Comments: 146 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

[deleted]67 karma


thr0w_me_awayy18 karma

Sure, if you just google Kaplan and scandal you will find something like this http://www.aim.org/special-report/scandal-at-the-washington-post-fraud-lobbying-insider-trading/

As a matter of fact, during orientation there is a large section that is devoted to answer questions about scandals and this specific scandal particularly. Kaplan has been accused many times of shady business practices, and pushing students through. For example I tried several times to fail students who were doing nothing but plagiarizing directly from the internet. The university policy states that the professor should file a formal charge. Each time I filed a charge, (I would include the student's assignment, and the internet site that was directly quoted, as well as any correspondences to the student), it was appealed and unfounded by the university.

Edit - grammar

judehoffman8 karma

I'm sorry to be that guy, but can you provide proof to the mods?

I'm a little suspicious due to your grammar in some of the responses.

thr0w_me_awayy9 karma

Yea give me a few min.

thr0w_me_awayy7 karma

Added to original posting

yarnk6 karma

What credentials do they require? How is the pay? Is it driven by the number of students? Thanks for doing this interesting AMA! Edit: typo

thr0w_me_awayy8 karma

The standard pay is 2k per 10wk semester. You get a bump after a year or two (to 3k i think); but I think if you have less than 8 students enrolled your pay will be prorated. This doesn't sound like a lot but consider that as an instructor I'm only responsible for a 60min seminar per week as well as grading (which takes about 30-60min per week depending on assignments), also any type of prep that comes up which is about another 30min per week, as almost everything is already set up for you. Which averages about $100-$80 per hour.

yarnk3 karma

Thanks! What about credentials?

thr0w_me_awayy8 karma

Credentials are minimal - You need a bachelors to teach for an associates program, Masters for Bachelors, and so on. As long as you have a "higher" degree in a related field (even this is a loose guideline) you could be an instructor. No other qualifications were really needed

ScienceBalls2 karma

Sounds like a good ROI for time if you have another job also? Because $2K every 10 weeks, or $1K every 5 weeks, so a little less than $1k/mo (Learned how to do that at Kaplan yesterday!!!) just doesn't seem that great.

Then again, you can live on it and you can barely ever have to go to work I guess.

So: do you work another jerb also?

thr0w_me_awayy3 karma

Yea I have 2 other part time jobs. I'm trying to be a bit vague on the off chance that I would be identified and subsequently fired, although the money isn't great its still 10k a year.

getahitcrash2 karma

So what part do you play in this? Are you warning your students that their degree is worthless or are you showing up and taking your paycheck week after week?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

I do my best to provide an education to those who are really looking for one. But it's not a job I want to keep, I mean nobody (well most people) wants to work for a place that's unethical and takes advantage of people

trollawayy1 karma

Could you not teach multiple classes?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

You can request to teach multiple classes but you are typically only offered 1 per semester, not sure why.

SBtransposon6 karma

Sorry for being ignorant but I am really clueless about this. Why would people want to go to for-profit university when there are community colleges and public universities with open enrollment and much cheaper tuitions?

thr0w_me_awayy5 karma

Well I can't say that its cheaper, I would imagine the prices are comparable, but I think the main reason is ignorance and basically open admissions. Everyone knows the name Kaplan, and it is some what respected, especially being backed by the parent company of the Washington Post.

clarissa2253 karma

Im currently enrolled in a private 4 year college. How does the curriculum in terms of assignments, exams, homework there compare to a traditional school? Ive always been curious about those types of schools.

thr0w_me_awayy5 karma

The curriculum is standardized for almost every class (and worthless). There is a weekly seminar online (a few are mandatory but essentially they are optional. Each week the students must respond to a predetermined question and complete a peer response. A few times during the 10 week semester there are projects due. The problem with this is that as an instructor you have no control over the assignments, everything is preplanned including the syllabus and scoring rubrics. The rubrics are writing in such a way that as long as you meet the length requirements you can pretty much just cut and paste from the textbook get a decent grade. The technical classes (like math) are a bit different, but everything else follows that format.

doctorshevil3 karma

How do you get hired to teach?

thr0w_me_awayy2 karma

Its like anything else, you fill out an application and submit a resume, the strange thing about it though is that everything is automated, for the most part, you just receive a series of instructions to fill out forms and fax or email them, you really don't talk to an actual person until orientation, and even that is via electronic communication

higherlvl3 karma

Diploma mills suck. Why did you start working there in the first. Kaplan, Strayer,UoP. Any college advertised on TV basically.

thr0w_me_awayy10 karma

Well like everyone else I'm struggling to find a decent job, so I have a few part timers, this is one of them

yarnk2 karma

What are your professional goals?

thr0w_me_awayy4 karma

At this point my goal revolves on putting food on the table. But like most people I would love a stable career, that is balanced, challenging, and also puts food on the table. Kaplan for me is a filler, as soon as I can afford to quit I will.

