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  #1  
Old 01-04-2017, 05:28 PM
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Default NationsUniversity: Master of Theological Studies free to incarcerated

Hello, all. I don't know if this has been posted before so I will post it now. NationsUniversity, (that's not a typo) is a nationally-accredited college in the United States that offers a Bachelor of Religious Studies and a Master of Theological Studies tuition-free to incarcerated students. They need only pay a one-time $25 registration fee and the cost of books. It is an evangelical Christian college and provides primarily theological/ministry training but I think it is a good option for those seeking higher education while incarcerated. I hope this helps someone.

Just found out I can't post a web address yet but just Google NationsUniversity and it'll pop right up.
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by GrandMoffTarkin View Post
Hello, all. I don't know if this has been posted before so I will post it now. NationsUniversity, (that's not a typo) is a nationally-accredited college in the United States that offers a Bachelor of Religious Studies and a Master of Theological Studies tuition-free to incarcerated students. They need only pay a one-time $25 registration fee and the cost of books. It is an evangelical Christian college and provides primarily theological/ministry training but I think it is a good option for those seeking higher education while incarcerated. I hope this helps someone.

Just found out I can't post a web address yet but just Google NationsUniversity and it'll pop right up.
Make sure before enrolling in any school whether its credits will transfer and whether its graduates may apply to graduate programs at other schools.

Many schools that are accredited can't answer yes to either of those questions. The school in question here does not promote its own prison program as an educational opportunity as much as it does a program to convert inmates to its brand of Christianity.

So caveat emptor.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:00 PM
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Make sure before enrolling in any school whether its credits will transfer and whether its graduates may apply to graduate programs at other schools.

Many schools that are accredited can't answer yes to either of those questions. The school in question here does not promote its own prison program as an educational opportunity as much as it does a program to convert inmates to its brand of Christianity.

So caveat emptor.
Yes, it is a very conservative Christian program. I took one of their courses and found it was not my brand of Christianity so I didn't continue. Academically the course was sound, though.

It is nationally-accredited, so many regionally accredited colleges won't accept it for graduate school or transfer credit. But many will. I did find the schools I was interested accepted NU degrees but it is something to beware. It is, none-the-less, an accredited degree. You just have to decide if their brand of Christianity is for you. I am in the Anglo-Catholic tradition myself and didn't fit in well with the other students, though no one disrespected me or tried to convert to their viewpoints. I think it'd be a good fit for evangelicals in general, especially the Church of Christ-type.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:06 PM
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Yes, it is a very conservative Christian program. I took one of their courses and found it was not my brand of Christianity so I didn't continue. Academically the course was sound, though.

It is nationally-accredited, so many regionally accredited colleges won't accept it for graduate school or transfer credit. But many will. I did find the schools I was interested accepted NU degrees but it is something to beware. It is, none-the-less, an accredited degree. You just have to decide if their brand of Christianity is for you. I am in the Anglo-Catholic tradition myself and didn't fit in well with the other students, though no one disrespected me or tried to convert to their viewpoints. I think it'd be a good fit for evangelicals in general, especially the Church of Christ-type.
The question isn't the quality of the religion courses. It is the quality and quantity of core academic courses. It, like all online or mail degrees must also have safeguards for the integrity of the work.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:14 PM
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The question isn't the quality of the religion courses. It is the quality and quantity of core academic courses. It, like all online or mail degrees must also have safeguards for the integrity of the work.
I understand that but I am of the belief that such issues were properly addressed by the accrediting body. I've taken online and face-to-face courses at many different schools in many different subjects. I've never encountered issues with quality and quantity of core academic courses or with the safeguards for the integrity of the work. However, if you know of any improprieties in this regard about NU after they obtained their accreditation, I would very much like to know. It is not my intention to recommend a subpar school. Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:22 PM
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I understand that but I am of the belief that such issues were properly addressed by the accrediting body. I've taken online and face-to-face courses at many different schools in many different subjects. I've never encountered issues with quality and quantity of core academic courses or with the safeguards for the integrity of the work. However, if you know of any improprieties in this regard about NU after they obtained their accreditation, I would very much like to know. It is not my intention to recommend a subpar school. Thanks.
My point is that anyone taking college courses should do a full due dillegence on the school and it's programs.

I know nothing of NU and had never heard of it until you posted. Just a quick look at its own official web site was enough to raise concern that it is more of an evangelical rather than academic enterprise.

Academic fraud is rampant at online colleges and is more so at for profit ones. Not sure about for prophet schools.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:28 PM
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My point is that anyone taking college courses should do a full due dillegence on the school and it's programs.

I know nothing of NU and had never heard of it until you posted. Just a quick look at its own official web site was enough to raise concern that it is more of an evangelical rather than academic enterprise.

