-Carolyn Staley, deputy director of the National Institute for Literacy
by Donna Carlson
Is your secret dream to finish high school, get a college degree or just take some business courses that will help you in your business? Go to the Internet.
Whatever you have a yearning to learn, schools are out there in cyberspace. These schools offer classes by snail-mail, through community outreach programs and a myriad of online sources. Once you have made the commitment, the easiest way to get that diploma or take that accounting course is online. The primary reason for that is truckers can’t be limited to time or place constraints. (Schedule a night class? Can you even schedule a doctor’s appointment?)
Find that school
The National Center for Education Statistics suggests finding a distance-learning source that is accredited. Here are four schools that are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), part of the U.S. Department of Education.
Harcourt High School diploma program states you can obtain that sheepskin and then “train for a new career from the comfort of your own home (or truck), without attending classes or quitting your job.” The program includes books, lessons, learning aids and special supplements at no extra cost.
Harcourt perks include:
• Toll-free access to student services on the web site, including online examinations and account review.
• All Harcourt programs are affiliated with the GI Bill, which qualifies military personnel for tuition reimbursement.
Sandy Cwalina, supervising instructor, told us the program is not an online program. “It’s all print-based and done through correspondence study; however most of the examinations can be taken online.” She also noted, “There are a few subjective exams that have to be mailed to the school for grading. It would be a suitable program for truckers provided they have a permanent address where study materials can be sent.” Check it out first at: www.harcourt-learning.com.
Citizens’ High School, based in Orange Park, FL, has been in business since 1984. The school has no out-of-state fees and bases its tuition on the number of classes required to graduate. They offer five different payment plans payable at enrollment and up to three years to complete the program. The kicker here is that students enrolling for one or more courses to be used for “other than a CHS diploma must pay an additional $110 tuition per course.” To receive a no-cost, school information packet, complete the inquiry form at www.citizenschool.com/howtoenroll.htm.
American School in Lansing, IL, offers either general or college preparatory high school courses, a liberal payment plan (as little as $35 per month) and no out-of-state tuition. This school offers credit for previously taken classes and a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the final examination. Go to www.highschoolalternatives.com for more information and forms.
Keystone National High School, based in Bloomsburg, PA, has year-round open enrollment. They offer either correspondence-based or Internet-based courses. If you take at least three courses at the same time, you are eligible to apply for their time-payment plan. Depending on the loan amount, Keystone may let you take up to 30 years to pay. Other costs include a $175 tuition fee per correspondence course. If you elect to be correspondence-based, you also must pay all shipping costs as these are not covered under the payment plan.
The fee per eSchool course hits your wallet at $299 (US). The tuition fee includes a professional advisor, all books, library and educational resources, exams and evaluation results through a secure, private, password-protected “Home Room.” For more information, there is a convenient link to Keystone programs and services on the homepage at www.keystonehighschool.com n
Editor’s note: This is Part I of a two-part series. Next issue gets specific about what’s available and where to find it.
Another detail worth remembering is these courses are not cheap. You will pay around $400 for each year in most schools. For instance, the American School offers one year (or 12th grade) for $379, two years (11 & 12) for $579, three years (10,11,12) for $779 and four years (9-12) for $979. One other drawback: Check the fees for out-of-state cyber-commuters. Mindquest.org, out of Minnesota, charges up to $6,050 tuition for out-o-f-state diploma-minded students.