Posted on Nov 17, 2014
Izzy Avila
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A study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the type of college one attends can have an impact on employment odds. The study used fictional résumés to measure the odds of getting a call-back for various jobs, enabling comparison of people with identical backgrounds except for the institutions they attended. Those with a bachelor's degree in business from a for-profit online institution were 22 percent less likely to receive a callback from a potential employer than those who had attended non-selective public institutions. The gap disappears, however, for for-profit institutions that have a physical campus and a strong local presence.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/09/29/study-examines-how-employers-judge-degrees

While many service-members I know have decided on schools based on a variety of reasons (financial expediency, the number of military credit transferred in, and/or overall "military friendliness"), I am interested in hearing your perspective on this topic. What has been your experience? Do you believe that where you go to school matters? What are the particular things that you look for in a school and how much does "prospective-employer perception" shape your opinion/ decison?
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CW5 Desk Officer
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Izzy Avila, that bit of the study about online degrees does not bode well for many military personnel, because sometimes online is either the only or the best option for military folks.

My experience getting a government job - at least as far as I know - was not impacted by where I got my degree. It was just important that I had a degree. Mine happened to be from a physical school (University of Maryland, College Park, MD), but I don't think it mattered for a government job.
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Izzy Avila
Izzy Avila
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Thanks for sharing, Scott!

I don't think the study is necessarily making a point to contrast or be critical of the education-delivery mode (online vs. traditional classroom) as much as it is contrasting the perception of academic institutions as a whole. For example, there are for-profit private schools and not-for-profit public schools offering both on-line and traditional modes of delivery.

You have a point, however, there are some places, like government, where it probably doesn't make a difference. I wonder, with budget cuts and an ever-increasing competitive job market, if that will ever change.
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Lt Col Instructor Navigator
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Well, I used my TA for an MBA from an online school, and I transferred my GI bill to my daughter. I'm banking on the idea that years from now, when I'm back in the civilian labor pool, employers will care more about work history and less about where my MBA came from.
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CMSgt Mark Lewis
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Izzy Avila, as the senior enlisted in my last few organizations, I frequently discussed educational opportunities and benefits with my fellow enlisted members. I always emphasized that no matter what program or institution they decided to attend that they needed to be concerned about the school's or program's "accreditation." I do believe that employers pay attention to whether a degree was earned from a "public/private not-for-profit" or "for-profit" educational institution, even more so if the institution is not "accredited."
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Izzy Avila
Izzy Avila
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Hello, Mark. That's great! I have that similar conversation when speaking to service-members and leadership. For someone exploring the idea of college, the question of accreditation is often not asked, and when it does come up, it can be confusing: regionally vs. nationally?

There are sadly occasions when I am conducting a brief on the topic, there is one person in the room who has unwittingly invested time and money into an institution that they then learn may not transfer to other propsective schools.

Great input, thanks for sharing!
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SFC Timothy Snapp
SFC Timothy Snapp
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For future degrees and recognition, accreditation is vital. There are a few schools that are regionally accredited that will evaluate and possibly transfer credits from a nationally accredited school. This is the exception rather than the rule. The easiest way to question accreditation for those unfamiliar with all the terminology is to ask if the credits will transfer to a state supported school. If there is hesitation, that can be a red flag. While not all state schools will accept other regionally accredited credits to apply to a specific degree, they will transfer them in and put them on the transcripts. As to the school being "for profit" or "not for profit" is not as much an issue as the college having onsite classes as well as online programs. Some employers are hesitant about strictly online schools without a campus anywhere. As the education process evolve, the Competency Based Learning model is growing in recognition for college credits. Here is a link to a Harvard Business review article https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-real-revolution-in-online-education-isnt-moocs
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Izzy Avila
Izzy Avila
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Thanks for sharing, Tim!
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Lt Col Instructor Navigator
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So, why would the USAF take non-accredited degrees for educational history purposes? Many of my fellow officers, before Gen Welsh masked AADs for promotion boards, got the cheapest, easiest online master's from for-profit colleges, without regard for accreditation, because they weren't trying to get employment on the outside, they were trying to check a box for the USAF. If this is really a problem, the USAF could make it go away by not allowing degrees from non-accredited schools.
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