Academic fraud is rampant at online colleges and is more so at for profit ones. Not sure about for prophet schools.
Your first point is well taken. No one should enroll in a college on a whim.

Your second point is interesting but I would only say that there need be no conflict with having an evangelically focused academic program. Education need not be strictly secular, IMHO.

Your third point is correct, I think. However, academic fraud, especially plagiarism, is also running rampant at colleges of all kinds.

Thanks for your insights.
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Old 01-05-2017, 11:40 AM
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Your first point is well taken. No one should enroll in a college on a whim.

Your second point is interesting but I would only say that there need be no conflict with having an evangelically focused academic program. Education need not be strictly secular, IMHO.

Your third point is correct, I think. However, academic fraud, especially plagiarism, is also running rampant at colleges of all kinds.

Thanks for your insights.
I looked deeper at this school.

It is low cost, and it uses proctors for exams. Those are good things about it.

Look at its accrediting agency and some questions jump of the page at you about the agency and its standards. Namely, a high percentage of schools that use that agency have financial or legal troubles or were in negative standing with other agencies in the past.

I don't suppose there is any harm in studying with NU, but any degree from there would have very limited marketability after release.

If an inmate wishes to study to improve job prospects, going another route likely would be a good choice.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:29 PM
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I don't suppose there is any harm in studying with NU, but any degree from there would have very limited marketability after release.

If an inmate wishes to study to improve job prospects, going another route likely would be a good choice.
No doubt.

Here's a fun little exercise: Google "unemployment rate religious studies" and take a look at the top results.

Degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies continually rank among the Top 10 (if not Top 5) worst possible majors for job prospects right now, and for the past many years.

So if you want to end up being an unemployed street preacher once you get out of prison, yelling in people's faces and telling them what naughty little sinners they are, sounds like a degree from NationsUniversity is right up your alley.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:37 PM
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Just to offer another perspective (from someone who holds a "useless" degree from a highly ranked school and has not been an inmate ):

Education is not equal to employability. We have a very narrow focus on what it means to get a college education in this country. If a person, in prison or out, wants to study something to enrich their life and that happens to be through a structured collegiate program, then so be it. Inmates with a long sentence, let alone L/LWOP, may not be looking for a degree that snags them a job. We all know that in today's market, a BA/BS is good but not anything that's going to make you stand out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:44 PM
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I have a university degree that I will probably never use to obtain employment. I studied out of interest and to expand my mind. Education isnt all about securing a job, its about personal development and learning.In my humble opinion no education is ever a waste of time there is always something to be learned.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:47 PM
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Very true, miamac. And I guess that really should be the question then: is the goal to pursue higher education to support oneself when one gets out, or just to pass time (if say you have a very long sentence)?

Even with many of the marketable degrees like the STEM majors, there are so many new discoveries and technical knowledge coming out every year, that much of it becomes obsolete within just 5 or 10 years. So it's probably best to hold off until just a few years before your prison release date to work on any collegiate program you plan to use for employment-related purposes, just to make sure the information you are studying is still relevant immediately after your release.

But nothing wrong with studying a little philosophy or liberal arts or other easy/fun majors if you have plenty of time before you get out. While being able to quote Plato or Shakespeare or recite Latin might not be very useful on the outs, you can have lots of fun with it in prison. Especially if you can attract a crowd.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:15 PM
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Very true, miamac. And I guess that really should be the question then: is the goal to pursue higher education to support oneself when one gets out, or just to pass time (if say you have a very long sentence)?

Even with many of the marketable degrees like the STEM majors, there are so many new discoveries and technical knowledge coming out every year, that much of it becomes obsolete within just 5 or 10 years. So it's probably best to hold off until just a few years before your prison release date to work on any collegiate program you plan to use for employment-related purposes, just to make sure the information you are studying is still relevant immediately after your release.

But nothing wrong with studying a little philosophy or liberal arts or other easy/fun majors if you have plenty of time before you get out. While being able to quote Plato or Shakespeare or recite Latin might not be very useful on the outs, you can have lots of fun with it in prison. Especially if you can attract a crowd.
NU does not offer a liberal arts degree. For example, its degree requires a higher percentage of religious courses than do similar degrees from Liberty, Bob Jones of Brigham Young universities.

