Bachelor’s and Master’s in Accounting Information Session
Kyle Brown: Hello, everyone and welcome to our Accounting webinar for the Bachelors and Masters in Accounting. This is going to be an information session for Fall 2018. I’m going to just give it a few more minutes to let everybody maybe joining at the last minute get in.
Hello, everyone. My name is Kyle Brown. I’ll be your moderator for this evening’s webinar. I’d like to start off by thanking everyone for joining us for the Maryville University Online Accounting Program Information Section. Just to start off with some of the logistics, everyone right now is in listen-only mode, so the presentation should be broadcast through your speakers and you are in listen-only mode to minimize any background noise. There should be a question-and-answer box on the left-hand side of your screen, so we’ll do our best to answer as many questions as possible during the question-and-answer session at the end of the webinar. If we are for some reason unable to answer your question today, which I don’t see happening, but if that’s the case, we’ll be sure to have an Enrollment Advisor follow up with you. Today’s webinar is also being recorded, so you’ll be able to use the same link to watch it again on-demand at your convenience.
To move over to our agenda for the evening, we’re first going to talk a little bit about Maryville University and I’ll discuss the Accounting programs and give an overview. We’ll also discuss the enrollment requirements, what the online platform and online experience is like. I’ll also be able to cover some information on our Student Support team. We’ll finish up with a question-and-answer session.
At this time, I would like to introduce our panelists. I’m Kyle Brown, I already introduced myself. I’m an Enrollment Advisor for the Accounting students here and I look forward to connecting and helping all of you hopefully. We also have Somer Anderson on the call as well, so I’ll let Somer introduce herself.
Somer Anderson: Hi, this is Somer. I am an Assistant Dean in the School of Business, and I also created our Accounting programs online. So I’ll be just walking you through the program slides today.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Somer. We also joining us have Jeannie DeLuca. She is also going to be a resource for us on the call. I’ll let Jeanie introduce herself as well.
Jeannie DeLuca: Hi, everybody. Welcome to this webinar and welcome to Maryville. As Kyle said, my name is Jeannie DeLuca. I’m the Director of Admissions and Advising for Online Programs at Maryville University. I’ve been at the university for almost 22 years, which is very hard to believe, and I’ve worked in a couple different capacities, including Admissions and Advising. As I said, now I’m mostly the Online Programs. So welcome.
Kyle Brown: Thanks, Jeannie. So now that you’ve had a chance to get introduced to our panelists, I am going to move onto a little bit about Maryville University. We were founded in 1872. Our ground campus is in St. Louis. We’re one of the oldest private schools in the Midwest and we are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Among many rankings and credentials, we have of course been ranked among American’s Top Colleges by Forbes as recently as 2017. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has ranked us as one of the best values in private colleges. Of course, we are an Apple Distinguished School, so we’re one of the pioneers in the field with online learning platforms and the technology we’re using in the online platform, and Apple has granted us that designation, so that’s just a little bit of background on us.
In terms of why students come to Maryville for Accounting, I think there are several reasons. The Bachelors in Accounting is uniquely positioned to help students segue into the Masters of Science in Accounting Program. One of the options students have would be the Early Access courses. So at the end of the Bachelors program, student can apply to take Early Access courses from the Masters program and actually substitute in a few of the coursing from the Masters for sort of a dual-credit situation, so that by the time you complete the Bachelors program, you actually have a head start on your Masters. In terms of the Masters program itself, I think one of the biggest things that sets our program apart would be, our program includes Becker’s CPA Prep Courses. We’re basically breaking the CPA exam into four sections, and you take a prep class on each section of the exam, so this can serve as very strong preparation. What’s nice about those courses is, they’re actually accessible for up to 18 months after you start them. So you should be able to use the Becker review materials for a significant amount of time as you prepare for the CPA exam.
