The College Network is a scam. I was an unlucky individual who fell for the scam, and it works like this. If you contact The College Network, they will send an "advisor" to meet with you (please note this terminology that is similar to that used by legitimate colleges and universities). This person may have the title of advisor, but they are NOT affiliated with any college or university, they are an employee of The College Network and basically a sales person. They will then tell you about the different programs that "they" offer in conjunction with their "partner" universities. The program that I was interested in was program offered by Excelsior College.
Please be advised that Excelsior College is a legitimate program but The College Network has absolutely no affiliation with Excelsior College, and Excelsior College even warns you about businesses attempting to sell study materials using the Excelsior College name on their website (they failed to tell me this). Excelsior College offers various college degrees for completing a prescribed course of study and tests, but they do not offer the classes, instead you mostly have to study on your own and pass their tests to earn course credit. I have not researched The College Network's relationship the other "partner" colleges and universities that they clearly claim to have an association with.
The College Network representative will then give you the sales pitch about their "learning modules" that their "partners" offer. They will ask you about your past education and check off boxes on a paper that lists the courses that they believe you need. This at first appears to be a college course planner that most legitimate college advisors use, but this in fact is a contract that you are about to sign.
Again this person is not a college advisor, which means that they don't really know which classes that you actually do or don't need to take. Whatever boxes they check has no bearing on whether you actually will get credit for your previous college experience or if you even need these classes to complete the program, so you could end up paying for a class that you already have credit for and don't need or don't need at all. They will then ask you if you wish to finance the tests too. They lie about how much you are paying per class which is a much lower amount than the actual cost.
What they conveniently fail to tell you is that the price that they quote is for their study guides excluding the test fees, and the actual tuition for the school. To illustrate this point, I'll list what my personally estimated costs were for Excelsior College and for The College Network. For the Excelsior College program (please contact them directly for current and exact fees), I estimated $800 for tuition, $400 annual fee, and $3,000 testing fees (assuming that I did not have to retest at any point, and that I needed to complete 10 tests).
The tests are about $300 each, and I estimated that I needed to complete 10 of them. I estimated that my total Excelsior College fees would be about $4,200. The College Network fee is in addition to the Excelsior College fee, and this what I would have received for my money. The College Network charges about $500 per "learning module", which is a three ring binder that contains a Xeroxed study guide that their company produced, and access to a tutor and study planner, which you may or may not need. I would have required about 10 "learning modules", 1 per Excelsior College course taken. This would have been about $5,000 + $2,000 finance charge (if you had to finance their outrages price like me).
Taking this into consideration, I would have been paying Excelsior College about $4,200 and would have received an Associate Degree and eligibility to sit for a state licensing exam. If I had bought The College Network's product I would be paying about $7,000 for a set of 10 three ring binders containing what appear to be Xeroxed study guides and access to a tutor, that I may or may not have needed in addition to the Excelsior College fees.
I believe that The College Network price is grossly overpriced for the product that you receive from them. You can buy similar study materials else where for a fraction of the price, and you could hire your own tutor on a pay as needed basis. This is how I handled the situation thus far. I luckily figured out that I was scammed the next day. They clearly state that the transaction can be cancelled within three business days of the transaction, and they provide you with a cancellation form (the cancellation form was very briefly mentioned, and I was told that I didn't need to known about it during my meeting with the "advisor").
That night I faxed my cancellation form to them, and to the credit union that I financed their costs through (which by the way is not The College Network, another fact that they conveniently omit). I wrote and signed a letter explaining that I was cancelling the transaction and why I was doing so. I faxed that to them and the credit union as well. I then scanned all of the forms and sent them via email to their email address.
The next morning I went to the post office and sent them the forms via 2 day express mail. I also cancelled my deposit check of $500 the next day. They still attempted to cash my check, but luckily the bank stopped it in time. It has been about 2 weeks since all of this happened, and I have not heard from them since. I plan on writing a follow up letter to them, since I haven't heard anything from them. That is the scam in a nutshell, and my experience with it.
My personal advice to anyone interested in Excelsior College is to deal directly with them and using the contact information that they provide on their website. I have not actually enrolled in Excelsior College as of yet. I am still considering whether I'm going to enroll or not, this whole experience has left me with a bad feeling.