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How to personalize your tuition savings

By Laurie Davies

At a glance

  • During the pandemic, about 300,000 potential transfer students stopped their educational journey.
  • There are approximately 39 million U.S. adults with some college but no degree.
  • Understanding how much you can save on a degree by leveraging your work and life experience can help clarify your budget and tuition plan.
  • Find out how you can save on your degree with University of Phoenix’s Savings Explorer® tool!

How to personalize your tuition savings

Your dream is to get a degree, and you’re ready to get started. But what’s it going to cost? And do the educational, military or life experiences you’ve had count for anything? It would be nice to know up front how you could save on your degree.

Enter, University of Phoenix’s Savings Explorer® tool.

The innovative, elegant tool helps prospective students quickly and easily understand the savings opportunities that are relevant to them. Launched in November, Savings Explorer® presents information about:

  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Transfer credits
  • Work and life experience
  • National testing programs
  • Alternative credit providers
  • Military service

By answering a few simple questions, you can find out how much other students with relevant experience have saved.

How it works

It’s easy to get started with Savings Explorer® — just enter the degree you’re interested in, and the relevant cost-savings options will show up on the next screen. From there, choose the opportunities that apply to you.

“We’ve taken a lot of information that was cumbersome to navigate and created a guided place to present possible savings,” says the tool’s developer, University of Phoenix Product Manager Ryan Bernal. 

For example, let’s say a prospective student has several college courses under their belt as well as skills gained from work and life — both of which might count as credit toward a degree. In a matter of seconds, the tool reveals what other students saved, on average, with those selected opportunities. The student can then, with a few clicks, go right to information about transfer credits and credits for work and life experience. (Actual savings will depend on each student’s specific circumstances.)

It’s like driving down an easy-to-navigate main road with great signage onto side roads versus being dropped into an unfamiliar city without a map or street signs printed in your language.

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Who it helps

A tool like this can be especially helpful for adult learners, who often enroll in school with work and life experience. (Think work credentials and certifications, previous college credit and even parenting experience.) At University of Phoenix, for example, the average age of new students is 38, and 80.9% are employed.

“At University of Phoenix, we understand our students are bringing their own life, work, education and training experiences to continue their educational journey with us,” says John Woods, PhD, provost and chief academic officer. “This understanding informed our creation of Savings Explorer® as a tool to support individuals in assessing, before they even enroll, the potential opportunities to save both time and money in order to quickly leverage their degrees and pursue their chosen career path.”

There are currently about 39 million adults in the U.S. with some college and no degree. Additionally, a recent report from National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that during the pandemic, about 300,000 students who normally would have transferred, instead stopped their educational journey. For individuals who may have paused their educational plans, the Savings Explorer® tool offers a quick assessment to understand how they might be able to leverage their prior learning, work experience and financial circumstances.

How it helps

The goal of the Savings Explorer® tool is to give prospective students as much information up front regarding how much they can save on their degree.

University of Phoenix offers generous credit transfer possibilities: Credit transfers can cover up to 75% of a bachelor’s degree. On average, University of Phoenix students save $11,000 and eliminate one year from their undergraduate degree with eligible transfer credits and relevant work experience. Master's degree students can save up to nine credits and $6,800 on their degree.

Options in the Savings Explorer® tool go way beyond credit transfers. “Last year, we worked with our students to evaluate their experiences and other learning for potential college credits,” says Devin Andrews, vice president, Assessment and Evaluation. “The result was that students saved a total of $49 million in tuition and fees.”

Other cost-saving possibilities include:

  • Scholarships — The University believes scholarships should be more widely accessible than they currently are, which is why it awards up to $3,000 to every new, qualifying student.
  • Self-paced alternative credit providers — University of Phoenix has teamed up with learning providers that help students earn credits toward their undergraduate degrees.
  • National testing programs — Students can demonstrate existing knowledge by taking a test from one of the acceptable national testing programs such as CLEP, DSST and AP. Passing scores on these exams may result in awarded credits.
  • Military credits — Members of all branches of the military can have their military experience assessed through the American Council on Education. University of Phoenix honors these credit recommendations.
  • Work and life experience — Certifications, trainings, licenses and even life skills all bring something to the educational table. At University of Phoenix, this translates to more than 200 opportunities to save.

The natural complement to tuition savings is, of course, tuition that remains the same over the course of a degree program. At University of Phoenix, a fixed tuition rate is part of the tuition guarantee, and it means students can find out exactly what a degree will cost and enjoy peace of mind that the rate won’t change while they’re enrolled in their program.

From fixed tuition rates to new ways to save, budgeting for a degree is firmly within the student’s hands. Learn more and try the Savings Explorer® here.


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