Lastly, the Masters of Science in Accounting, it does offer a Bridge Program for students that did not earn their Bachelors degree in Accounting. We do have a lot of students looking to make a career change or maybe earn their Bachelors in a completely different field. I’m working with a student that earned their Bachelors in Nursing, so this does allow our students to look at making a career change and still qualify for the CPA exam, without necessarily having an undergraduate degree in Accounting.
The other perks of these programs would just be the fact that they are 100% online. There is no campus residency required. We have three entry points into the program each year. We have the Spring start, which always begins around the middle of January. We have the Summer start, which is always the first week in May. The Fall start coming up this year, it’s always the last week in August. This year, it’s August 27th. For program length, the Bachelors in Accounting can be completed in as quickly as 2.6 years. This would be at a full-time pace and of course once all the General Education requirements are met. The Masters program, if you earned your Bachelors in Accounting, the Masters can be completed in as quickly as 10 months, which is a very accelerated program. The nice things about the Bachelors is Accounting Online and the Masters in Accounting Online, for the Bachelors, we don’t require an ACT or SAT score. There’s no GMATs or GRE required for the Masters in Accounting. So I think those are some roadblocks that you won’t experience with our programs.
Lastly, as I mentioned before, we are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. But on top of that, the John E. Simon School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. All faculty members teaching in our Accounting programs are industry experienced and licensed CPAs. Not only are we using the Becker review materials in the Masters, but you’re working through that with a professor who is CPA licensed.
Now I am going to give Somer a chance just to discuss a little bit about the Bachelors in Account curriculum and the Masters in Account curriculum.
Somer Anderson: Okay. We will start with the BS in Accounting curriculum. If you look over on the left, this is our Business core. I like to start by telling you that this Business core is pretty unique because at Maryville, all of our Business programs use the same core. If you decided to major in Accounting and you start going down that path and you say, “I don’t know that I really liked Accounting. I thought I would. I think I might want to do Marketing or Cybersecurity or just the Business Administration,” you haven’t lost anything, because we all share that core. You start with that core, which is pretty typical of what you’ll see in any Business programs. I would point out that probably what’s special about that is our Business Statistics course, it’s not just your typical statistics out of a textbook. It’s actually, we’re using real-world data and we’re using Excel statistical programs to help us make decisions. It more about hands-on decisionmaking than computing the means and the modes like you might think of as a traditional Statistics class. Then we use that information, everything past there where you start seeing Operations Management and Business Policies. We actually are using that same information to help us make more and more-detailed high-level decisions.
Then once you get through that Business Core, you’ll switch over the to Professional Accounting Core, which is really the meat of your Accounting program. We start with Forensic Accounting. It also has an Ethics component and it counts as one of your Philosophy classes, so it counts toward Gen Ed as well. Financial Reporting I and II, those are your Financial Accounting or Reporting classes that will apply directly to the CPA exam. Your Advanced Managerial Accounting is your Cost Accounting class, and that’s also on the CPA exam. Accounting Information Systems, Auditing, and Tax are all, obviously are also on the CPA exam. There’s your core Accounting right there. Then once you through those courses, you start the Capstone courses. So that Accounting Theory is where you’ll really start bringing in all together. That’s your true Capstone course that you’ll see in any college program. Then the next three courses, Kyle talked about Early Access to our Masters programs, so that’s where fits in. You can use those three courses to pull in Masters Degree courses that count towards both the grad program and the undergrad programs. That’s really unique and really helpful to our students. They love that aspect of our program.
Now, if you decide, “I don’t want to do a Masters degree or maybe I don’t feel like I’m ready for a Masters program,” then you don’t have to do that. We also have electives ready for you, so you can take a QuickBooks course. There’s another Tax course that you can get a little bit deeper into corporate taxes and we can get you a little bit deeper into Finance. So there are alternatives if you get there and decide you don’t like that. Once you get through and your General electives, it’s all totaling 128 hours. That is the minimum requirement to graduate.
