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An Informal Comparison in Three Masters of Accounting Graduate School Programs at NC State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University
Because of its importance in economic and social-political growth, education has been commoditized in the information era. Because of the large number of players who have entered the market, it is advanced and strongly distinguished. For administrators and technical experts, university education is becoming more attractive. Even those who have earned career prospects are relentless in pursuing a higher degree of development because it allows them to upgrade their skills while and their productivity. The demand for post-graduate education is escalating and the business model highly altered. Since learning is a continuous process, many in the working class are creating convenient means to attend master’s education. Convenience, cost, and scope of each program determine whether a person would join the program.
Accounting graduate programs are offered by many institutions across the United States. There are institutions which offer superior programs but maybe too far to be accessed. Furthermore, work schedules may interfere with the programs rendering some incompatible with the work demands. The institution offers similar programs with different terms depending on each unique business model. The program that suits my time schedule and is also fairly affordable is desirable. However, there are those programs which may be desirable but incongruent with my time schedule. This report would be evaluating an accounting graduate program from three different institutions. The analysis will be evaluating the convenience and viability of each of the three options. Convenience is a concept that can be affected by multiple variables. Therefore, I would be looking at multiple factors that contribute to the convenience of the program. The collected information would be used as the basis for decision making as to which program is effective to my current work engagement.
To help understand many aspects of the programs offered by the different institutions, I will need to have a lot of information about them. I will start by visiting the university website for each case. There is a lot of information about the program offered by each of the institutions. The following websites are used for each institution
NC state- www//grad.ncsu.edu/
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- www.unc.edu/
Wake Forest University- http://www.wfu.edu/
However, some of the information is vague and broad which could make it difficult to understand the program. I will search for contact information from the websites and request the management to provide me with an official and updated graduate school handbook. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill website was unstable and provided insufficient information.
That made me introduce the third method of collecting information by making calls to the registry department of all the institutions. This was a turnaround move because it enabled me understand the programs better because a lot have been omitted in the website with an obvious intention to attract students. I now understand that the contact center is obliged to open up about the dynamics of the program when a potential customer approaches. I also analyzed the reviews by customers in the university website and official social media pages. Honestly, the discussion was subjective to the extent that the true picture of each program could not be ascertained.
I have a friend who has completed his Masters of Accounting (MAC) at the Wake Forest University. He later introduced me to two of his colleague who studied at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. These three alumni of their respective institutions also provided important information that helped in preparing the informal comparison report.
This section will highlight the findings of the data collection process. I will provide a systematic report for each institution based on what I found from the process.
North Carolina State University. The University offers MBA programs. The program is offered through its diversified model of delivery including online, full-time in Raleigh or the Research Triangle Park campuses. Furthermore, the program is offered through its business immersion programs in developing countries like China. The institution charges different prices for in-state and out-of-state students. The following is an extract from the NC state indicating the fees charged for its program.
In-state online programs are the cheapest attracting a fee of $44.955 annually. Full-time programs are slightly expensive because it attracts a fee of $50,303 and out-of-state students charged $80,220. However, the university shows concern to students because they offer financial aid to help fund graduate programs. Those who intend to apply for financial aid are encouraged to enroll in the Jenkins MBA program on or before the January deadlines. NC State University reported that 60% of full-time MBA students were offered merit-based scholarships (https://grad.ncsu.edu/).
The program involves robust collaborative critical thinking, a partnership with cutting-edge technology and data-rich environment that enhance graduates meet real-world challenges.
The above exhibit indicates the process and cost of acquiring accreditation.
NC State allows a student to customize their curriculum. Masters of accounting is one of the dual-degree options that is offered by the program. The program has also understood the dynamics of the world by allowing students to access classes when and where they want. They have the full-time and online option which allows the student access class materials, instructions and work through the internet. Besides, the student is allowed to arrange for the face-to-face course at Raleigh depending on one's preference and convenience. The program can take a minimum of 21 months or can be completed anytime within six calendar years since enrollment.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the UNC is ranked the top research Centre of the three institutions because it receives huge federal support through military collaboration. The huge resource base is beneficial because it will enhance its effort to offer world-class education, affordable and diversified programs. It provides more than 20 specialty programs also offered in many other institutions. The Alumni informed me that the university was the best among the three regarding leadership development. I was also updated on the many accolades the university have received by the office of the registrar including World to 200 universities in 2010. The information was pretty promising, but I knew it was insufficient to make an informed decision.
The program is delivered primarily using three modes. Online, face to face and hybrid system. The online model offers distance learning programs on a semester basis in spring and fall. There is also the 1st and 2nd five and a half weeks programs amounting to 11 weeks of extended summer. Admission is to the UNC-Chapel Hill is not a prerequisite for a student to enroll in the program. The distance learning model does not require physical contact with the instructions although constant communication through emails and blackboard are encouraged.
