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FAQ

We’ve tried to answer as many questions as possible in the materials covered below. If you’re having trouble finding an answer to your questions,  contact us.

General Questions
Admissions
Academics
Cost/Financial Aid
Areas of Emphasis
Regents Bachelor of Arts Portfolio
Online Courses
Library Resources
Graduation

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is an RBA Degree?
RBA stands for Regents Bachelor of Arts. It’s a four-year bachelor’s degree that removes barriers to bigger and better opportunities.

The program’s designed to fit the needs of adult students – particularly those who already have work and family commitments. The basic idea is that students receive credit for what they already know, regardless of how they gained that knowledge. After working with our RBA coordinator, students complete classes to fill in any gaps in their education, graduate with a four-year degree and head out into their careers with a major barrier out of the way.

How long has the RBA Degree been available?
The RBA program began in 1975 and is administered by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Who can enroll in the RBA program?
Students who have earned a high school diploma (or a GED) and who have been out of high school for four or more years can pursue an RBA degree. If you have working experience

I would like to learn more about the RBA. Where do I start?
You can get started today by contacting our RBA Coordinator, who will guide you through the process and get you on track to earning your bachelor’s degree.

Are there financial aid programs available for RBA students? How can I fund my degree?
There are many ways to pay for your degree. If you enroll part-time, you may be eligible to participate in The Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student Program (HEAPS).

Full-time students may be eligible for the West Virginia Higher Education Grant. You should also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you can receive help from the federal government. WVU Tech’s Financial Aid Office can also help you sort out the financial aid process.

What sort of time commitment is involved?
The RBA program is really designed to fit your schedule and includes a wide variety of full, half-semester and online courses. You get to work at your own pace to complete your degree.

The day-to-day time required to complete your RBA will depend on how many college hours you already have and whether you can attend full or part-time.

Can my work experience count toward a degree?
One of the great benefits of the RBA program is that knowledge gained from your work and life experience may count toward college credit. If you’re interested in earning credit for your career experience, contact Dave (our RBA Coordinator) about the portfolio submission process or see the Regents Bachelor of Arts Portfolio section of this page.

Can I get college credit for my Military Service?
Yes. Credit will be given for documented military training which has been assessed by the American Council on Education. There is no fee for posting military credit. Students must supply the appropriate official military transcripts.

I’ve attended college before, but didn’t earn a degree. Can I count the credits I earned the first time toward my RBA?
Yes! You may be able to count credits you’ve already earned toward your RBA degree, even if you’ve been out of school for a long time. Our RBA Coordinator can help you sort out which prior college experiences count for credit. For more information, review the  Academics portion of this page.

Will I have an academic advisor who is knowledgeable about the RBA program? 
Absolutely! Our RBA Coordinator will assist you with all of your RBA program questions and needs.

I’m an adult learner and I’m interested in a different degree. Maybe mechanical engineering, criminal justice or accounting. Can I apply to one of those programs?
Not a problem. The RBA program is built with adult learners in mind, but students of any age are welcome to apply for any one of our more than 40 academic programs.

Note: While the RBA program awards credit for professional or life learning, traditional four-year programs do not. Contact our Admissions Office for more details.

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ADMISSIONS

How do I apply for admission to the RBA program?
You must complete the WVU application and list RBA as your major (the RBA major code is 024T). Visit our Admissions page to find out more or apply today.

What happens if I take a break from classes for a few semesters? Do I have to re-apply to WVU Tech to continue in the RBA program?
Yes. If you are inactive for a semester, you must complete the admissions process again. Our RBA Coordinator will work with you to ensure that you’re taking the right courses and will help you set a pace you can handle.

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ACADEMICS

What are the requirements for a WVU Tech RBA degree? 
You can see degree requirements here. For questions about requirements, contact us.

Can I go on to graduate or professional school with an RBA degree? 
Yes! RBA graduates go on to professional schools, law school and a variety of graduate programs.

Students planning to seek graduate or professional school admission should consult with WVU Tech’s RBA staff and directly with the graduate or professional programs they’re considering to find out which courses will meet the admission requirements for these programs.

Do I have to take a foreign language? 
Nope. There’s no foreign language requirement.

Do I have to take the “24 hours of residency” credits at WVU Tech? 
Not entirely. At least three credit hours must be taken from a course offered by WVU Tech, but the rest of your residency credits may be taken at any one or more of the public higher education institutions in West Virginia.

