Penn Foster College Reviews
Student & Graduate Reviews (135)
I'm a middle age, college educated, professional software engineer considering a change of career. I decided to take the Gunsmith career course from Penn Foster to see if that is the direction I want to go. The cost is low - $655.00 if paid in full at enrollment. Apparently, Penn Foster is not used to this type of student.
This is not a difficult course, especially for someone who has a technical background and is already familiar with the subject. I planned to knock out the entire course over 7 to 10 days.
I paid my tuition over the phone, received my Student ID and asked for all my program materials to be shipped immediately. The usual course of action is to complete a section of study and then the school ships another section's materials. I had to sign a "waiver" in order to get this arrangement, which I did. In any event, there was the usual paperwork (student contract, "waiver", criminal background check, etc.) which must be completed, signed and faxed back. Again, I did this the same day I paid my tuition.
There are only 19 lessons in the course spread over 6 sections. The first day I completed the first section (2 exams). The second day the second section (4 exams). I skipped a day and was prepared to spend a day on the third section (4 exams). Upon logging in, I noticed my account had been suspended. I called student services and was told that my application had not been processed. They had my application, but had not processed it yet. I expressed my displeasure and reiterated the fact that I had already paid for the course, they had my money and I had already sent in all the required paperwork. The representative(s) confirmed that they had the paperwork, it had simply not been processed. In addition, they could not tell me when it would be processed, since that was in "another department". At this point I was not happy. As of now, I am not able to continue. I do expect this to be cleared up, but the question is when.
In addition, some of the course materials are backordered! Not for one of the later sections of the course, but for the second section! I was told it would be 3-4 weeks before I would receive the material. How, can this be backordered? If I were at a traditional school campus, this would not happen. How can they possible expect people to wait for materials for a course? Especially when its already been paid for! If there was a legitimate reason for the backorder, you would expect them to expedite the shipping. The materials which are backordered I can actually order myself from other vendors and have them in 2-3 days. So why will it take 3-4 weeks?
Before you fork over your money to Penn Foster, get a guarantee in writing that they will process your paperwork within 24 hours of receiving it and that they have all course materials in stock. Otherwise, you'll may be waiting on them to catch up to you before you can finish your course of study. Overall, this is unacceptable and shows poor management of their back office.
So far I am pleased with the instruction (although the videos are not very professionally done) and the material is a bit "light", it is meeting my expectations. I did not expect a $655.00 course to be completely comprehensive in the area of Gunsmithing. However, for my purpose, to explore another career possibility, it is adequate.
This school is surprisingly better than I was expecting. So far, I've only gone through about half of my first semester, but it's going extremely well for me. Everything is a go at your own pace situation, and you get what you put into it. If you don't do the work, then obviously you're not going to get anything out of it.
As for pricing, this isn't all that bad. For my degree, it's going to be around 5000 total for my entire program. Which is not unreasonable to me at all. It is unfortunate that they do not participate in financial aid, but it's good nonetheless.
On top of that, they have more requirements for degrees than they do for certificates. You can get a certificate as soon as you finish the coursework. Whereas degrees require class participation, and practicums(like finals) at the end of each semester. In thus, if you don't study and pay attention you're not going to do well. They offer you more than ample amount of time to complete your studies, giving you at least a year per semester. Much more than a traditional college would allot you.
Anyways, I have not experienced all that much with Student Services, but the times that I have contacted them have been pleasant. I receive my books within 8 business days of the day they were shipped, and I'm on the complete opposite side of the country.
If you're not self motivated, and willing to put work into it - Don't waste your time. However, if you can maintain your studies and actually put effort into achieving your goals - this is a good school for you. :)
It seems that all of the negative comments about Penn Foster College pertain to financial issues. When you enroll in PFC, there are rules and regulations to be followed as there would be anywhere in any institution. I am tired of the whining. I am an adult, a veteran, self motivated and self regulated.
That being said, I do have some issues with delivery of books taking so long. I want to keep my momentum going and to wait for 2 weeks for the next course is troublesome at best. Other than that, you work hard to get this education. For the most part, you do not have assistance being that it is an online college and I think that makes you a better student. PFC cost is reasonable. I would like to see them extend some of the courses to a 4 year degree like the Mechanical Engineering that I am presently enrolled in. Other than that - GO PENN FOSTER COLLEGE. I am proud to be a part of such a long standing institution of higher education.
So far the school has been wonderful and helpful. Stundent services have been amazing and so have the teachers. The payment plan works perfect for me in these hard times.
Paralegal studies was an associates degree course, I did over a six-year time frame. I did not intend for it to take that long, but the school didn't have problems with the schedule as long as it didn't take me more than two years to complete one semester.
I hardly had to wait for books, since they have implemented a new SOP that auto sends the shipment when there are two exams left on the current book.
That is one thing about online courses. They don't have roommates, class schedules, or pizza study groups. What they do have is a logical way for a busy mom to not have to leave the kids with the sitter while going to classes to have a career with pay she can be proud of receiving.
I finally paid off my tuition and will be expecting my transcripts and degree paperwork very soon. I have worked hard for this and am able to sit for a paralegal certification test.
Instructors were always quick with returning calls or emails for my questions with as much or as little detail as was required.
