Ashford University Reviews
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I do not have anything to gain by this review, nor have I been in any way requested to give an online review. Actually, as of last summer, I had never even heard of Ashford, or for that matter, any online college provider. May knowledge base about online education was, at best, near zero.
When I decided to try and finish my bachelor's degree, I began to ponder how I could do it without committing a ton of time that the normal brick-and-mortar environment requires. I am still recovering from a spinal cord disability, but felt the time was right, physically and intellectually, to explore how I could proceed.
I had heard of "normal" colleges that were beginning to offer degrees totally through the internet. If I could find a reputable brick-and-mortar college that had a well-structured online program then, because on my situation, that would be the best choice.
My plan is to complete my bachelor's degree by 2012, and then to apply to Physician's Assistant training. I already have nearly twenty years of experience of working as a Surgical Technologist, and assistant, along with many college credits that I had earned in the 1990s. Something like a degree in Medical Administration would be a good fit.
The program I chose would have to have a good reputation as an established non-internet college, it would have had to been around for over thirty years, and it would give me the option to do it fairly quickly since I am not a kid anymore. Lastly, affordability, and a proactive sensitivity to the adult learner was essential.
My research for the right college was thorough and extensive. It lasted for at least a couple of weeks. I read dozens and dozens of reviews online. I truly read, in-depth, about the colleges I had narrowed my choices down to. I had several discussions with the admissions counselors of the handful of schools that made it past my intense research. That is the only regret i suppose I have, is that once you touch base with these colleges they have a hard time taking no for an answer.
In the end, I selected Ashford University out of Iowa. They had a very good reputation as a brick-and-mortar college. They had been around for quite awhile, over one hundred years. Their online program seemed well thought out and organized. My interaction with my admission's counselor was very professional, and proved to me that I was not just another student that he could notch on his enrollment belt. He answered all my questions and was attentive to anything I did not understand.
Since my enrollment, in the fall of 2010, I have kept in contact with him on at least a monthly basis. He has been an invaluable resource until this day.
The other departments that I have interacted with; the financial aid personnel and my academic advisory, all earn a B+ to and A- in performance, attention, and problem solving. Even the business office gets a solid B.
I emphasize those above reviews because, having graduated from a brick-and-mortar environment, those departments can have a notoriously bad reputation for impatience and sour behavior. At Ashford, they have always been professional and polite. They do their job well.
I am currently into my 5th (15 credit hours) class at Asford, and my academic experience has been nothing but positive. The professors are knowledgeable and fair. Some of the negative reviews that I have read range from saying it is way too hard, to it is way to easy.
All I can testify to, is that there is a ton of writing (plenty of term papers) that really does focus in on the course. You really do learn about the material. The test material is subject specific, and again, fair. I am currently carrying over a 3.60 GPA, and I know I have earned it. My grades reflect exactly what I have put into the work.
The academic staff at Asford is very understanding about the issues, and potential issues, that an Adult can face. I had two deaths over a period of 10 weeks and my professors acted with care and concern, never once making my awful situation worse. They are compassionate.
The only negative comment, which I plan to address with them, is "one" software glitch that when it occurs you can lose your work.
Basically, if you are writing your mandatory homework posts directly on the Asford class site and you do not save your work as you go along, the page can time-out, and you lost what you have written. The Asford site does not specifically warn you about this, although it does tell you the site can time-out in ?90 minutes" if it does not detect activity.
Well, posting is done in their on-site, online word processing program. When you are writing in the WP program it does not detect activity, and well, there she blows. It has happened twice to me and it is devastating to lose all your hard work. Once, it timed-out after only 15 minutes of undetected activity.
The answer to this problem is to write your assigned work into "your Microsoft Word" program and then paste it.
It is mandatory that you have MS Word, and all the other computer specs that Ashford, or any other online college, normally requires. My admission's counselor did an excellent job of making sure I had all the necessary computer hardware and software.
