Diploma Mills: Degrees of Deception
June 29th, 2011
If you do sign-up for a “degree” from a diploma mill, all you’ll actually get is an expensive, worthless piece of paper. And, worse, if you tell prospective employers that you have a college degree but all you really have is one of these phony certificates, you risk losing your job and, in some cases, being charged with a crime.
How You Get Duped
These diploma mills can be hard to spot. Not only are they often given names that sound just like legitimate schools, but many of them claim to be accredited. However, unlike real colleges and universities, their accreditation is from a fake agency with a fancy name. For example, diploma mill Woodfield University claims to be accredited by the Universal Accreditation Agency for Online Education (UAAOE), which called itself “a renowned accreditation agency for online education.” Truth is the UAAOE is totally made up.
Five Signs To Look Out For:
- Degrees Based on Experience Alone: Diploma mills often lure people in by promising degrees without having to study or take exams, and giving credit for life experience.
- No Attendance Necessary: Diploma mills usually tell you that you don’t even have to go to class.
- Flat Fee Degree: Many diploma mills charge on a per-degree basis, unlike legitimate schools, which typically charge by the semester or course.
- Quick Delivery: Diploma mills usually promise a degree in a matter of days, weeks, or months.
- Aggressive Sales Tactics: Unlike truly accredited colleges, which don’t use pop-up ads, spam, or telemarketing to advertise themselves, some diploma mills can get aggressive in the ad world.
A certification process and quality assurance method that’s designed to distinguish schools that comply with a set of educational standards. But not all accreditation agencies are created equal. Many are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as being reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions they accredit. Those are the ones you want to see when you’re evaluating a school. Others are unrecognized and some are completely made up, and scam artists will claim their school is accredited by such organizations to make it seem like their institution is legitimate and well-respected when, in reality, it’s a sham.
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