Do I have to take the courses required for Residency on campus? 
Not at all. WVU Tech courses come in a variety of delivery formats, including online classes.

Can I meet the Residency requirement with college-equivalent-credit? 
Unfortunately, no. Residency hours must be earned by taking traditional courses. Likewise, you cannot use CLEP tests, other tests or credit-by-exam to meet the residency requirement.

Can the same courses I take to satisfy the Residency requirement satisfy the General Education or Upper Division requirements as well? 
Yes! Some courses may even meet all three requirements at once (but they only count once toward the 120 hours needed for graduation).

What exactly are upper-division credits?
Upper-division credits are earned for coursework that is considered to be of a junior or senior level at a four-year institution. At WVU Tech, upper-division courses are those numbered in the 300s and 400s. Coursework completed at a community college is always considered lower division.

Do I have to take traditional courses to satisfy the General Education and Upper Division requirements?
You can satisfy the General Education and Upper Division requirements by passing CLEP, Dantes or AP exams. If you pass with the right scores, you’ll earn college-equivalent-credit from WVU Tech.

I never finished high school, and would like to get an RBA Degree. What do I have to do? 
You’ll need to earn what’s known as a high school diploma equivalent to be admitted to WVU Tech without a high school diploma. The General Education Development (GED) certificate is the most common, and is accepted here. In West Virginia, the GED has been replaced by the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

GED scores must be sent directly to the WVU Tech Admissions Office from the testing center, the West Virginia Department of Education or the county superintendent of schools – not to you first.

If I earned a GED or TASC credential recently, do I still have to wait four years to be admitted to the RBA program? 
This really depends on your individual situation. You’re eligible for admission at least four years after your class graduated from high school, regardless of when you earn a high school diploma equivalent certificate.

Some of my college credits are pretty old and are from different schools. Can these credits be used in this program? 
Yes, for the most part. Credit earned at regionally-accredited colleges and universities is generally transferable. Courses taken through the U.S. Armed Forces, business, industry and hospital schools may be acceptable if recommended by the American Council on Education. Contact us, and we’ll help you sort out what can and cannot transfer.

What if my GPA is below 2.0? 
We can work with that. The RBA program allows failing grades that were earned more than four years ago to be excluded from your GPA calculation, which means they won’t count against you during the application process. (Note: those failing grades will still remain on your transcript.)

Can I complete an RBA degree without taking courses on the WVU Tech campus?
It’s possible. WVU Tech offers courses online, and RBA students can take courses as a transient student at other accredited institutions – you can find a transient student form  here. Completing RBA program requirements without coming to campus is possible, depending on where you live and/or the number of credits you’ve earned before you begin the program.

Will my Associate degree credits transfer to WVU Tech for the RBA Program? 
Yes! Associate degree credits usually transfer. However, if you do happen to switch from RBA to another WVU Tech program, your credits may not apply to the new degree or they may be applied in different ways.

Is there any limit on the amount of credit I can transfer from other institutions? 
Not at all. WVU Tech has no limits in terms of community college credits as long as the institution your credits are transferring from is accredited.

Can I transfer in “D” grades from other institutions? 
Yes you can.

Are there credits from other institutions that will not transfer? 
Developmental courses (those typically numbered less than 100) do not transfer. Aside from that, almost all satisfactorily completed coursework taken at accredited higher education institutions is transferable.

Do CLEP test out credits work in the RBA program? 
Yep. You’ll need to submit an official document from CLEP to the WVU Tech Registrar.

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COST/FINANCIAL AID

How much will the RBA degree program cost? 
That depends on a few factors, including the financial aid you qualify for, the amount of classes you’ll need to take and fees associated with online classes or labs. However, the RBA program at WVU Tech is very affordable. Web courses have a separate fee structure, so you should contact us for more information on the tuition for these courses.

An RBA degree is within you reach, and WVU Tech is an affordable option for pursuing your education. What’s more, a degree from WVU Tech offers the biggest return on your educational investment in the state. 

Is financial aid available?
Yes. You may be eligible for financial aid from federal and state government, as well as institutional aid from WVU Tech. Visit our Financial Aid website to find out more. For federal assistance and many other aid opportunities, you’ll need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

TIP: If you’re employed, check with your company’s human resources department. Companies and government agencies may offer tuition assistance.