Everything so far has gone really well, I even got my refund check on time, without any problems at all. I recall when I went to college before, that the business office was a pretty big pain. But, Asford's business people are doing a great job.
Please remember, that this review is coming from a person who has already graduated from a brick-and-mortar college. I am now into my second semester and I am very glad I enrolled at Asford. You can even accept the offer of walking across the stage, in gown, to receive that hard earned degree! And, I intend to do just that.
If you have no previous college experience, then I urge you to ask every question that comes into your mind. A college education is a partnership between you and the college, and you have a joint responsibility with them.
I have no problem recommending Asford to even my best of friends. They are an excellent choice.
I have been enrolled at Ashford since April 2010. I will confess that I was quite nervous after I completed my first two classes. They were incredibly easy and I began to wonder if Ashford was a diploma mill. Many of the students in these classes did not seem intelligent enough to be in college. However, as I began taking more and more classes, I began to notice a pattern. They got more difficult as I progressed and the questionable students were apparently weeded out because I am no longer surrounded by people who do not seem to have what it takes. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time.
I have noticed that many of those complaining do not have a grasp on grammar or punctuation. I would imagine that some of these people who are complaining might be the students who were weeded out.
I have to agree with a lot of the comments made here, but if you are someone like me who really can't go back to a traditional campus, Ashford is a pretty good alternative. I've found a couple of people at the University who really seem to care about me and my goals and have found that I am really learning a lot in my classes. I also use Student Portal Buddy to get additional help with my assignments which has made a huge difference for me personally.
I did research before I signed up. I happen to have a personality that trusts someone the government decides is worth lending money to. I trust that A+ rating Ashford has on BBB.
I usually get exemplary grades. At Ashford I received all A's and enjoyed the online environment.
Halfway through my experience, I had a mini-anxiety attack as I faced what I tried not to let gnaw at me despite assurances from Ashford staff early on.
First of all, at least half of my fellow students in every class (BA level) had the reading comprehension and comprehensibility of my middle school class. By that point, I had already racked up 10k in loans. They were accredited, I decided to suck it up and finish.
But then...my diploma never came. I inquired and was told to fill out a grievance about $2k worth of outstanding charges. After an investigation, Ashford admitted that the fault lied with them. When they received my new MPN, they did not correctly file it and so my lender never got the notice and now it was too late.
As a "Customer service gesture" I was told, for the purposes of seeking a job or transferring for a master's in my major, I would receive one transcript after I made payment arrangements, complete with an initial payment.
For a college that espouses "accountability" in its mission statement, I was being held accountable for their mistake and my degree and transcripts held in some weird ransom-hostage set up.
I have been in grievance appeal for 3 months now. I cannot afford to focus especially on these extra charges that Ashford failed to get added to my loans where they would have disappeared into that one source of stress.
To make matters more fishy, I was offered an alumni grant (no shock) and told that if I picked a new major (one they actually had a masters for) the grant and loans I would get would be more than generous to take care of the outstanding charges and I could put off paying my loans longer as well.
At that point it started making me wonder if this wasn't some unethical marketing trick all along. After all, they might get even more loan dollars out of me and I can't prove it was a trick. Anyone can misfile paperwork.
I'm generally not the suspicious type. Which is likely why I was so easily talked out of my original hesitancy by the enrollment advisor. I specifically said that I needed to do some research because it felt odd that after hearing so long about people praying to get into a college, Ashford was falling over themselves to have me.
I was told that was because my transcript from my community college was exemplary and accredited.
There were lots of other little problems along the way. Including being assured that after my free books for my first class gift, my loans should kick in and I should get my first disbursements in time to only pay for one class out of pocket. Three classes later, I checked in and found out that those arrangements were never made and I had to specifically request for the rest of my loan money, otherwise it sat in their hands.
I definitely should have been a lot smarter about this. I thought checking their accreditation and BBB report was enough.