Then moving on to the Masters. So let’s start on the right side this time. Those courses that you see on the right side, there are, it’s 30 credit hours, so it’s 10 courses. Those all directly apply to the CPA exam. I do want to point out up there, the Core you see Accounting 618, which is Strategic Accounting Issues. If you are in a state that requires non-profit and governmental accounting and that’s getting, we’re seeing that more and more. It used to just be two states and now I think we’re up to five states that require that particular course. So we are now, we’re working on a course right now that we’ll launch in the Spring and you can take that course instead of Strategic Accounting Issues. So that’s an or if you do have that requirement in your state.
A lot of states are also now requiring that Accounting 650, Accounting Research and Communications. I know Texas is a big one and people are starting to follow Texas, that you have to have that course. Make sure you’re taking, if you don’t come here, make sure you’re seeing that somewhere if you’re from Texas. Then following that Core, we’re got the Becker CPA preparation courses. So the last four courses in that 10-course program are actually Becker. We use Becker instructors, so they’re actually CPAs, they’ve worked in the field, but they’re also Becker instructors, so they do that for a living now. They know the Becker material inside out. They also know the CPA exam trends inside out. So they are awesome, awesome resources and we are so lucky to have them, but we use the entire Becker platform, and we integrate that into our own Canvas platforms, and you just work through Becker for those four courses, which align with the four sections of the CPA exam.
That’s the 10 courses. Now, if you go back over to the left side, that’s the Bridge program. So when Kyle mentioned that if you don’t have an Accounting degree, you can go into the Bridge program that will help you learn the foundational knowledge that you need to succeed in the Masters program and on the CPA exam, that’s what we’re talking about. So you’ve got to go through those Bridge courses before you can actually begin the Core courses. If you’ve already, say you have a Business degree, you probably already have some of those courses done. You probably have your Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Business Law, or that kind of thing. So those will transfer in, and we only make you take the Bridge courses that you don’t already have. Don’t think you’ve got to take that entire block. If you don’t have an Accounting degree, you just have to pick up any courses that you don’t already have.
Let’s say, one more thing on there is, with those Becker courses, we do like to mention that there’s an additional fee, because we actually have to pay Becker to use their materials. I believe right now it’s $700 per course, and that’s just the fee for taking, for the Becker materials. But that’s a significant discount than what you would have to pay if you were just taking Becker on your own. That’s the program in a nutshell. I’ll turn it back over to Kyle, but if you have specific questions, please stay on and ask questions when we get through with this so we can make sure they’re all answered.
Kyle Brown: Thank you so much, Somer. I’ll move on now to discussing a little bit about the online learning experience here at Maryville. The whole goal of developing this online program was really to provide a lot of our non-traditional students coming back to school the flexibility to still work or be able to still not have to sacrifice family time to take on these courses. The program is designed with a lot of flexibility in mind. There’s never a set time or a set amount of time you necessarily are required to spend. So you can, in many ways, log in and manage your time at your leisure. At the same time, even though that it is fully asynchronous for working professionals, we still want to prepare students that this is a grad program. I like to tell my students, as a general rule of thumb, you want to be able to dedicate give or take maybe 10 to 15 hours a week for each class you’re taking, but I think one of the strengths of our online learning experience is we were able to keep our class sizes in the online platform relatively small, so class sizes should be right around 20 students. This just allows our credentialed, CPA-licensed instructors to dedicate a little more time to each student, to get back to students quicker, and really provide a more comprehensive, efficient learning environment.
Again, this program will adapt to your personal schedule. You have a lot of flexibility with not only when you’re logging in, but also how many courses you’re taking at a time. The access to all the resources is going to be through a one-stop portal, so we make everything very accessible. You’re not having to necessarily use a lot of different links or hunt down resources. Everything should be available right through the online platform.