I only had one problem with the course and it was my fault. I didn't research this enough to realize the catch22 was relative to a paralegal career. "You must have experience to get this job, and you must get a job to have experience!" I have been told to research by sitting in courtrooms, volunteering at practices, and possibly going back to school for more specified degrees in law.
I give PF the A-OK.
This institution is unbelievably awful. How is it that an individual who agreed to get a student started by paying for their monthly tuition cannot now stop the payments on their own?!?!?! They are going to keep “stealing” my money because the student is selfish and will not call to cancel it on their own. They are telling me that I have to jump through all these hoops, and spend more money, in order to get the charges to stop on my credit card.
The two individuals that I have spoken with to date are certainly not professionals. Their speech implies that they are from some little backwoods town. Additionally, they don’t even understand that what they are asking me to do in order to cancel payments to my card is absurd.
Save your time, your effort, your sanity. DO NOT BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS INSTITUTION!!
So far, I have no complaints about this school. All my intructors are helpful and kind, and willing to make sure I am good with my work. I am enrolled in the vet tech program. I think the books are great, the lessons great. But online school is not for everyone. You must stay on top of it so you don't get behind! Ive only been enrolled for 2 months and Im a week away from being done with my first semester..I highly recommend this school
My bad encounter with the school starts when they send me my books late and sent it to the wrong address which delay my whole process. When i contact the student service, they all gave different excuses and none of them actually help to solve the issue. When it was exam time, they sent the exam to the wrong address again and i had to wait for 3 weeks! The staffs there had no idea and alreadys refer me to the website! My question is why are the student service staff there if they are not there to help with our questions or problem???
I honestly feel that my tuition money was completely a WASTE at PF. If you are considering this school, PLEASE LOOK AT UR OTHER OPTIONS! There are other schools with better accredidation, better credit transfer,that will provide you with a greater education.
I love motorcycles but was worried about not having money to go to "MMI",or "WYOTECH",so I looked up Penn Foster and,the time,and the money was right so was the idea that I could take my time to get my degree,the only negative is lack of hands on,with this school,but I have gone to custom bike shops told them what I was studying,and asked if I could come learn hands on for no fee,and to my surprise the said"YES",but as far as I'm concerned this school is worth it to me an my time and money,everything comes in on time,they don't call and hassel you for money when your a little late on payments,they even give you three grace periods,meaning the move your monthly payment back a month,so it was easy to save up tuition,and get it paid in full,plus the huge bonus of tools I got at the end of graduation,no this school is not for everyone,but,IT SURE WORKED FOR ME"!!!
I was looking up some reviews awhile ago about this school and I saw that several people had complained about numerous things. But, I still chose this school despite these accusations. I have found none of those complaints to be valid, at least not in my case. Many people keep insisting that this school is a "scam" and "only wants your money" but the reality is, I did research on tons of other online colleges, and Penn Foster was actually one of the cheaper ones.
The University of Phoenix (which is the REAL scam) wanted $8,900 from me for an associates degree, AND demanded that I have to log on every single day to get credit for attendance. Penn Foster on the other hand is only charging me $4,200 for an associates degree and this includes textbooks, shipping fees, and normal tuition. So, for everything, it's only a mere $4k. PLUS I do not have the pressure of logging on every single day, which is perfect for me because with my crazy hectic work schedule I'm lucky if I find the time to eat some days! And isn't the whole point of a distance education to be doing it on your OWN time? That's what I really enjoy about Penn Foster.
There have been times when I've completed a class within 3 weeks, and times when I've completed a class within 2 months, based on my work/personal schedule. They do not penalize for taking a long time to complete assignments because THERE ARE NO DUE DATES!! AWESOME!! And they allow you to skip ahead and go back to an assignment later. They are always quick with their shipments. I have gotten books as little as one day after they sent me an e-mail saying they have been shipped. The longest I ever waited was 4 days, and that was only because it was a holiday weekend!!
Another complaint I noticed a lot of people saying was that the course material isn't enough. Really ?? Would you like for me to upload some photos of my 700 page biology book or my 600 page psychology book? Yea, didn't think so. Case closed.
Whenever I e-mail them with a question, I always get a quick reply (except on weekends, as they are not in the offices) I have gotten replies as early as 8 am and as late as 7 pm. That's pretty good, in my opinion!! I honestly have nothing bad to say about this school. They even e-mail me with inspirational quotes to congratulate me when I complete an assignment. I always read these quotes, and sometimes post them as statuses on my Facebook account.
Overall, I am pretty impressed with this program and I am very glad that I chose to get away from the university of phoenix and switch to Penn Foster. Also, I just wanted to mention that most people who write bad things about this school are ones who didn't even complete it, didn't take the time to research if this is the right school for them, and are mad because they left the school but still owed money. Well, sorry to break it to you but if you started your program, didn't like it, then left, you are still obligated to pay for the time you were enrolled. That's kinda common sense, right?? Everyone's different, this school may end up not being what you want and that is ok !! but at least man up and understand that you still have to pay for the little time you did use their services. That would be like going to a restaurant, eating a meal half way, deciding you don't like it and then demand your money back ! That doesn't happen, just like it doesn't happen here. Well, I hope my review meant something to someone and encouraged anyone to join this school. I recommend it to anyone !!