My school has been wanting me to become part of their grant writing team since I was hired over a year ago. Through many different choices, it was decided that I would pursue AGWA and CGW certification because of the ease of a self-paced class. Thank goodness we got the CGW program at a sale price since it was a terrible experience all around. But we are also going to fight for a refund. My only highlight was my instructor who answered my questions, but all the meaningless tasks to "practice" grant writing skills were pointless.
The reading assignments had no organization to them and were often formatted terribly. For an organization who stresses the use of Sans Serif fonts for writing grant proposals, their readings and assignments were often in a variety of fonts and sizes with varying margins. Often the reading assignments were simply to help you complete the following assignment especially in the later readings. My assignments that I submitted were often "lost" amongst trails of emails. There were typos all throughout everything I received including emails, the website, the readings, assignments, the exam review, and even the exam itself. I attached two photos as an example of the final exam.
Homework assignments were often simply copy and paste numbers from the assignment page into excel spreadsheets and word documents. All homework seemed like rote tasks without much thinking or processing.
The refund policy for this program is way too quick for anyone who really needs one. A student has a week from date of purchase to request a refund. However, it took 48 hours for me to even receive my course materials after purchase. Since each lesson is not released to the student until the previous is completed, a student cannot look at the entire course to see if it fits their needs. By the time the allowed week was up, I had barely gotten through the first lesson.
In the final exam of the course, there are 5 sections. Each is allotted a time limit. However, the questions frequently had typos, and often the terminology that was used throughout the course was not the same as the test questions. There were also topics in the test questions that were never covered in the course.
Upon completion of the coursework, I was told to email the customer service to let them know I was ready for the review and completion certificate. I got the instructions for the review in another email with typos, and no link to the actual review. After waiting for five days, I emailed again to try to get the review. I also had to re-email customer service to get my course completion certificate which arrived via email as a Word document that I could have created in less than 10 minutes. There is also no mention on the certificate for the number of hours of the course, so I can't use it for Continuing Education credits.
When asked by my employers how I would feel today about writing a grant proposal, I said that I felt like I was only 10 percent confident in my skills which is not far from where I started! This program is terrible. I would not recommend this to anyone. Ever.
I would absolutely NOT recommend this organization. Not only were the instructors and Executive Director rude and condescending, the course material was out of date and incorrect. The instructors don't answer your questions, instead they say things like "I'm shocked you don't understand this." How is this helpful and educational? In fact, the actual exam was incorrect. There were multiple questions where the correct answer was not an option. I reached out to the Director who told me that the correct answer was there. What he didn't know was that I was looking at the question while on the phone with him and in fact, the correct answer was NOT there. Do not waste your time and money on these rude and condescending people.
I won't outright say that this organization is a scam.
It does seem to be rather shoddily ran.
After submitting my first assignment, I received no notification. A week later, when I asked, they asked me to resubmit it. They then didn't send my second assignment until I asked them about it, with no explanation. The e-Mails back were short and obscure. Since this is a time sensitive course (you are given 90 days), a delay of one to two weeks, with no explanation given, in giving assignments, is quite detrimental.
This course was actually recommended to me, and paid for, by a family member. So after my negative experience, I went and checked the website, seeing if there was something that I was missing.
This was my first exposure to the website, which is full of typos, bad formatting, and generally bad design. In some cases, we shouldn't "judge a book by its cover", but with an organization that is based a presentation-heavy field, like grant writing, having a bad website is a pretty negative sign right off the bat. Although the organization claims to be prominent, there is no biography listed for the staff or board, and no alumni recommendations.
I gave this two stars, instead of one star, because there is a chance that they are trying their best, and I was just one of the people who didn't get much out of it. Maybe some people do benefit from it. But to me, it was very negative.
The professor is very condescending and rude. At 58 and previously certified, i have gotten million dollar grants but here made to feel incompetent Printouts given and not a book to refer to samples of what they want. Have to guess. Put in many long hours outside of my professional career and it is too stressful just to receive certification from this company. I doubt they have lots of graduates. If so, they should post them like they did 10 years ago.
The American Grant Writers Association (AGWA) is a member based 501c6 that provides Grant Writing and Grant Management training to hundreds of gratified students each year. AGWA provides the opportunity to earn the "Certified Grant Writer®" designation. AGWA does not write grant proposals for any client; our members write grant proposals.
This is an ethical and honest organization. Great service and great prices.
We were able to receive our grant award to help grow our non-profit.
I took an online course in grant writing through this company, and it was awful. The course materials contained many typos, and, to complete the homework assignments, I had to follow links to webpages in pursuit of information, yet the pages had changed since the assignments had been created. Instead of offering what the homework assignment expected, the online information was different or located on other pages that I was forced to seek through a search of a very extensive, multi-layered website. I spent many extra hours of time stressing over it and feeling confused, wondering what I was doing wrong. When I finally realized that the homework itself was the problem, I contacted the professor to request an updated assignment and to express my disappointment in having spent so many wasted hours on the endeavor. He denied that there was a problem and seemed offended and even a little rude. Then I contacted the company who said they knew there was an issue with my course and that they were updating the first assignment and getting ready to send it to the students who had been impacted. Apparently, they weren't going to alert anyone but simply let them struggle in the mean-time. I also explained that the professor had been a little rude to me, but the woman on the phone didn't offer any sort of apology, nor did she apologize for the inconvenience that I had incurred over the non-revised homework assignment, despite that I had a full-time job and had wasted my spare time in a wild goose chase for elusive information. In fact, one homework assignment directed me to download a certain document from a website, and, if I couldn't download it, I was supposed to follow the directions for troubleshooting the technical difficulties. Of course, I couldn't download the document, so I spent many, many hours troubleshooting, only to learn that the website itself had an issue and that my computer was absolutely fine. AGWA hadn't bothered to check the page before sending the homework, yet, when I called to explain what had happened (so they could prevent other students from having the same experience), the woman on the phone already knew about it. Again, no apology and no warning. Imagine my frustration.
Another weakness of the course was that the homework questions often required nothing more than a simple copying and pasting of information (verbatim) from class notes that had been distributed, so unless a student is highly self-motivated, it would be easy for someone to copy information without learning much. For people whose workplaces might need them to take this course (or who might be paying for it), that seems problematic to me.
There were many other issues as well that I won't mention, but I will say that the course was a source of stress for me and that I had some difficulties with the professor until I had to grovel to him for reasonable grading. I was an A student in school, so I would never have produced anything through less than my best effort. I will say, though, that when I pleaded my case and showed that I was open to feedback and a critical review of my work, the professor was willing to work with me in a reasonable way, which gained my respect. It was upsetting, though, to be initially told to completely rewrite a paper for what I interpreted to be ridiculous reasons.
Then when I didn't receive my certificate for completing the course, I called AGWA, and the same woman from previous conversations indicated that they had sent it to another address. When I provided the correct the address, the woman said that she would have to charge me for sending a duplicate certificate. Whether or not the mistake was mine or theirs, considering how bad my experience had been and how many errors they had made in the assignments, I should never have been charged for a duplicate. This was terrible customer service and a sure way to damage their reputation and alienate potential repeat-customers. The woman was actually a little rude to me on the phone, saying that it was my fault that the certificate went to the wrong place (instead of just saying, "It's a shame that something went wrong, but I would be happy to help make it right).
I would not recommend this course or company for grant writing instruction.
Paid $2000 for services that were not rendered and an end product that was misspelled, and poorly constructed. This company is a scam and they should be ashamed of themselves.