So now, I’m going to speak a little bit about admissions requirements, starting with the Bachelors program. Students who are interested in applying to Bachelors program, they would need a few different things. The first thing is always official academic transcripts. A lot of times, with students coming in for their Bachelors, they have multiple institutions or previous schools. We would need an official transcript from any college or university attended. In some cases, we also need a high school transcript. Your Enrollment Advisor can speak to those case-by-case situations effectively, but typically, when students have less than 60 credits of previous college experience, we’ll all require an official high school transcript. In terms of GPA requirements for our Bachelors students, we’re looking for a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. So typically, an Associates degree satisfies the General Education requirements for this program. If you earned an Associates degree, typically that’s going to cover your General Ed requirements. However, that is still a bit of a case-by-case situation as well. We’d be more than happy to review your transcripts and get you an online program planning sheet so you could see exactly where you place in the program.
We can accept a maximum of 68 credit hours from a two-year college. So if you attended a community college and have a great deal of credit from a community college, we can accept a maximum of 68 credits. There’s not necessarily a cap on credits from a four-year institution that we can accept. However, you’ll see that the last 30 credit hours of a degree must be taken with Maryville for us to confer a degree. So in that sense, the Accounting program is 128 total credits. We’d be able to accept the maximum of 98. You’d have to take at least your last 30 credits with us. Lastly, when students do have an Associates degree in a different field, we can count that as a minor. I work a lot with students who earned an Associates degree in Business Administration, for example. We would be able to put Business Administration as a minor for you, when you complete your Bachelors in Accounting. Just to recap, once again, there’s an online application. There’s no fee for that. Then we would just need official transcripts from any college or university you attended and potentially your high school.
Moving along to the Masters requirements, again, we do need official academic transcripts. It can be a bit of a case-by-case situation with this, depending on if you are a Bridge student or if you earned your Bachelors in Accounting. In many cases, if you earned your Bachelors in Accounting, we’d just need an official transcript from the institution you’ve earned your Bachelors at. By comparison, if you did not earn your Bachelors in Accounting and are coming in as Bridge student, it’s more beneficial for you and we do require that we get a transcript from any college or university you attended. This is really to ensure that we give you as much credit for Bridge courses as possible. We wouldn’t want to miss a Bridge course you may have taken early on in your college career, by chance.
You’ll see that there is a little bit stronger GPA requirement for the Masters of course, so we are looking for a 3.0 GPA or higher for our Masters applicants. Graduate applicants also would be required to write a personal letter explaining their qualifications for graduate work. I always encourage my students to give us a little bit of background on your previous education and your work experience and tell us a little bit more about your motivation and your future goals with pursuing a Masters in Accounting. You’ll see that there is a caveat with applicants who have a cumulative grade point average below a 3.0. Students can still apply with a GPA below a 3.0, and you’d be applying for conditional acceptance. So your Enrollment Advisor can give you a little bit more information on what conditional acceptance means. It really just depends on where your GPA falls below a 3.0. typically, if your GPA is below a 2.5, we also require an addendum essay. That would just speak a little bit more to what led to having a little bit lower GPA during your undergrad program and also outlining a plan for why you feel prepared to be successful now with the grad program.
Lastly, for our international applicants, we do require a course-by-course evaluation of your transcripts from outside the United States, by a NACES-accredited evaluation service. Your Enrollment Advisors should be able to provide you a list of organizations that evaluate international transcripts. Then, in some cases, an English proficiency exam may be required, a TOEFL or an IELTS, and your Enrollment Advisor should have more information on any specific scores that would be required, as well as situations where this could be waived.
Now that we’ve covered a lot about the admissions requirements for the Bachelors and for the Masters, I’m going to move along and discuss a little bit about tuition and financial aid. You can see here, the tuition for the Bachelors is $500 per credit hour. The Masters is $765 per credit hour. Any Bridge course would be technically an undergraduate course. So the Masters in Accounting Bridge courses are also going to be $500 per credit hour. I think as Somer alluded to earlier, the Masters in Accounting, the Becker prep classes have an additional fee of $700 for each of the four Becker courses. Now, that is not added to the cost-per-credit-hour. It’s just a $700 fee for each Becker course.
