I will be very blunt. School choice matters just as much as major choice. They both will make a difference. Better schools will provide your fiance with a better education and give him a better network when he is looking for jobs after graduation. Likewise, in-demand majors are going to be better while job hunting. But I will say that too many people overlook the fact that school choice matters and a better school will give you more opportunities down the line.
Now that I’ve said that… I really hope you’re not looking at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) because I have heard from people making hiring decisions that their reputation with employers is not respected and they’re known as an “online school” in a bad way. I know they’re affordable, but I would advise you to stay away. (for other people who looked into this school, look at this thread: http://www.militarysos.com/forum/school-work/581989-umuc-credibility.html )
What you want is a well-known brick and mortar school with a good reputation that offers an online program, no employer wonders if his school is reputable or questions him about his school. You want to look for a well-known state university that offers an online program, rather than a university that is mostly known for its online programs (even if it has a brick and mortar campus).
If someone might check whether or not your school is reputable or accredited, you don’t want to go there. You want a degree from the distance learning branch of a traditional school that is mostly known for it’s brick and mortar programs…not a school that is mostly known for its online programs. For example, you want University of [Name of State] or [Name of State] State University.
UMUC is mostly known for its online programs, not its brick and mortar programs and is not a traditional school. UMUC may be affiliated with UMD but it is not THE University of Maryland. From what I heard when I was looking into online schools myself, and UMUC’s reputation isn’t good with hiring managers and I would recommend your fiance go elsewhere. Sure, it might cost more money to go somwehere else, but if it helps him get a better job then it will be worth it. Like I said before, school name and the network that is accessible to him does matter in the job search.
The fact of the matter is that employers and HR departments discriminate against people who complete their degrees online. You’re not going to change that, so figure out how to work the system.
The best thing for him would be to attend the University of Maryland–College Park. It would be better for him to attend a brick and mortar program if that was at all possible. This would better his education by allowing him to make connections more easily with professors, and it would also allow him to finish his program faster if he was going to school full-time. Could you support him while he does that?
If you’re set on online programs, getting a degree from a state school with a respectable, prominent, well-known brick and mortar campus is the crucial first step.
I would recommend looking into these schools:
I know you’re out of state for these schools, but they have much better reputations than UMUC.
I also think that getting a degree in Advertising/PR/Communications is a waste of money. I understand your fiance would love to manage the NASCAR social media accounts, but let’s be real… that’s not going to happen. Liberal arts majors generally do not pay off as well as harder science majors (which btw tend to require a greater time investment while in school).
He needs to do a lot of research and find a useful degree that will actually get him a job at the end, otherwise it’s a complete waste of money for him to go to school. This is a huge investment and I 100% think he should go for it and earn his bachelor’s, but it sounds like you guys haven’t done enough research into what kind of online programs have the best reputations or what kind of majors actually pay off (engineering, computer science, accounting, nursing, etc.).
Additionally, I strongly suggest that whatever major your fiance chooses, he takes some time to do a couple of internships. Internships are so important to actually getting jobs these days. If he’s not willing or cannot take time off to do multiple internships, definitely DO NOT have him do an advertising/communications/PR major. For better or worse, advertising/PR/communications (and other liberal arts degrees) are basically worthless without internships.
Maybe if he did a computer-based degree like computer science, he could find a part time internship that he could work on remotely?