I got something out of my experience, but only because I was willing to do the work and research myself. Occasionally when pressed for time I wrote any old thing and got full credit (and sometimes even compliments from the instructor).
Some of the materials were good, others were a nightmare. This school is responsible for making me read the worst textbook I have ever read. When I sent feedback saying so, I was told it was good writing because it got discussions going. Yeah, good writing if you are writing an editorial or a clearly labeled opinion box in a text book. This author was among many faults, prone to exaggerative language and clear biases while purporting to be culturally unbiased. The chapter on Muslims felt like anti-Islam propaganda and I can't even imagine how a Muslim would feel reading it.
One direct quote from this Ashford edition text was that "All Russians steal" in context, he was describing how harsh their society has been for them to the point that they do it all the time without batting an eye. While it may or may not be true that they are culturally more accepting of theft due to their hardships...ALL Russians steal? Really? Even the babies? Someone needed to tell that author and the person who chose his book that he is supposed to be writing a factual textbook, not an editorial. Guess what class this book was for? Cross-cultural Perspectives. Wow. I have never been so angry while reading a textbook.
I am still in my grievance appeal based on the fact that it was their mistake and I should not face anything more than I would have had to face if they had correctly filed the paperwork.
This includes no extra stress cramping my freelance writing attempts, no scrounging for an extra, separate payment, no credit report from them negative or otherwise (only the lender has the right to do that at this point), no billings and collections harassments, and the free access to my transcripts and diploma I would have otherwise had.
Now, I am in touch with the Share Holders Foundation over investigations into Ashford. I suggest any former, current, or prospective students, investors, and employees give it a look. http://shareholdersfoundation.com/search/node/Ashford%20University
The first link is primarily for students/employees, the second, for investors.
I've heard this isn't the first time Bridgepoint has come under investigation either.
If you decide to go with this school anyway, I recommend constant vigilance. Do not get too comfortable, do not rely on follow-through. Know at all times what is going on at their end. If something is just a smidge late, be rigorous about pursuing it.
Communications between departments has been terrible for most of the time I attended, from promising me disbursements for my books only to find it was never enacted, to getting Final notices about my outstanding bill while I was in grievance (it was supposed to be put on hold).
Not to mention after crying on the phone to the Alumni grant guy over never being able to trust Ashford again to put in even more debt just to handle an outstanding balance incurred by their own error, they sent me another notification of qualifying for it last week.
If they do their jobs for you, great, but don't depend on it. If you do, with so many students you will slip through the cracks of being noticed and end up screwed.
This is all besides whether or not the actual degrees have any merit.
Oh, and one more thing, try to contact them exclusively through email. I learned the hard way that phone calls during a dispute qualify as "failure to prove"
The only reason they admitted the outstanding balance not being picked up by my lender was because I had documented proof that my new MPN had been sent to and signed as received by Ashford on X date. You will want at least email copies of things in case you should need them.
The coursework is challenging. The online environment is definitely different from a regular school, but the intelligence level of my fellow students is about the same. Some are smarter than others. Some treat the discussion boards like personal text messages and some cannot put together a cohesive sentence. It was the same at Metro State College of Denver when I was taking my Freshman core classes.
Ashford U. is a vetted, accredited learning institution that was rated as one of the most military friendly schools in the nation by military.com.
Yes it is a for-profit school. If you think that your prestigious Harvard (or any other ivy-league school) is any different, please ask your professor what their salary is.
I have taken over a dozen classes thus far and have enjoyed the challenges they have presented along the way. My professors and TAs have been a mixed bag. I had one prof who let her TAs handle every aspect of the class. I had another prof who responded to every single student in the discussion boards. I had a TA who offered every assistance for the research papers and another one who referred me to the already posted, extremely vague guidelines.
I have been extremely pleased with the flexibility that the online learning environment has provided to me and with the school overall.