We do have a wide range of financing options, so one of the main ways that students are funding this program would be through federal student loans and financial aid. For Bachelors students, you may also be able to explore options for grants from financial aid. We also work a lot with students who use personal funds and set up monthly payment arrangements. There are also options for Graduate Plus loans or private student loans. We frequently work with students who have employer tuition assistance or reimbursement. So if that’s something you’re thinking about using to fund your program, your Enrollment Advisor should be able to cover the ins and outs of that process and make sure you get connected to get any information you need to take to your company or any information we need from your company. Finally, we are of course a military-friendly university. We have a VA rep on campus that we can make sure our military students get connected with. So if you’re looking to use military benefits to fund your program, we should be able to get you out any information you need to utilize those as well.
In terms of applying to the program, it’s typically a three-step process. Most students are able to complete this process within about two weeks. IT’s a pretty non-intensive process, and usually the longest aspect of it is just getting your official transcript sent over. The first thing you’d want to do is complete your online application. That can take you 15 or 20 minutes and there will be an application link contained in this webinar. The second thing you’re going to want to do is request your official transcripts. You can have electronic transcripts sent to email@example.com. Many schools still only offer mailed transcripts. You’ll see that there is an address there. That would get your transcripts physically into the hands of your Enrollment Advisor. The last step in the process is the personal statement essay. We’re looking to get maybe about 400 to 600 words. We’re usually looking for a page long. You hae a couple different options. You can either attach your personal statement to the application or you can email it directly to the Enrollment Advisor you’re working with. As far as application fees, those are currently being waived, so there’s not application fee required.
To speak a little bit more about other resources that students have available, we do have a very comprehensive and integrated approach. One of the most important aspects of this process is giving you steady points of contact to support you throughout the program. You would have an Enrollment Advisor to start, who would be your main point of contact, all the way through the admissions process and potential acceptance, really through your first week of class.
Now, during working with your Enrollment Advisor, they would make sure you get connected with your Student Success Advisor. The Student Success Advisor would take over as your next point of contact. This would really be someone who would help you and be the same person with you throughout the program, if you needed to drop a class. If you’re looking to register for upcoming terms. If you’re looking to maybe have some additional resources or you’re having trouble finding something on the campus, they should be able to point out a lot of the resources available to you. Online, you would have the Academic Success Center. We have tutoring services as well, so if you want to get a little bit of extra help outside of class, your Student Support Advisor should be able to help you explore the tutoring options. We also have a writing studio for students to utilize. This could be just, you want to submit your paper for a quick edit or you want to take advantage of some more in-depth resources, for example, with citations, different citation styles, things like that, sources, bibliographies.
Finally, we do have an Office of Career and Professional Development. We do have many partnerships with organizations and corporations, not only local to St. Louis, but national organizations, as well as an extensive alumni network. There are a lot of resources that I typically point my students to start utilizing right away in the Office of Career and Professional Development.
I just wanted to thank everyone for joining us. I know we moved fairly quickly through a lot of this information. You can see my contact information there. I’d be more than happy to assist any of you with this process, or any questions that you have that have come up through this presentation. You can see my phone number there is 866-803-2337, extension 4232. You can also email me anytime, but now we’ll turn it over to the question-and-answer session. Okay, here’s a great question from Jessica. So Jessica asked, “Does the school offer a list of companies that help students with their Masters through working with said company?” We do have a list, but it is an internal document. If you think that your employer has some sort of assistance or reimbursements or a partnership with our school, you definitely want to let you Enrollment Advisor know who your employer is and we can double-check that for you. Somer, you might want to speak a little bit more to this?
