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How to Avoid Diploma Mills

According to Webster’s dictionary, a diploma mill is defined as an, “institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards worthless”. This 10 step article will help you when choosing an online school.

The following are a few tips on avoiding diploma mills:

  1. Be wary of schools that advertise earning an online degree in less time than at accredited institutions. For example, a school advertising that students can earn a bachelors degree in mere months is suspect.
  2. Diploma mills offer credit for life experiences; note that offering credit for intern or a co-op is valid.
  3. The school has no accreditation or has bogus accreditation. Check an online university’s accreditation in the directory. You can also look up accreditation agencies on the U.S. Department of Education’s or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s websites. Only the agencies listed on these sites are considered valid.
  4. Tuition is paid based on degree. For instance, a flat price is offered for a B.S. Legitimate universities will charge per credit hour, semester, or class.
  5. The address of the school is P.O. box number or a suite.
  6. The name of the school sounds similar to existing institutions.
  7. Little or no work is required to earn a degree. Look at the requirements for graduation; if earning a degree seems too easy, the school is most likely a diploma mill.
  8. There is almost no or very little interaction with professors.
  9. Does the school not provide a list of its faculty?
  10. Look for extremes in price. Is the price for the school significantly higher than normal? Are the fees noticeably lower than other schools?