One of its academic core classes is a sociology class called "Family." In the class, students learn the Biblical roles of husband, wife and children. Such as the wife should be submissive and obedient to the husband. Not only do students have to learn the material, they must agree to follow it in order to pass the class.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:25 PM
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One of its academic core classes is a sociology class called "Family." In the class, students learn the Biblical roles of husband, wife and children. Such as the wife should be submissive and obedient to the husband. Not only do students have to learn the material, they must agree to follow it in order to pass the class.
That sounds like just the thing that Domestic Violence convicts need to be learning in prison. How to make their wives submissive and obedient once they get out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:46 PM
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But nothing wrong with studying a little philosophy or liberal arts or other easy/fun majors if you have plenty of time before you get out. While being able to quote Plato or Shakespeare or recite Latin might not be very useful on the outs, you can have lots of fun with it in prison. Especially if you can attract a crowd.
You just offended every hard-working Humanities major that may stumble on your words, but it's OK-- we're used to it. One of the many fringe benefits of an "easy/fun" degree is gaining really thick skin and being able to tell people to stuff their ideas rather articulately.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:59 PM
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You just offended every hard-working Humanities major that may stumble on your words, but it's OK-- we're used to it. One of the many fringe benefits of an "easy/fun" degree is gaining really thick skin and being able to tell people to stuff their ideas rather articulately.
I was thinking the same thing. I majored in liberal arts and humanities. The education hasn't made me rich but it prepared me very well for...well...everything. And it certainly wasn't "easy" though I have to say I did have lots of fun in most of my "easy" classes.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:42 PM
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You just offended every hard-working Humanities major that may stumble on your words, but it's OK-- we're used to it. One of the many fringe benefits of an "easy/fun" degree is gaining really thick skin and being able to tell people to stuff their ideas rather articulately.
miamac, my original major when I first attempted college half-assedly back in my teens after dropping out of high school in 9th grade and got my GED was social science / sociology. I took my fair share of "soft science" and liberal arts classes, getting most of them out of the way. Back then, my head wasn't into the game. I spent most of my free time partying and goofing off like so many college kids still do to this day, skipping classes left and right and still managed to get mostly C's and B's after the curve in so many of those classes, since half the class was even lazier than me apparently.

Contrast that to finally coming back to school again after getting out of prison this last time. My new major: Biology: Healthcare Emphasis. It entailed boning up on my math, spending countless hours studying chemistry, and getting my ass kicked these past two semesters taking A&P (Human Anatomy & Physiology). You can't even compare the difficulty and time investment involved between those laid-back liberal arts and philosophy courses where all you have to do is write a few papers with really grinding away at studying the hard sciences and passing all those grueling exams. It really is night and day.

Now I don't begrudge anyone pursuing whatever course of study really interests them -- indeed, continuing with higher education IS a worthy endeavor, regardless of what you choose to study. So many jobs out there these days, even routine office/clerical type jobs require at least a bachelor's -- ANY bachelor's -- just as a standard baseline anymore, simply because so many high school grads come out woefully unprepared to enter the workforce. Their English skills alone are terrible -- so many kids used to typing in text-speak on their phones, expected to write a simple memo, that none of their bosses can even understand. So having even a bachelor's degree of any sort really does open a lot of doors, since it generally shows at least rudimentary command of the English language. All those college-level papers in all those liberal arts classes do serve a purpose.

What pains me though is that you have so many kids coming out of college these days with degrees that really aren't in demand at all. Unemployment rates well into the teens, after they've racked up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and are still living in mommy and daddy's basements well into their 30's. I'm not saying even their higher education wasn't worthwhile for their own personal enrichment, but at some point you have to be pragmatic as well.

Indeed, one really needs to focus on what they are trying to achieve with their college investment. If you are able to take classes for free (or at very little cost) more power to you. Follow your passions. Many of us never even had the opportunity to take college classes in prison, all that was available was the GED for those who didn't have it already under their belt. So if you have the opportunity to take a program, any program, to help pass the time and enrich yourself, by all means go for it. But if perchance at all you have any choices and actually have access to tools or training in prison that might actually translate into a living wage career once you get out, so you aren't stuck working a low-wage paying job like the vast majority of unskilled ex-cons who get out, that might be the more prudent option to help maximize your chances at success once you get out. Because, let's face it: most prisoners will one day get out.
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Old 01-05-2017, 05:47 PM
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miamac, my original major when I first attempted college half-assedly back in my teens after dropping out of high school in 9th grade and got my GED was social science / sociology. I took my fair share of "soft science" and liberal arts classes, getting most of them out of the way. Back then, my head wasn't into the game. I spent most of my free time partying and goofing off like so many college kids still do to this day, skipping classes left and right and still managed to get mostly C's and B's after the curve in so many of those classes, since half the class was even lazier than me apparently.
[...]
You can't even compare the difficulty and time investment involved between those laid-back liberal arts and philosophy courses where all you have to do is write a few papers with really grinding away at studying the hard sciences and passing all those grueling exams. It really is night and day.
[...]
What pains me though is that you have so many kids coming out of college these days with degrees that really aren't in demand at all. Unemployment rates well into the teens, after they've racked up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and are still living in mommy and daddy's basements well into their 30's. I'm not saying even their higher education wasn't worthwhile for their own personal enrichment, but at some point you have to be pragmatic as well.
At the risk of going wildly off-course for the thread, we're going to need to agree to disagree. I'm sorry that you half-assed what could have been very useful coursework, but that's an incredibly shallow reason to write off an entire side of higher ed because you weren't in the right "headspace".