Somer Anderson: No, that’s exactly what I was typing, so I have nothing to add except if you are working somewhere, make sure you ask your employer, because a lot of employers will see that, even if it’s not published anywhere.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Somer. Here’s another question, let’s see. “Where do we send transcripts to? What was the address again?” If you are trying to get transcripts mailed in, the address would be 150 Northwest Point Blvd., 3rd Floor. It would be Elk Grove Village, Illinois 6007-1032. You would just put Maryville University and “attention” your Enrollment Advisor.
Okay, here’s another question. “My GPA is below 2.5. What are some other ways that I could strengthen my application besides the addendum essay?” So that’s a great question, and actually, if your GPA is below a 2.5, the more the better really that you can submit to strengthen your file. One thing I’d tell my students that’s great would be a letter of recommendation from a previous professor or maybe someone at your employer, things like that. So I think those are also very beneficial, as well as your resume. So I would definitely include your resume as well, in addition to letters of recommendation. Those are two things that I think really, really can strengthen your file.
Jeannie DeLuca: Kyle, this is Jeannie. Can I add to that a little bit?
Kyle Brown: Absolutely, pleas Jeannie.
Jeannie DeLuca: I assume that that was a question about our graduate program. Kyle’s exactly right. For students that may need to go to what we would call our Graduate Admissions Committee, it’s made up of myself and a couple faculty members and Program Directors, and we truly do look at every file individually. If you’re below that grade point, I would still encourage you to apply. We take into account your work experience. If you graduated college maybe 15 years ago or eight years ago, that’s a little bit different than someone who just graduated in May. We understand that sometimes life happens, but the resume we do look at, the addendum, the admissions essay, we really truly do look at all pieces of that. So letters of recommendation, anything you want, and we will look at that. I don’t want anyone to not apply. I’m not saying that everyone gets accepted, but I can tell you that everyone is given a very fair shot and we have taken students below that grade point, definitely have taken students below that grade point.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Jeannie. Yes, in those situations, I totally agree in trying to submit … the more you can submit, the better to show your background and your qualifications for graduate work. Here’s another question from Justin, “Do you offer help and guidance to students applying for financial aid?” So that’s a great question, and yes, we do. We do have a Financial Aid Department that you would work with. Typically, it takes about three to five business days to get your financial aid information over once it’s submitted, but I send all of my students a financial aid checklist that really breaks down step-by-step what you’re doing, how you’re submitting your financial aid application. It really gives you a good outline of the process. If you have questions about the financial aid process and would like a little help and guidance in applying, we have resources we can get out to you that should offer a pretty comprehensive step-by-step breakdown. Once a student is accepted and registered for courses, that is typically the point when you would receive your financial aid award letter and be able to discuss funding options in more detail with a financial aid advisor.
Oh, here’s a great question and I think Somer and Jeannie will probably have a lot of good information on this. “Are there proctored exams for online courses? And if so, does the school have an agreement, does the school [inaudible 00:43:11]”-
Somer Anderson: I was just [inaudible 00:43:12]-
Kyle Brown: Oh, were you-
Somer Anderson: Sorry-
Kyle Brown: Somer, sorry.
Somer Anderson: Sorry, no that’s okay. I was just typing that one in there, but it might apply to other folks as well. So you don’t have to go anywhere for proctored exams. We, not all of our exams are proctored, some of them are just timed. But we do use something called Proctortrack, so if you do happen to have a course that uses Proctortrack, it films you and it films your movements, so it kind of looks at your eyes to make sure you’re not using your textbook or whatever the requirements happen to be, but you don’t actually have to go to any center and pay any fees or anything.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Somer. Here’s a great one that’s not answered yet, from Jessica again. This is actually, can apply to a lot of students. I work with students in this situation a lot, so Jessica mentioned that she’s graduating in December 2018 and she’s asking what the best route would be or how soon she should start the application process. So number one, it would really depend on what term you’re applying for. If you were looking, for example, to start in the Spring of 2019, pretty much right away when you finish your Bachelors, what you could do is, you could submit official transcript once you have your last semester of courses or so in progress. I think Jannie and Somer may want to jump when I get done speaking to this. But in many cases, when students have this situation, they can request a letter of conferral. A letter of conferral, the Registrar Department at your institution should know about this, but it would basically just delineate that you are meeting all the requirements to complete your Bachelors program, and it should have information on a specific date or a range of dates when your degree would actually be conferred, assuming that your last courses go well and you finish out your last semester well.
