Approximately 40% of postsecondary education students in the US are adult or non-traditional learners.
More than 3,900 degree-granting institutions in the country have some sort of distance or online learning opportunities. Of those, 420+ are offering online programs primarily.
You have plenty of options if you like to earn a degree online!
Excelsior University, which was known as Excelsior College until 2022, is one of your excellent choices.
This private online university in Albany, New York offers 100% online degrees. There are zero in-person or hybrid classes.
Fully Accredited, Fully Legit
It is crucial to verify the accreditation status of an online school before applying.
Without one, cross the college out of your list!
A school offering certificates or degrees online with no accreditation could be one of those diploma mills that confer educational awards with no value whatsoever.
The Entire School is Accredited
Excelsior has institutional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The online institution received MSCHE accreditation in 1977, also its founding year. Its accreditation is active, and its last reaffirmation was in 2022.
MSCHE is a US Department of Education-recognized agency. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which advocates for higher education accreditation and quality assurance, recognizes it, too.
MSCHE is also one of the six regional accrediting agencies for American higher education.
That said, Excelsior is a regionally accredited institution by a recognized body.
You can rest assured that any undergraduate degree you will obtain from it is legit. Similarly, undergraduate and even graduate schools will accept any credit from it.
Individual Programs are Accredited, Too
Some degree programs at Excelsior have programmatic accreditation.
Its undergraduate nursing programs, including the RN to BS in nursing program, are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Meanwhile, these programs are Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited:
- Information Technology
- Electrical Engineering Technology
- Nuclear Engineering Technology
To sum up, let’s answer this pressing question:
Is Excelsior a Diploma Mill?
Excelsior University is not a diploma mill.
Unlike some shady online schools, it has accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency. Employers in various industries accept the online degrees conferred by the institution, indicating their value and legitimacy.
The Cost of Attending Excelsior
Generally, online colleges are cheaper because they have lower overhead costs.
Attending them is also cheaper because it eliminates additional expenses for degree-seeking students. Some of them include clothes, transportation, and room and board.
Tuition: You Pay Per Credit Hour
Tuition at Excelsior ranges from $510 to $550 per credit hour.
How much you have to pay to attend will depend on your chosen online program. Nursing programs are more expensive compared to other undergraduate programs.
Nursing program tuition costs $550 per credit hour.
Tuition for non-nursing programs, meanwhile, costs $510 per credit hour.
A full-time nursing student taking at least 12 credits pays $6,600 in tuition per semester. A full-time non-nursing student taking the same number of credits pays $6,120 in tuition per semester.
To be considered a full-time student, one must have 12 to 18 credit hours per semester.
Military service members enjoy lower tuition: $250 per credit hour.
Those eligible for discounted military service tuition include active-duty servicemembers, national guards, and reserves. Their respective families are eligible, too, for lower tuition rates.
Veterans and their dependents, meanwhile, can take advantage of their benefits such as the following:
- Post 9/11
- Montgomery GI Bill
- Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
Additional Fees are a Part of the Overall Cost
Besides tuition, there are other required fees undergraduate students need to pay.
Remember to consider the following when computing your cost of attendance:
|Academic service fee
|$40 per credit hour
|$28 per credit hour
Both credit evaluation and graduation fees are one-time fees.
Credit evaluation is a service for transfer students admitted to Excelsior. They pay the fee for transfer credit evaluation to determine whether or not they apply to their respective programs.
On the other hand, the graduation fee is for records processing before degree and diploma conferral.
Fill Out the FAFSA for Federal and State Aid
According to most recent data, around 16% of undergraduates at Excelsior receive financial aid.
Filling out the FAFSA form is crucial to apply for federal aid. It’s also a good idea to submit it at least four weeks before the course registration starts.
To be eligible for federal financial aid, you should take at least six credits per semester as an undergraduate. Doing so makes you a part-time undergraduate student.
You don’t have to be a full-time undergraduate student to be eligible for financial aid.
New York residents may also be eligible for various New York state financial aid programs. Each has varying requirements, such as the number of credits taken per semester and whether or not applicants have served.
Here are some examples of financial aid programs for New York state residents:
- Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS)
- Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
- Part-Time Tuition Assistance Program
- Persian Gulf Veterans Tuition Assistance (PGVTA)
- Vietnam Veterans Tuition Assistance (VVTA)
Data USA says that 16% of undergraduate students receive financial aid through grants and loans. In the previous year, only about 14% of undergraduates received financial aid through the same programs.
A Preview of Its Online Academics
When choosing a college, it is essential to prioritize the availability of high-quality academic programs.
