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Excelsior- cheapest route?
#1
I qualify for financial aid, but, only around $2400 pell grant for the year. I don't mind doing a small loan for my undergrad because I'm going to end up with a loan for my master's program anyways. BUT, I obviously don't have a ton of extra money floating around. 
What is the cheapest way to finish up at Excelsior? It looks like there's a minimum of two classes I have to take there no matter what, 4 credit hours. Plus, if I do less than 12 credits there's that pesky $1000+ fee. So, $3135 to take those 4 credits and pay the fee and then I still have to pay $495 to actually graduate. Drawbacks to that is that I don't get to use federal loans or pell grant because I'm not full time. Right? So I just have to come up with that money. 

The other option looks like I DSST out of all but 12 credit hours. This may be a challenge too because it looks like coming up with upper level credits is a bit tough. I have no lower level credit hours remaining to get. The only credits that didn't get used out of the 90 I transferred in was one of my maths as I had math maxed out. 
This is what I've taken so far: 
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...sp=sharing

Basically, it looks like I need 31 upper level credits. 4 of those have to be done at excelsior. 
If I test out of 19 credits and take 12 at Excelsior, I can use federal aid including their cheaper loans. That's $6120, after Pell Grant I would need the loan for the rest of 4847.50. I would probably about a $5500 subsidized/unsubsidized loan and use the rest to pay the graduation fee. It's $1700 more doing it that way, BUT, at least it's not on a credit card.

Thoughts? Am I doing this all wrong?

OR, another thought, are their hidden fees at TESU that I'm not seeing? Would I be better off just going through TESU? It looks like they are about the same price, but, perhaps not as restrictive with credits?

Sorry for all of the questions! I only realized this was even something you could do about a week ago. I've been gradually limping my way through classes at the local college as I could fit them in around a full time job and kid. I'm also on a bit of a time crunch because I will only qualify for financial aid for this upcoming semester starting in January. My parents made too much for me to get financial aid as a young adult and wouldn't contribute, so I had to wait until I was 25 to even start college. Now I have a husband who makes too much and won't contribute. The only reason I qualified this year was that he took a few unpaid weeks off in 2016. It's pretty much a right now or never sort of situation.
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#2
Some have joined POAG in the past (search this forum) for $25 to get Excelsior College Association Pricing.  I did not as I had the military deal.


https://www.excelsior.edu/partner/peace-...f-georgia/
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#3
(11-24-2018, 05:43 PM)Life Long Learning Wrote: Some have joined POAG in the past (search this forum) for $25 to get Excelsior College Association Pricing.  I did not as I had the military deal.


https://www.excelsior.edu/partner/peace-...f-georgia/

Thank you, I'll look into that to see if that's a possibility. 

It sort of looks like a plain old Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts is my easiest degree. It looks like I need 30 upper level credits as I have nothing that qualified as upper level. 
It looks like I could easily do my first depth in Humanities as I have a pile of lower level credits in that and then maybe I could use DSST tests "Ethics in America" and "Intro to World Religion" as my 6 upper level credits. 
It looks like depth 2 could easily be had in Natural Sciences. Is that specific enough for a depth? Anyways, I have a pile of lower level in that category, Chem and Bio and Anatomy and Physiology and several math classes. I was thinking for my 6 upper level credits I could use the Uexcel test "Pathophysiology". I took the practice test on the content guide and got around a 64% with no studying, so, I think I could study my way through that. My other 3 upper level credits I think I would just take the class through Excelsior Bio 404 Ecology. 

At that point, I would have 9 upper level credits via test and 3 via class. I still have to take the Capstone, so that's 6 via class. I would still need another 15 upper level credits from arts and sciences-  thinking I would take DSST tests "Civil War and Reconstruction" and "Rise and Fall of Soviet Union" if both of those still count as upper level. Then I would probably take the Uexcel test "Social Psychology".  I need to take 12 credits for financial aid, so would probably round out the rest of my upper level credits with Bio 412 and Bio 360. 