What you can do is submit official transcripts that show your last semester of course in progress and a letter of conferral. Then you would just be accepted conditionally and the condition would be that you would have to submit an updated official transcript once you graduate and your degree is conferred. I’ll turn it over to Somer and Jeannie to speak a little bit more about what the timeframe is to submit your finalized official transcript and things like that.
Jeannie DeLuca: Sure. Usually, we require, let’s say that you’re graduating in December like you said. If we have that letter of conferral, we would accept you for the semester starting in January. You would have until the end of your first semester to get us that final transcript, so we do give you quite a bit of time. We typically don’t want students to register for their next semester until we have that transcript that shows that the degree was in fact completed and conferred. But we do give you until the end of the following semester to submit that.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Jeannie. Here’s a question that hasn’t been answered yet from Susan. Susan’s asking, “How many hours is considered part-time for the benefit of using student loans to finance this endeavor?” I believe that there are different criteria for Bachelors students and Masters students, when it comes to part-time and full-time. Typically, students taking one class at a time would be considered part-time, so that would be typically three credits at a time. The way our semesters work, we have 16-week semesters that are split in half, so that there are two eight-week terms. Part-time would involve taking one class the first eight weeks and one class the second eight weeks. Now, I understand for Bachelors students, remaining a full-time student is typically more beneficial for financial aid options, whereas it can be a little bit more lenient with a graduate program for students using financial aid and attending part-time. Jeannie and Somer, do you have anything to add about part-time?
Jeannie DeLuca: Yes. Usually, for an undergraduate student, they have to have at least six hours per semester. If they only have one course for the entire semester, they would not be eligible for financial aid. A graduate student, however, can get financial aid just by taking one class for the whole semester. Now, most people take more than one course. They do what, or what Kyle said is one course at a time or six hours for the semester. But they would get financial aid if they just took one class in that semester.
For grad students, usually we consider nine hours as full-time. For undergraduate students, 12 hours is full time. I think for undergraduate students, 12 hours is actually quite a bit. It is for graduate as well. But nine hours is what we would recommend for undergraduate students if they’re looking at a full-time, in picking maybe one course their first eight-week term and two courses their second. That way, they can get used to the feel of the online setting and also the expectations. That also gives them time, if they did the one class, it gives them time if they feel like that was just enough, to drop maybe that second class in their second eight-week term, if they felt like, “Enh, taking one course was quite a bit. I don’t think I want to do two courses at the same time.” So we always suggest that you start out just taking one course and then you can always add.
I would say the majority of our students as undergraduate students takes six to nine hours a semester. For graduate students, it varies. Some people will do 12 credit hours. A lot of times, the nice thing about our graduate program is, you’re never locked into any sort of format. I know some schools have cohort programs where everybody takes the same thing every semester. What’s nice about our program is you may want to start out taking 12 hours and then you may say, “Okay, I never want to do that again. That was a lot.” And then that next semester, you can back down to one course at a time or six hours a semester. The same and vice versa. You may start out part-time and think that you can handle another class. So we really individualize it for students as much as possible, so that we never have you in a lockstep program that you’re locked into doing a full-time or a part-time. Some students find that there are certain times of the year that their work demands are a little bit less and during those times, they tend to take a few more courses. Then especially students who may work in an accounting field, during tax season, they want to back down to taking one course at a time. I can’t stress enough how flexible we try to be with students.