My degree required far more than a few papers. You'd know that if you'd stuck with it. As far as being a youthful whim to earn a multi-disciplinary award in literature, foreign language and history-- well, I guess I lack pragmatism. I was 36 when I walked, proudly, down the aisle to receive my degree.

What really burns me about this attitude is that humanity majors are responsible for far more than they're given credit for. They teach our children, they advise our government on social policy and educate our military members on things like diplomacy and cultural respect. They enter into our prisons and teach our loved ones when no one else will. So tell me again why it's a waste?

I'm glad you succeeded in the STEM disciplines and based on your perspective, I'm left to assume you're gainfully employed in your field. That's terrific.

Back to the idea of studying theology-- for some incarcerated persons that might be the door they need to go through. If it's appropriate for them and the opportunity is there then I support their pursuit.

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Old 01-05-2017, 06:08 PM
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At the risk of going wildly off-course for the thread, we're going to need to agree to disagree. I'm sorry that you half-assed what could have been very useful coursework, but that's an incredibly shallow reason to write off an entire side of higher ed because you weren't in the right "headspace".

My degree required far more than a few papers. You'd know that if you'd stuck with it. As far as being a youthful whim to earn a multi-disciplinary award in literature, foreign language and history-- well, I guess I lack pragmatism. I was 36 when I walked, proudly, down the aisle to receive my degree.

What really burns me about this attitude is that humanity majors are responsible for far more than they're given credit for. They teach our children, they advise our government on social policy and educate our military members on things like diplomacy and cultural respect. They enter into our prisons and teach our loved ones when no one else will. So tell me again why it's a waste?

I'm glad you succeeded in the STEM disciplines and based on your perspective, I'm left to assume you're gainfully employed in your field. That's terrific.

Back to the idea of studying theology-- for some incarcerated persons that might be the door they need to go through. If it's appropriate for them and the opportunity is there then I support their pursuit.
Majoring in theology as part of a broad liberal arts program is one thing. Taking theology at a school where EVERY course is a religion course is something different.

Yes, there are worse ways to spend time in prison, but I stand by my thoughts that the school in question in this thread will deliver neither a degree that is marketable nor will it increase ones ability to think for themselves.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:25 PM
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What really burns me about this attitude is that humanity majors are responsible for far more than they're given credit for. They teach our children, they advise our government on social policy and educate our military members on things like diplomacy and cultural respect. They enter into our prisons and teach our loved ones when no one else will. So tell me again why it's a waste?
As I said above, higher education is never a waste. And I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who work in all of those fields you mentioned. We all do our parts.

What I do have a problem with is the fact that we have a national unemployment rate of under 5% right now, jobs available for almost everyone who wants one. So many jobs in fact, that employers can't even fill all those positions, even after importing thousands of H1B foreign workers. The jobs are out there, but there is a distinct shortage of Americans with the right skillset and education needed to fill many of those positions.

That was my only point.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:25 PM
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Okay, back on topic.

This thread is about a college that offers Bachelor of Religious Studies and a Master of Theological Studies tuition-free to incarcerated students.

That is all.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:43 PM
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For anyone serving time at prisons which have cut educational programs at all but a few facilities this is good for them to discipline themselves and take courses instead of hoping and waiting to get back into school. I wish there were more courses of study planned by colleges like these for more than religious studies.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by choclgs View Post
For anyone serving time at prisons which have cut educational programs at all but a few facilities this is good for them to discipline themselves and take courses instead of hoping and waiting to get back into school. I wish there were more courses of study planned by colleges like these for more than religious studies.
Amen to that. You do have to at least give some of these private religious schools mad props for at least reaching out and even attempting to offer education for those forsaken behind those prison walls.

What we really need is to expand the Second Chance Pell grant program that President Obama launched last year. It was a very limited launch, in defiance of Congress' 1994 ban on financial aid to prisoners, which saw 12,000 prisoners enrolled in nearly 100 correctional institutions across the country.

While the Pell Grant alone isn't usually enough to cover the full ride at even most mid-range-cost public colleges, it can usually cover full tuition and books at most 2-year junior (community) colleges, which can be a great option to at least get your core classes out of the way and perhaps even attain an Associate's degree, or vocational certificate in certain trades, which can provide for living wage job opportunities once released as well.
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