memories. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of Dementors present. Despite their attachment to human emotion, Dementors seem to have difficulty distinguishing one human from another....In addition to feeding on positive emotions, Dementors can perform the Dementor's Kiss, where the Dementor latches its mouth onto a victim's and sucks out the person's soul. The victim is left as an empty shell, incapable of thought and with no possibility of recovery. It is believed that existing after a Dementor's Kiss is worse than death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_cre...#Dementors
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#10
Whatever Wrote:Are these "mentors" qualified in any particular areas? How would one know? You also mentioned "counselors." Are these really qualified counselors, or are they actually salespeople? Does anyone know?

I wondered because the Kennedy Western "advisors" were said to be only salespeople pushing to sell enrollments, but supposedly they had no credentials - whatever might be needed to be an advisor.

So, were the Northcentral - an accredited school "mentors" people holding any kind of credentials, or just clerical staff?
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