So, it looks like 4 classes (+ info literacy 1) and 6 tests should clear out my requirements. 

Obviously some of these tests are more daunting than others. I took the practice tests for those DSST and got at least 60% correct without any studying, but, I'm sure the two Uexcel will be a bit more daunting. I think I would try to fit in a couple DSST before the Spring semester starts and then fit the other two in as time allows and then take the two Uexcels at the end of the semester. Will I end up with more fees that way?
Enrolled in WGU MAcc - Start Date 12/01/2019
B&M State College (90 credits 3.57 GPA)
Modern States CLEP  (27 credits) Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (64)  Introduction to Sociology (65) Information Systems (71) Principles of Management (68) Principles of Marketing (73) Principles of Macroeconomics (70) Principles of Microeconomics (53), Introduction to Business Law (60)
Sophia(2 credits)
Straighterline (9)American Government, Western Civilizations I, Introduction to Religion
WGU (71): Organizational Behavior, Spreadsheets, Global Business, Principles of Accounting, Accounting II, Managerial Accounting, Principles of Finance, Business Strategy.. graduated Oct/2019
WGU MAcc (12) 
121 credits earned Dec 23, 2018-Feb 24, 2020 Smile 
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#4
At EC, you can't get any sort of partnership pricing because you aren't going to take 12cr from them.  So count that out.  But, you can get all of your UL credits through Study.com if you want.  They have all kinds of options - Psych, English, Tech, History, etc.  It's roughly $100 per course, although you can knock that down a bit if you take more than 2 courses in a month (actually, more than 2 final exams per month - the 3rd+ exam will cost $70).

For TESU, I made you a degree plan.  There is 1 course that they'll consider duplicate I think, plus 1 developmental - leaving you 3 Gen Ed courses, 5 UL courses, 1-2 free electives, and then the cornerstone and capstone.  You can take the GE and FE courses for free (think CLEP + Modern States), for a total of $4500 due for a BALS at TESU.

No idea on how much it will cost you to finish up at EC, I don't know their degrees well enough - plus I can't quite figure out why you have to take 2 courses through them instead of just the capstone (which will cost $1530).


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#5
(11-25-2018, 01:50 AM)dfrecore Wrote: No idea on how much it will cost you to finish up at EC, I don't know their degrees well enough - plus I can't quite figure out why you have to take 2 courses through them instead of just the capstone (which will cost $1530).

I think it is because financial aid will pay for the classes so they will be free to the poster.

Yes it does seem most of the fourm is most knowledgeable about TESU compared to other schools.

If you go the TESU route you definitely would get the most support and help from this fourm as opposed to EC.
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#6
If you know you're going to grad school, keeping your undergrad as low as possible should be your #1 goal. Though you may not be required to start repaying your undergrad student loan immediately (if you re-enroll in college it gets pushed) but your debt is piling up while you're in school.

I received a Pell Grant award for my degree at TESU, and frankly, you have to be careful or it can put you deep in debt. When I attended, tuition was still cheap enough that I could minimize my out of pocket (12 credits was *just a touch* more than my Pell award each semester) but at Excelsior, in order to use that Pell, you're going to end up borrowing a lot.

It's kinda like using a coupon. Item A is $1 and item B is $5 but because you have a coupon for $1 off item B you go with item B. At the end of the day, you're paying twice as much than choosing the more affordable option.

Let's do the math-- Excelsior tuition is $510 per credit. Your Pell is $2400. So, your Pell can pay for no more than 4 credits. The "cost" of using that money, as you calculated above is steep. OTOH, you can earn 4 credits using Studycom, Sophia, Straighterline, Onlinedegreecom, Saylor, etc. for about $100 and no strings.