The UNC-Chapel hill charges significant fees for its lucrative programs. From the updated tuition fee, Masters of Accounting degree cost as follows (https://finance.unc.edu).
Like the NC state, UNC-Chapel hill charges different rates for resident and non-resident. All American populace are considered resident while foreigners constitute non-resident. Upon contacting the registrar office for clarification and appropriate interpretation of the rates, it emerged that the program may cost at least $20,000 in an academic year. In total, the program would cost more than $65,000 before accreditation.
Financial aid is an important aspect because a master's degree is considered a personal or professional investment. The university offers a student loan which is issued through the university website. To apply for the loan, the student completes a promissory note. Online repayment methods are available increasing continent and saving time.
Finally, the university offers support and aid to help students finance tuition. From website reports, a survey provided an evaluation of years students were guaranteed support.
More than half of those who completed the survey indicated that they received support for more than three years; 5 years (35%), four years (8%) and three years (7%). UNC is determined to provide support to the needy student. Finally, I noted that their website is easier to use because it provides systematic guide that helps a visitor to access various resources. However, the university fee is extremely high but promises that it will remain the best university as portrayed by its recent accolade in the global and national profile.
Wake Forest University:
1. The WFU website provides a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of its program through graphic appeal as indicated by the photo below.
2. The female population constitutes 54%, 25% are international students while the average GPA necessary to enroll into a program is 3.54. MSA enrollment has received a total of 108 applications indicating that the course is in high demand. The university provides 13 undergraduate majors; two times more than what UNC-Chapel Hill is providing (6).
3. The MSA program at the university is completed in two-semesters with an option to participate as an intern in the third. Wake university offers an option to complete for prerequisite before enrolling in the MSA program unless UNC and NCU state.
4. The university conducts an annual review of tuition fee which is subjected to a slight increase (3%-5%). Insurance cover is required for all students and the rate depends on the age band (http://business.wfu.edu/). The school of business offers a scholarship to a student based on their financial needs, academic merit and their intellectual and civic contribution in the institution. Students can access the federal and graduate plus loan which could further aid in financing their program.
The university does not distinguish between residents and non-residents. However, the alumni indicated that international students are subjected to additional fees. An overview of the tuition fee structure suggests that the three-semester program may cost at most $60,000.
Lastly, Wake Forest University offers full-time programs to its MSA students. No arrangements are made for online and distance learning despite the technological advancement that could support such an infrastructure. Students are expected to attend classes at their respective campuses.
The informational comparison report was based on some qualifying criteria that were core to decision making
1. Cost of each program. MSA program is expensive, and I wanted to select a program that meets my financial status as a young working citizen. Programs that are too expensive may be abandoned even if they promise the greatest value. However, some programs are cheaper yet could add little to one professional and personal skill development. I would be looking at a program that offers the optimum benefits and proof the worth of such an investment.
2. Mode of delivery of each program (online, face-to-face or hybrid). The three women’s of delivery emerged as the leading business models used by the three institutions. The program I intend to select should be the one that is flexible to accommodate the pressures of job and family management. The program to be selected should align with my schedule because some programs require minimum attendance failure to which one is suspended from the program.
3. Program diversity (number of masters programs). Learning should be multi-dimensional and it is important to attend a program that offers a wide perspective of the course. I would prefer a program that has a long list of MBA programs because it can enhance and support development.
4. Financial support. Some institutions are helpful and differ financial support to enable students fund their education. The support can be provided concerning scholarship and student loans. Financial constraints are one of the hurdles that limited pursuit of MBA programs. I would like to register in a program with sufficient financial support that enables a student complete their tuition.
Wake Forest University: was the cheapest of the three universities with an average tuition cost of $60,000 for the program. The program is offered on a full-time basis making it difficult for a working-class student to enroll and participate conveniently. The institution offered significant financial support and 13 different MBA programs (highest than any other).
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the most expensive requiring payment of more than $65,000 for the program. It offers the student with significant financial support through convenient loan and scholarships. The MBA program runs six different programs with an option to specialize in six more. Offers online, face-to-face and distance learning education. However, deliberation with the institution registrar and a chat with one of its alumni indicate that it is one of the best programs in the United States.
North Carolina state university program costs about $70,000 with accreditation with AACSB-accredited MBA. The program offers both the face-to-face and online teaching model with an option to switch between the two at will. NC State is concerned with its students and offers scholarship and loan as financial assistance. The program offers competitive programs in the market. This is according to the alumni I contacted.
Although Wake Forest University offered the lowest cost, the program was not flexible which led me to decide of North Carolina State University as the most convenient program under the prevailing circumstance. The program offers significant financial support, allows the student to shift between face-to-face and online programs at will and also cost competitive.
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