I am about to complete me second class with Ashford University. Before deciding to enroll with them, I asked me family in Clinton, Iowa(where the campus is located) if they've heard of it. One of the responses i got was "I went there before they were called Ashford". So far, I am happy with this experience. The first two classes are easy, yes, but that's because they are designed to get you to become familiar with how the online classroom is set up, how discussion posts work, and how assignments and quizzes go. The third class in my Associates course is a communications class, and I tell you, Its much harder than anything I have taken at my local community college.
As far as the money side of Ashford? All universities have bills to pay. So yeah, they will find some way to get money to pay them. But why would Ashford have waived the application fee(they were doing that the month my husband and I signed up) if they were after your money? I have not paid a cent out of pocket except for the book for this next class, and it is outlined in the catalog that not all materials are provided in the electronic format. They even tell you that when you sign up. And as far as Financial Aid? I had no issues there either. My disbursments hit my Ashford account when they were supposed to, and my husband has already received a distribution check. For those of you who think Financial aid is money to spend on whatever you want when attending school, its not. Its money they send you to buy books and stuff with. You CAN use it to pay bills if you really have to.
Ashford University is not a scam school. They offer an online program as well as a campus. They are recognized in the Federal Student Aid program(the government wouldn't allow a "scam school" to be a part of it). Also, there are very rigid standards that schools have to meet for accreditation.
I am on my 3rd class at Ashford. The course work was interesting, I used the learning tools and had positive classmate interaction. I currently have at 3.85 gpa. My current professor (Prof Sarah) will not return any of my emails and ignores all request for help. The problem began when I asked her to explain a grade in week 2. Since I asked for help she started marking down my grades in points and if post anything in "ask your instructor" she deletes it. I finally called the school today to see if I could file a complaint. After this class I think I will withdraw and go to a college where I can get help when needed.
I have been attending Ashford University for 6 months. I researched other online schools before making my choice. I grilled my Financial Aid Advisor before deciding to enroll. I also price compared. Other online universities are not as forthcoming about their tuition and fees.
I have been more than impressed with my instructors and teaching assistants. The instructors are challenging and expect you to do your best. I have been in class with other students that have failed and are repeating it. I find the assignments challenging and just completed a 10 page research paper for my class. My husband graduated from a high-ranking university and was rather astonished at the level of work
Ashford University fits my needs. As a wife and mom, a "normal" college just wouldn't work for me. A prospective student should do their homework. College is not cheap. A local community college can be a lower cost choice. However, you have to worry about fitting the classes into your schedule. A co-worker of mine is paying more than I am to attend a public university. She is not able to take the classes whenever she'd like and has had to drastically change her schedule. You should always ask questions, and if you don't like the person you are speaking to ask for someone else. You should always be an educated consumer and know what you are paying for.
I have enjoyed reading all the responses i.e. the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ashford is a very good University that requires quality work from its students.
This forum it about those who did not make the grades or keep their jobs and, of course, they take no ownership in this failure. The online environment is for students who are working and trying to advance their careers. If you are coming out of high school and want to bypass the on-campus experience, I will recommend exploring other options and seeking help with re-taking SAT/ACT.
However, most adult-learners are returning to school school. We have attended ground schools, have credits to transfer, and the main objective is to complete a degree for job advancement or for admission into graduate school.
I think Ashford's curriculum has prepared me for the next level (grad school) and hope those who are complaining will not waste any more of their time. Now is the time to start searching the web, meeting with counselors, and pulling down some positive energy towards your future educational goals.
First off after reading only the first page of reviews most people that had something to say are pretty mean. They keep saying this is not a place to bash the school yet they are bashing everyone else who has an opinion. I signed up for this program and was NOT told about a $1200 platform fee and my card was charged and declined and I was stuck with a $30 fee. The response from anyone at this school is non-existent. I can get no one to call or email me back. No no is EVERY at their desk to answer their phones. I would NOT recommend this school. And to anyone else who is posting and thinks that the people who have good reviews are correct they are morons. DONT GO TO THIS SCHOOL