I think trying to make the Pell fit is adding cost.
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#7
(11-25-2018, 01:50 AM)dfrecore Wrote: At EC, you can't get any sort of partnership pricing because you aren't going to take 12cr from them.  So count that out.  But, you can get all of your UL credits through Study.com if you want.  They have all kinds of options - Psych, English, Tech, History, etc.  It's roughly $100 per course, although you can knock that down a bit if you take more than 2 courses in a month (actually, more than 2 final exams per month - the 3rd+ exam will cost $70).

For TESU, I made you a degree plan.  There is 1 course that they'll consider duplicate I think, plus 1 developmental - leaving you 3 Gen Ed courses, 5 UL courses, 1-2 free electives, and then the cornerstone and capstone.  You can take the GE and FE courses for free (think CLEP + Modern States), for a total of $4500 due for a BALS at TESU.

No idea on how much it will cost you to finish up at EC, I don't know their degrees well enough - plus I can't quite figure out why you have to take 2 courses through them instead of just the capstone (which will cost $1530).

Thank you! I'll apply to TESU after pay day.
Enrolled in WGU MAcc - Start Date 12/01/2019
B&M State College (90 credits 3.57 GPA)
Modern States CLEP  (27 credits) Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (64)  Introduction to Sociology (65) Information Systems (71) Principles of Management (68) Principles of Marketing (73) Principles of Macroeconomics (70) Principles of Microeconomics (53), Introduction to Business Law (60)
Sophia(2 credits)
Straighterline (9)American Government, Western Civilizations I, Introduction to Religion
WGU (71): Organizational Behavior, Spreadsheets, Global Business, Principles of Accounting, Accounting II, Managerial Accounting, Principles of Finance, Business Strategy.. graduated Oct/2019
WGU MAcc (12) 
121 credits earned Dec 23, 2018-Feb 24, 2020 Smile 
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#8
Also, if your Pell award total was $2400 for the year, then that means it would be spread out over the year if you're taking full time courses throughout. Not sure if excelsior's semester system is traditional or similar to tesu's but taking only 1 or 2 courses probably would not let you use the full $2400. You would have to take ~24 credits to get the full amount. $2400 doesn't help very much if you're taking that many credits.
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#9
(11-25-2018, 12:43 PM)MNomadic Wrote: Also, if your Pell award total was $2400 for the year, then that means it would be spread out over the year if you're taking full time courses throughout. Not sure if excelsior's semester system is traditional or similar to tesu's but taking only 1 or 2 courses probably would not let you use the full $2400. You would have to take ~24 credits to get the full amount. $2400 doesn't help very much if you're taking that many credits.

Good points. $2400 would be the full award, so split it in however many semesters they have per year (let's say 2, I don't know) so you'd need to register for 15 credits (1/2 of 30) each semester. At $510 per credit you're paying $7650 to use a $1200 "coupon." And you're doing it twice - so add in the cost of books and access codes for 10 courses- no way you can do that for less than $1500. Ouch.

My math says you're spending $16,500 to use your Pell Grant.

If you let the board help you find alternatives for those 30 credits, you can probably earn 27 of them nontraditionally ($900 or less) and pay rack rate for your Capstone ($1500) - so all inyou'd be miles ahead this way.
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#10
(11-25-2018, 12:18 PM)cookderosa Wrote: If you know you're going to grad school, keeping your undergrad as low as possible should be your #1 goal. Though you may not be required to start repaying your undergrad student loan immediately (if you re-enroll in college it gets pushed) but your debt is piling up while you're in school.

I received a Pell Grant award for my degree at TESU, and frankly, you have to be careful or it can put you deep in debt. When I attended, tuition was still cheap enough that I could minimize my out of pocket (12 credits was *just a touch* more than my Pell award each semester) but at Excelsior, in order to use that Pell, you're going to end up borrowing a lot.

It's kinda like using a coupon. Item A is $1 and item B is $5 but because you have a coupon for $1 off item B you go with item B. At the end of the day, you're paying twice as much than choosing the more affordable option.