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AREAS OF EMPHASIS

What is an Area of Emphasis (AOE)?
AOEs allow RBA students to study a specific area of interest. They include areas like creative arts, health care services, cultural studies, sciences and business.

There is no limit to the number of AOEs that a student can take. A complete list of available AOEs and their course requirements is available online. Courses to be counted toward an AOE must be graded courses and require a grade of C or better.

Can I ever substitute a different course for one specified by the department offering the AOE? 
Yes, but only after you receive written permission from the department that offers the AOE. This is not guaranteed as the department may grant credit at its discretion.

Are new AOEs ever set up? 
Yes they are. WVU Tech’s many departments and the RBA program office set up new areas of emphasis in an on-going process to boost available AOEs and offer students more variety. Contact us for more information.

Can I earn more than one AOE?
Absolutely! There is no limit on the number of AOEs students may earn.

Am I required to have an AOE?
No, but students can select an AOE if they want to focus their coursework in a particular area. RBA students may also be eligible for one of our offered minors.

How is the AOE acknowledged? 
Your chosen area of emphasis will be listed on your degree.

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REGENTS BACHELOR OF THE ARTS PORTFOLIO

What’s an RBA Portfolio?
An RBA Portfolio is a written document justifying and documenting your request for college-equivalent credit.

Portfolios have four parts: 1) a request for credit for specific college courses; 2) a resume identifying your educational, professional and other relevant activities; 3) narratives demonstrating that you have “college-equivalent” knowledge and skills; and 4) documentation to support your claims of accomplishment.

Who reads the portfolios and determines whether credit is awarded? 
The RBA program will review and approve the portfolio before sending it to each department that offers the requested credits. Faculty from those departments will read the portfolio and recommend credit awards. After that, the Dean of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences will make the final approval.

How do the credits earned by creating a portfolio appear on my transcript?
They are designated as “RBA” credits and do not receive a designated grade.

Is there a limit on the amount of college-equivalent credit that can be earned?
No.

Can I see a sample portfolio? 
Absolutely. Sample portfolios are housed in the resources section of the WVU Tech library, and you may also see samples in the RBA Director’s office.

Is there a portfolio course? 
Yes. MDS 330 Regents Portfolio Design. It’s a three-hour, upper-division course that provides hands-on experience leading to a completed master portfolio.

When is the course offered? 
MDS 330 is offered as a regular course each fall semester and as an online course each spring semester. The course is offered in various formats, including a 16-week format or an 8-week compressed format. Find out more by visiting WVU Tech’s current schedule of courses.

How do I find out about Standard Awards of Credit for licenses or certifications? 
Awards of credit change over time, and Standard Awards of credit require specific documentation. Check with the RBA Coordinator to determine what’s required. There’s a $300 fee for evaluating credentials and awarding credit. Also, for each credit hour awarded, a fee of $10 is assessed.

The RBA Program also recognizes standard credit awards that are listed in the ACE (American Council on Education) Guide.

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ONLINE COURSES

What is the difference between online classes and regular classes? 
There is no difference between online classes and regular classes in terms of content quality and what you’ll learn. The classes are simply “delivered” differently, so communication takes place electronically over the internet, rather than face-to-face. You’re still going to learn, and you’re still going to take that knowledge with you into your career after graduation.

What’s the biggest advantage of taking an online course?
Convenience. You’ll be able to access the course materials at the times and places that are most convenient for you.

Does the cost differ from regular classes?
Yes. Contact us for exact tuition amounts.

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LIBRARY RESOURCES

Are library resources available to RBA students? 
Yes! The WVU Tech Library offers complete library services and WVU Tech students, including online students, have access to WVU’s full range of e-resources. That means access more than 300 comprehensive databases.

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GRADUATION

How is an RBA student certified to graduate? 
The RBA Director completes an unofficial grad check and provides this package to the WVU Tech Registrar. The Registrar completes the official grad check, certifies the student, and posts results on the student’s MIX account e-mail.

Are there graduation fees? 
Yes, there are. Check with the RBA Coordinator or the WVU Tech Registrar’s Office for specific fees.

Can I walk in the regular WVU Tech graduation ceremonies? 
Yes! You can walk in the WVU Tech May graduation ceremony or you can have your degree mailed to a specific address. Graduations occur in May, August and December, but WVU Tech’s official commencement ceremony is always in May.

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