Lewbatu2 karma

I study AAT and we use Kaplans books, i found this kinda disconcerting....

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

Well I can't really speak to the prep books. The prep classes however I have heard aren't very helpful. I'm not sure if they still have guarantees of a certain score or improvement, but I've heard other instructors talk about how it is impossible for the students to collect on that guarantee.

reddit_lurker422 karma

Are there any legit schools that are distance/online based? After many years I am looking to finally put the work into getting my degree. The local options are limited and with a wife, kids, full time job, etc. attending class is the one part of the whole thing that has me worried. I don't want my degree handed to me, but the thought of being able to do it from home is very nice. I' m looking at Grantham right now. Is it another situation like the OP describes?

thr0w_me_awayy4 karma

Online programs are becoming more popular, and there are legitimate ones. Typically those that are attached to respectable university will have a worthy online program, typically due to the fact that they still have to follow the parenting university's regulations. In my opinion you always loose a bit when doing distance learning, but if you are a hard worker then the difference should be negligible

jshuawood2 karma

Is Kaplan similar to itt tech?

thr0w_me_awayy2 karma

Well ITT tech, is a trade school, not a university. You go to ITT to get a completion certificate in 1 specific field, but it is the same in that most employers consider graduates or certificates 2nd rate applicants, from what i hear...

krackbaby2 karma

I thought Kaplan just did MCAT/ACT/LSAT prep stuff

What sorts of degree programs do they offer?

thr0w_me_awayy2 karma

Well the have a brick and mortar college in Florida, and the have almost any degree available online

StudentOfFurrtune2 karma

As a graduate of strayer university I can feel your pain. We had the weekly posts plus two replies in most classes and reading through them was brutal. Most of the time people were just googling the question and copy/pasting whatever was in Wikipedia or copying someone else's post and changing some words... The tests were even easier as you could just copy most of the question into google and get the answer. The first two semesters I worked really hard and tried to have insightful posts and took my time on quizzes but soon realized that it didn't matter at all. You could spend an hour on a post after spending a few hours reading the material or spend 5 minutes looking up an answer online and post that... I just needed the piece of paper and work paid for it, so I don't feel too bad about it; but I would never hire someone that went there with no experience.

I studied web programming and without my prior knowledge and own research and reading would have no clue. We learned about databases and learned java but never how to use java in web programming. We had one course on php and MySQL and that was about it... Just nothing that you could actually apply and use...

Do you feel that your students are able to apply what they learn at Kaplan to further themselves outside of school?

thr0w_me_awayy6 karma

I think that I'll have some students who will succeed. Its seems that there are a few from each class who do the work. I think these type of people will also seek out resources to "fix" the gap of education that they were given by Kaplan. However I also have a large portion of students who will never be able to complete their job tasks, think about it. They are mostly cutting and pasting, so not only are they not learning anything, they have no idea how to professionally write. The grammar and spelling of some of the students is awful. You can clearly tell where the plagiarism stops and the original content begins.

aforu2 karma

The larger problem is that for some, the college degree is just a hoop to jump through, and doesn't actually prepare them for what they're going to do anyway. If an employer just wants to see that you're able to finish a program, it may be that this one is sufficient- a bad answer to a bad situation. I guess the question is, are students getting jobs?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

Well in one of the top posts BobKelsoMD states that those that have online degrees are less preferred then those with typical degrees. I have also seen similar preferences for hiring.

sturmey2 karma

Do you work from an office, or do you work from home?
-If from home, do you always wear pants?

thr0w_me_awayy5 karma

Everything is online no office. Actually during the application and hiring process, its almost all automated. I didn't actually receive a non-form or automated communication until orientation. And yes its pretty chilly in my home typically so pants are usually on

doctorshevil1 karma

What subject do you teach?

thr0w_me_awayy2 karma

I've taught mostly liberal arts things, but I've also been asked to instruct things outside of my area which I've refused

freemarket271 karma

so what is the answer? Can an online university work? Maybe an accrediting institution which administers standardized tests at its location?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

I think it can work, it just needs more oversight, as well as higher levels of integrity and built in measures to ensure that the student is actually learning. But I have no idea how to realistically achieve that while maintaining the low overhead that all university want from an online program.

