Diploma mills are universities who sell pieces of paper called diplomas that are worthless. The online degree mean nothing. The so called schools prey on people’s lack of knowledge and confusion about accreditation.
One favorite trick that works time and again for diploma mills that offer these bogus programs is to advertise as being “nationally accredited” or “accredited worldwide.” The trick here is that are indeed “accredited” — but by unrecognized agencies — bogus accrediting agencies that they themselves have created.
You Can Protect Yourself
If you’re considering an online university, ask the following questions before you enroll:
1. Are Your Accredited?
2. If So, By Whom?
Is the accrediting agency a recognized agency? Accreditation by an unrecognized agency is a common ploy used by online diploma mills. In the United States, the Council for Higher Education is the agency that oversees legitimate accrediting agencies. CHEA maintains a directory of recognized accrediting agencies online, http://www.chea.org.
3. Understand the Type of Accreditation You Need
Attend only those online colleges that hold the type of accreditation you need to advance.
4. Verify Accreditation
Some degree mills lie about their accreditation status. Take the time to verify all accreditation information. Check with CHEA or check the official printed guide to such matters: The American Council on Education’s “Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education.” This guide can be found in most college libraries.
Locating Online Colleges through Search Engines
Your chosen online university appears as a top listing at your favorite search engine. It seems to appear on every portal’s educational page. It has to be a real university, right?
A top search engine listing is not an indicator of authenticity or academic quality. A top search engine listing is an indicator of heavy spending on online advertising. At some search sites the majority of online college listings are held by unaccredited or bogus colleges.
Anyone can create a bogus college Web site and submit the resulting URL to a search engine. Search engines do not inspect online colleges to determine their accreditation status or academic validity.
Search engines and most online educational portals accept college listings without checking on accreditation status or academic integrity. Diploma mills and fake colleges advertise heavily on the Internet. Protect yourself by taking the time to verify the accreditation status of all online universities.