Let's do the math-- Excelsior tuition is $510 per credit. Your Pell is $2400. So, your Pell can pay for no more than 4 credits. The "cost" of using that money, as you calculated above is steep. OTOH, you can earn 4 credits using Studycom, Sophia, Straighterline, Onlinedegreecom, Saylor, etc. for about $100 and no strings.

I think trying to make the Pell fit is adding cost.

Possibly, dfrecore has my cost at doing TESU without a pell grant at $4805 between testing and fees. Obviously that is cheaper.

I can avoid extra fees at Excelsior by taking 12 credits. It looks like I would actually need to take 13 credits because of the info literacy 1 credit class- so $6630. Then I have my 6 tests, 4 DSST's @ $100 each and 2 Uexcel's at $145 each- so $690 in tests. The graduation fee is $495 - but I can deduct $15 for each credit taken at Excelsior, so my graduation fee is $300.

I will finish in under a year, actually, hopefully in just one totally crazy semester. So, $7620 total before financial aid. $1272.50 is my per semester pell grant- so $6347 not covered by financial aid. In other words, a full $1542 above TESU. The only advantage being that I can finance it at 5% instead of trying to come up with $4800. Now, if I can join the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, then my 13 credits are $5330 and my graduation fee is $130. So, then it's $6150 for everything, then minus pell grant is a total of $4877.50 which can go on a 5% direct sub/unsub loan.

I will definitely look more into TESU, but, at the end of the day I don't have $4800. My husband earns triple what I make, but thinks it's silly that I'm going back to school at all. I work in a public library, one of those jobs where you get paid $11 an hour and buy your own craft supplies for the kids. My library system doesn't get any local applicants for librarian positions, so, I would have a job there pretty easily at $19 an hour once I finish my masters. But, I have to move a bit quickly because there are a bunch set to retire in the next three years. I already have my foot in the door, I've been there for 5+ years already.

I really don't like how much Excelsior costs. I could get the remaining two years on my bachelors degree locally for free with just the pell grant. BUT, it would take me at least two years and I probably couldn't stay working full time while I did it because not enough classes are online classes. The cheapest online master's program is Valdosta, I would come out of there owing $12,000. So, $18,347 total owed for my undergrad and masters. My total student loan payment will be about $200 a month for 10 years. $139.49 for my masters degree loan and $67.32 for my undergrad portion. Most of the librarians where I work have gone to FSU and owe $20,000 for just their masters tuition and additional undergrad. That's only $1600 in money savings, but, I'm also cutting out 3 semesters of time.

My husband and I take turns keeping the tax return, next year I get it, so could almost pay off my undergrad loan with it at that point.

Edited to add: Obviously I am still open to any other ideas, I was just showing the math I used that got me to here so far. The classes I picked to actually take at Excelsior with exception of the Capstone are all things I've done really well on previously. I'm concerned about my ability to pass the two Uexcel's with high enough scores since I understand they assign a letter grade for those. I am not worried about the DSST's, I got over 60% correct on the practice tests for all of them before doing any review at all I will study like crazy and pass them alright, just likely won't get A's on them. But, from what I understand Excelsior doesn't assign a letter grade for them.
Enrolled in WGU MAcc - Start Date 12/01/2019
B&M State College (90 credits 3.57 GPA)
Modern States CLEP  (27 credits) Analyzing and Interpreting Literature (64)  Introduction to Sociology (65) Information Systems (71) Principles of Management (68) Principles of Marketing (73) Principles of Macroeconomics (70) Principles of Microeconomics (53), Introduction to Business Law (60)
Sophia(2 credits)
Straighterline (9)American Government, Western Civilizations I, Introduction to Religion
WGU (71): Organizational Behavior, Spreadsheets, Global Business, Principles of Accounting, Accounting II, Managerial Accounting, Principles of Finance, Business Strategy.. graduated Oct/2019
WGU MAcc (12) 
121 credits earned Dec 23, 2018-Feb 24, 2020 Smile 
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