OnlineUniversityEmp0 karma

I too work for Kaplan, though in the administrative offices, not as an instructor.

I understand where OP is coming from, however calling it a "diploma factory" is disheartening.

A true diploma mill/factory is where you pay money and a couple weeks later your degree is shipped. Kaplan students are in fact working legitimately for ~3 years to earn their degree.

Yes - the cirriculum is dumbed down, but I had some incredible instructors who were amazing at what they did, and others who didnt teach at all really as they were just interested in the paycheck.

I just hope OP continues to focus on those students who are there to really learn.

thr0w_me_awayy14 karma

Yes a degree factory is an exaggeration, but only slightly. But you really hit the point I'm trying to make, about both instructors and students. There is no dissemination between the hard workers and the paycheck/degree collectors. And from my stand point there seems to be no change is this insight, as is maximizes income.

It very much seems like if you can sign a check they'll sign your degree.

OnlineUniversityEmp-2 karma

Understood. But FWIW, Ive seen the students getting dismissed first hand due to plagiarism or other policy breakers. Trust me, its not completely illegitimate.

Without goung into specifics, Ive worked with the Registrar and Deans and see the work they put in to separate themselves from the other for-profit institutions that too have made the scandals.

We even won praise by senator Harkin - the biggest opponent for for-profit colleges.

Kaplan really does try to standout as being one of the better, legitimate learning institutions, though its hard just because of the negative light constantly being shined on them and the others.

Best of luck to you though. Hang in there, you do have students who care :)

In fact, you can watch the graduation ceremony live today as it happens. Some walking across the stage perhaps don't give a damn or didnt put much effort, but others there with tears in their eyes have worked their asses off to earn that degree they may have never been able to achieve otherwise due to whatever circumstances.

thr0w_me_awayy12 karma

I'm sure there are exceptions to every rule, I however can only speak to my experiences. As you can only speak to yours as an administrator. I'm glad that you have faith in the company, but I just have not witnessed any changes or actions from Kaplan to separate themselves from this constant negative light.

flashnuke0 karma

If it's such a joke, why do you still work there?

thr0w_me_awayy3 karma

I already answered that question, scroll up a bit

doctorshevil0 karma

How much do they pay instructors?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

see Yarnks post, I explained it in response to his question

freemarket27-4 karma

Do most of your students receive government loans and grants with which to pay the Kaplan tuition? I am thinking if so, that is another example of how the government interferes with the free market. Otherwise, I do not follow how the Kaplan you describe could exist. If mgmt pressures teachers to pass students as you say then pretty quickly students who are paying their own way will not attend the school. Why pay from your pocket for a useless diploma?

thr0w_me_awayy1 karma

I would say that almost every college student everywhere receives loans. The article I posted earlier talks about how Kaplan has been aggressively recruiting vets for their GI bill, but also non-military students are also there on student loans. Banks love student loans, it's my understanding you cant default (chap 7 or 11) on student loans, they will always be paid back with interest so banks hand them out easily

DesiMafia-5 karma

I did my undergrad at a traditional 4 year university, and my grad school at a competing online university. I work in the Fortune 100 and make enough money to be in the top 2%. I can honestly say I learned more in the project-based online curriculum with peer discussions than in my entire 4 year undergrad at a 25,000 student campus.

How do you account for a student like me, and does it affect your opinion of Kaplan as a diploma mill?

thr0w_me_awayy10 karma

I think that is a reflection of you as a person, not the university. I have students who are intelligent and go the extra mile to get the most out of their education, however at the end of the day they have the same worthless piece of paper that the other students do. That is really one of the more aggravating thing, is that I have students who are looking to learn, but due to other circumstances are limited to an online program. I do my best to focus on these students and point them in a better direction. - So to answer your question, no it doesn't change my opinion. Like I said its a reflection of you and your drive.