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Students Seek Affordable Alternatives in Wake of Education Budget Cuts
Mar 19, 2010 (03:03 PM EDT)

Growing Interest in Online Education

NORCROSS, Ga., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As a result of the current recession, over 39 states have cut or are proposing to cut their education budgets or face massive deficits.

Unlike the federal government, most states are required to balance their general fund budgets.  Since education is the largest component of state budgets, averaging around 46%, it is typically the first area legislators look to cut during a budget crisis.  Cuts have been especially deep in the higher education sector.

To address the budget shortfall, states have been forced to lay off teachers, reduce course offerings and further increase skyrocketing tuition.  For instance, the University of California will increase tuition by 32% in 2010.  Nationwide, college tuition and fees have increased 439% from 1982-2007 according to the National Center for Public Policy.  Families who were already struggling to pay college bills will now have to find a way to pay even more in a climate where many have lost their jobs and seen their investments decline in value.

"Unfortunately, our income could not keep up with our daughter's rising tuition costs, so we had to bring her home," stated a distraught parent.  This stressful situation is causing parents and students to seek out more affordable online education alternatives to costly four-year schools.

Online Education to the Rescue

The good news is there are ways to obtain a college education without spending a lot of money. Online education schools such as Ashworth College offer accredited degrees for less than 50% of the cost of traditional campus based institutions. The curriculum is of comparable quality and is often developed in partnership with leading professional associations, which ensures that graduates have the job skills that matter to employers.  "At $80 per credit hour, including textbooks, tuition at Ashworth College is considerably less than four-year public or private institutions. We are an incredible value, and more and more students are recognizing this," said Gary Keisling, Ashworth President and CEO.  "For added peace of mind, we guarantee students that the tuition price that is in place on the day they enroll is the same price they will pay all the way through graduation."

Not only is tuition at online colleges less than traditional institutions, but the elimination of expenses such as transportation, room and board, and child care can save a student thousands more. And since online schools offer a self-paced curriculum, students can arrange their study schedules around full-time jobs or family obligations.  As a result, more students are taking a closer look at continuing their high school, career and college education online.

As one student explained, "I can chat with my instructor online and get one-on-one tutoring whenever I need help. They really care about how I'm doing with my studies.  To me, that's better than being just a number in a lecture class of 200 people."

The Sloan Survey of Online Learning Report states that online education has increased by over 16% in the past three years, and growth is projected to continue as the benefits become widely known.

According to Dr. F. Milton Miller, Ed.D. and Ashworth College Vice President of Education, "We've definitely seen a spike in student enrollment. Our advantage can be attributed to our affordability, national accreditation and our offerings of well over 100 different online education programs."

Let The Student Beware: Accreditation vs. A Diploma Mill.

When seeking out an online education high school or college, one needs to make sure the institution is accredited. Dr. Miller advises that "if you want your degree to be accepted by employers and other schools, your best bet is to enroll in a school where the accrediting body is approved by the Department of Education." Dr. Miller cautions that "diploma mills will either openly sell degrees for cash or pretend to be legitimate. Sadly, many students 'graduate' from these diploma mills thinking that they have earned a real degree."

Ashworth College is an Accredited Member of the Distance Education and Training Council and is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a globally recognized accrediting agency for online education schools and distance learning.

About Ashworth College

Ashworth College, a leader in online education, offers students worldwide more than 100 online degrees, online certificates and online career training programs that are affordable and fit the busy schedules of working adults. Ashworth also offers specialized programs to corporate partners, active duty military personnel, military spouses, and homeschoolers.

Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Ashworth College is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), a division of the US Department of Education. Ashworth High School is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). For more information, visit

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Dr. F. Milton Miller

Gary Keisling

SOURCE Ashworth College