Kyle Brown: Thank you so much for breaking that down, Jeannie. I know that again, we do have a lot of students that like being able to adjust their pace, and a lot of students that really want to plow through the program as quick as they can. But I would say a lot of my students end up finding out that it may be more beneficial to start off with one class, really just to get off on the right foot and be successful, and not get overwhelmed from the start. I Think sometimes, especially with the graduate program, some students, again, they see that they can finish in as quickly as 10 months, which is amazing, but I don’t know that every student is always ready to take on two classes, which I think, at the graduate level, can be comparable to almost a full-time job in and of itself. So usually, I think a strategy that’s worked really well with my graduate students is starting off with one class and then from there, deciding if two classes is feasible, because like Jeannie said, you can adjust this throughout the program.
Oh, here’s another question from Justin. “If applying for the Spring 2019 Masters program, what is the deadline?” And then, “What about Fall 2019?” As a general rule of thumb, we typically cut off applications give or take about six weeks before the classes start. So if you’re looking at Spring 2019, those classes begin January 14th. My recommendation would be to have everything submitted by the 1st of December. This way, with the holidays and people being out of the office, not only potential at Maryville, but also with Financial Aid and the Department of Education and requesting transcripts and everything like that, I think December 1st would be a good deadline for the Spring 2019. As far as Fall 2019, again, I would say right around the middle of July. This year, we’re cutting off our Fall applications on July 16th, so I would say right around the middle of July of 2019, we would be cutting off the Fall applications.
Oh, and Jessica again has a question about graduating in December. She’s asking how soon she should start the application process. Jeannie or Somer, if you have anything to add, I’m definitely game for it. But I would say it would probably be a good idea to wait until you start your last semester. That way, you’d have as complete a transcript as possible when you apply and only your last semester of course would show as “in progress.” And then you could submit the letter of conferral as well, and you would probably even be able to get your updated transcript with your degree conferred and everything in sometime in January. So that would be my thinking. What do you think, Jeannie and Somer?
Jeannie DeLuca: I would totally agree with you, Kyle. I think a good rule of thumb is to apply one semester before you really intend to start. So like you said, if you’re graduating in December and want to start in January, I think applying at the beginning of that first semester or your last semester is fine. September, October, we usually start registering students for the Spring semester in November. So I would shoot for that as a deadline, to have your application and everything in by November 1st, so that if you do want to enroll, we would get you registered for the Spring semester at that time.
Kyle Brown: Thanks, Jeannie. So here’s a good question and I’m going to let Somer answer this one, because Somer helped me out with this before. It’s a question I get a lot. “What are the CPA pass rates for graduates of the Masters program?”
Somer Anderson: So that is actually an untrackable statistic. If you see that statistic at any other school, you need to ask them where they got it, because students can take the CPA any number of years after they graduate, and that’s also the way they track it, they could be reporting the school that they went to their undergrad or their grad. So it’s just really hard to get that information. The only way we know how we’re doing is when our students tell us. A lot of our students do come back and tell us, “Oh, my gosh, those Becker courses were amazing.” They go, they take the CPA exam immediately after and they pass it. All I can tell you is, you’re safe, from what we’re hearing directly from students and they are taking and passing the exam.
Kyle Brown: Thank you, Somer. Yes, I get asked that a lot. There are just, like you said, I think some discrepancies. There’s no real good way to have students report back. Like you said, students don’t always list us as the school. Sometimes they got their Bachelors at any school and list that school when they’d take the CPA. So the reporting is imperfect, but Becker is of course one of the leading CPA review materials. Okay. Any other questions? Well, I think that’s it. I think, hopefully we got to everybody’s questions during this webinar. We will be sending out this webinar to all the attendees. Just want to thank you again for attending this webinar. I look forward to hopefully speaking with all of you and working with you and helping you through this process. I want to thank my panelists Jeannie DeLuca and Somer Anderson for participating as well. Thank you so much for being an amazing resource and we look forward to working with all of you.