That’s because the quality and relevance of the programs offered can impact the knowledge and skills you will obtain. In addition, it can also influence your future career success.
Therefore, it’s a must to remember to read Excelsior University reviews beforehand.
Non-Traditional Undergraduates Have Majors, Too
Undergraduate students attending Excelsior have 40+ majors to choose from.
Some of the most popular majors are the following:
- Liberal Arts and Humanities
- Engineering Technician
- Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Health Service Preparatory Studies
- Instrumentation Technician
Its undergraduate programs fall into these categories:
- Health Sciences
- Liberal Arts
- Public Service
Classes: They’re Completely Virtual
All classes at Excelsior are 100% online.
So, in other words, there are no such things as in-person and hybrid classes, which combine physical and virtual classes.
Each online course has an interface that consists of four areas:
- Tabs: For navigating various areas of the interface
- Breadcrumbs: Navigation path that shows where the student is
- Course menu: Links to different resources and tools
- Content area: Where all course content is
Online courses come in separate modules. Each generally contains an overview statement, outcomes, instructor notes, charts, textbook readings, videos, and website links.
These are the various tasks online students must complete for each module:
- Major exams
Given that modules involve discussions, it is apparent that some classes happen in real-time. Such is good because students can interact with their classmates and professors, like in a traditional class.
You Can Transfer Up to More Than 100 Credits
Excelsior University accepts transfer students.
The school understands that around 60% of college students transfer from school to school at some point during their undergraduate careers.
That said, it takes pride in giving transfer students the benefit of applying credits earned from other colleges. It does so due to its commitment to providing the changing educational needs of adult or non-traditional learners.
As many as 113 transfer credits are allowed by some programs.
That’s wonderful thinking that only 60 to 90 credits are transferable in most instances.
However, the average number of transfer credits Excelsior accepts amounts to 50. It is important to note that the online institution also accepts credits from some healthcare certifications and licenses.
Similarly, students currently enrolled or attending may transfer across degree programs.
However, they must meet admission requirements for the new program. I would recommend those who like to switch degree programs meet with their academic advisors or admission counselors.
Most Online Learners are 30+ Years Old
Around 38% of students who attend Excelsior are between the ages of 30 and 39.
Students below 24 years old, meanwhile, make up only around 11% of the campus population. Believe it or not, about 1% of its attendees are students aged 60 years and older.
The average age of students is 35.4 years old.
There are currently 13,879 enrolled students, with a gender distribution of 51% male and 49% female.
Here’s a breakdown of the attendees based on race or ethnicity:
|Black or African American
|Two or more races
|American Indian/Alaskan Native
|Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander
There are Teachers, Too, Like in Traditional Classes
Online students are not entirely on their own throughout their undergraduate journey.
Faculty members preside over virtual classes in a live and synchronous setting. They present course materials and answer questions from the students, among other tasks.
According to the online school itself, there are 580+ faculty members around.
Of those, around 49% have doctorate degrees. It means that many available faculty members are qualified to design curriculum courses and teach them, too.
How Many Students Graduate and How Much Money Graduates Make
The average graduation rate at Excelsior University is around 30%.
Based on the reports of some of the largest online colleges in the country, the average graduation rate is only 20%. It means that more students at Excelsior complete their degrees than at most other online schools.
It’s worth noting that some schools offering online degrees have more than 60% graduation rates.
However, some have very low graduation rates, at times as low as 5%. As a result, the average acceptance graduation rate for online schools is lowered by those where very few students graduate.
More than 182,000 individuals worldwide have a degree from Excelsior.
It brings us to this question many college-bound teens feel too shy to ask:
How Much Do Excelsior Graduates Make?
According to PayScale, the average base salary of Excelsior graduates is $86,000 per year. How much money alumni members make yearly depends on their majors, work experience, industry, and location.
These are some of the highest-paid positions of its graduates, on average:
|Average Annual Salary
|Chief Executive Officer
|General Project Manager
|Information Technology Manager
|Human Resources Manager
Top companies and agencies that employ Excelsior graduates include the following:
- Kaiser Permanente
- Maxim Healthcare Group
- US Department of the Army
A Highly Ranked Online College With Highly Ranked Programs
According to its post, Excelsior University makes it into Newsweek’s Top 10 Online Colleges.
It also proudly states that Intelligent.com names it Best for Adult Learners. The website also includes the online school in its most recent Best Online Colleges in New York ranking.
Online U gives it the rankings listed below:
- #1 in Best Online Psychology Degrees
- #2 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management Programs
- #4 in Best Business Management Degrees Online
- #7 in Best Online Health Sciences Degrees
- #18 in Best Online Business Degrees
- #18 in Best Online Nursing Degrees
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.