FAQ FCS Education

Return to the Family & Consumer Sciences Education program webpage.

Visit our FAQs about Great Plains IDEA webpage to see a comprehensive list of questions we hear most often from prospective and current students.

  • What does this program cost?

    Students pay the Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour at all universities, regardless of whether in-state or out-of-state.

    Visit our Cost webpage to learn more about the common price and find resources for financial aid and scholarships.

  • Is financial aid available?

    It depends. In most cases, students must be enrolled in at least four credits to be eligible for a partial scholarship, although some institutions are piloting projects aimed at providing financial aid for distance education students. Graduate assistantships are usually awarded to on-campus students because such assistantships require involvement in teaching on-campus classes or assisting a professor with on-campus research.

    Visit the Cost webpage to learn more about how much the program costs and how to get help paying for your program.

  • I have a lot of family and cultural obligations at specific times of the day. Will this be a problem as I move through the program?

    Most courses can be completed at any time of day, so you can work around your schedule. 

    If you are in option A (seeking initial teacher certification), the program does require the completion of a student teaching experience which typically involves being physically at a school for the entire school day for approximately a semester.  The two practicum experiences also require being at a school, but for shorter lengths of time (typically 40 hours per practicum but this varies by university).

  • What is the employment outlook for FCS teachers?

    Excellent!  Fifty percent of states report that a shortage of highly qualified FCS secondary teachers is a concern.

    Learn more about careers in FCS Education through the National Partnership to Recruit, Prepare, and Support Human Sciences/FCS Educators.

  • How do I know if Option A or Option B is right for me?
  • Will I be able to get to know my instructors? Other students?

    Yes. There will be many online asynchronous class chats and discussions so that you can get to know your instructors and the other students.  In some courses, you may have the opportunity for synchronous interaction as well. 

  • If I’m taking courses from all different university instructors, how will my transcript look?

    The courses listed on your transcript will only include course numbers and the course titles from your home university.

    Your campus coordinator oversees the process of helping you get enrolled in the right courses, and ensuring grades are shared with the home university at the end of each semester.

  • Is this program accredited?

    Yes.  All of the universities in the FCS Education program are accredited and the program's curriculum has been reviewed at all of those universities.  Your degree will come from your home university, which is an accredited university.  Great Plains IDEA does not grant the degrees.

  • Who do I talk to about teacher certification?

    Start with your home university academic advisor.  They can help you get in touch with the right office in the state where you would like to become certified. There may be tests or additional coursework you need to take in order to be certified.  

    Another great resource is the Educator Licensure Directory on the FCS Educators website.  You can search for certification requirements based on state.

  • How does an inter-institutional program work?

    Great Plains IDEA students apply and are admitted to one university, which becomes your home university.  You enroll and pay tuition at your home university; however, courses are taught fully online by faculty from each of the partner universities.  Each university uses their own learning management system (LMS) to deliver online course content, and students use the LMS to complete coursework.  There is no need to request a transcript from the teaching universities.  At the end of each semester, grades are reported to the home university.  When you complete the program, the degree is awarded by your home university.

    Watch this video to learn more about how Great Plains IDEA works.

  • Do the faculty members at the participating universities know each other well?

    Yes. They are on curriculum teams with one another and meet regularly.

  • Who do I contact for information at each of the partner universities?

    A list of campus coordinators and faculty in the FCS Education program can be found on the program webpage.

    • Each university has a campus coordinator who is the main Great Plains IDEA contact to assist you through our processes.  This is who you contact if you have questions about the enrollment process or student services.
    • Faculty at each university can answer questions about the curriculum, state certification, job placement, and what it takes to be admitted to the program.  

    Visit the FCS Education webpage.

  • What if I decide to drop a course after I start the program?

    You can always drop courses, as long as the dates coincide with your university’s schedule for drop dates. However, dropping a course does not ensure tuition reimbursement. You need to check the tuition adjustment schedule at your home institution.   There may also be a penalty if you drop to zero credits.

    To drop a course, notify all of the following:

    • Your home university campus coordinator
    • The teaching university campus coordinator
    • The course instructor

    Refunds are based on policies of your home university.  View a list of all campus coordinators.

  • Can I take courses without formally applying to the program?

    At most institutions, you can take up to nine credits as a non-degree seeking student and then formally apply. If you want to test out the program before you apply, this is a good option for you.

    University policies may differ, so ask the campus coordinator at your home university.

  • What if a family emergency arises, and I need to take a few weeks off, but I don’t want to drop the course?

    Contact your professor immediately to let them know you will be absent from class, and work with him or her to find a way to make up the work. Professors understand that family issues come up, and they are more than willing to work with you to make the course a success.

  • Will I have to physically come to campus from time to time?

    No. That is the beauty of this program—anytime, anywhere learning.  It's convenient and flexible for working adults who have family and community obligations.

  • Can I transfer courses from another university into this program?

    Each university will have procedures which govern the transferability of courses taken for graduate credit from another program or university.  Grades of “B” or better must be achieved by the student in the courses considered for transfer.

  • What additional courses would I need to become certified to teach FCS?

    Depending on your previous degree and your state requirements, you probably will need to take some additional subject area courses.  Some examples may be nutrition, family finance, or child development. 

    1. Talk with your board of education in the state where you would like to become certified to find out what subject area courses are required.
    2. Then talk with your home university academic advisor to make a plan for taking these courses.
  • Can I access all modules for a course at once?

    It will depend on the course.  In many courses, materials are made available on a weekly basis.  This helps increase student interaction in discussion boards and other collaborative assignments as everyone is moving at the same pace.  Some larger assignments may be available to work on throughout the semester.  Sometimes instructors post all course materials at once but request that you focus on certain modules each week.