How to Spot a Fake Diploma
May 4, 2012 | in Background Check
Student Clearinghouse www.studentclearinghouse.org
Prior to the student clearinghouse simply calling the registrars office and faxing a release would be sufficient to verify an applicant’s degree or attendance.
By calling the registrar’s office they may direct you to the automated service. Now a significant number of colleges use the Student Clearinghouse for these verifications.
Establish an account with the service if you conduct this type of verification. For a list of participating institutions see their website.
It is estimated 90% of all schools will be using this service within the next year.
Name and a Credit Card? How would you like a college degree?
How to detect a fraudulent degree
Educational fraud and resume fraud has increased in the last several years. Applicants are purchasing diplomas on the internet from diploma mills at alarming rates.
Here are some quick tips to spot a fraudulent degree:
Online schools, also known as distance learning programs, can be a great way to get a college education because of their flexibility.
However, students can learn an expensive lesson if they sign up with the wrong online school. Some online “schools”, known as diploma mills,
provide a degree for something called “life experience” as the main criteria for their academic achievements.
While certainly important life experience” should not be equivalent to 120 college credit hours of study for a bachelorette degree.
What is a diploma mill?
*A diploma mill is an online or distance education school that charges a fee to the student and in return the student is issued a paper degree.
Some diploma mills do provide academic courses but have very low standards for their students and provide minimal educational value.
We have witnessed some mills just requiring a name and a credit card for a degree. Common Question: What differentiates a diploma mill from a legitimate school?
One word: ACCREDITATION
In the US a major difference will be that a diploma mill school will not be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council
for Higher Education Accreditation while almost all legitimate schools will be. Since accreditation means that the school has been evaluated by a recognized accreditation
agency and has met the agency’s quality standards, employers and other schools can be assured that the student has received a quality education.
Students with a degree from a school without accreditation might not be considered for jobs or graduate school and might not be allowed to transfer credits to another school. Additionally,
a school cannot offer federal or state financial aid if it is not accredited. Learn more about accreditation by reading a relevant article:
“College Accreditation: What It Is And Why It Is Important”.
How else can diploma mills be identified?
By validating a school’s accreditation, a person can be sure the school is not a diploma mill. It cannot be assumed that a school is legitimately
accredited because they have an official-sounding accreditation agency listed on their website. The U.S. Department of Education’s database and the Council
for Higher Education Accreditation database, which list all legitimately accredited schools, should be checked.
By validating a school’s accreditation, a person can be sure the school is not a diploma mill. It cannot be assumed that a school is legitimately accredited because they have an
official-sounding accreditation agency listed on their website.
The U.S. Department of Education’s database and the
Council for Higher Education Accreditation database, which list all legitimately accredited schools.
Tips for Detecting Diploma Mills
- Accreditation is not recognized – US schools claiming accreditation from agencies that are not recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council
for Higher Education should be viewed with a high level of suspicion for being a diploma mill.
- Dates on applicants’ resume do not coincide with attendance- Check the date ranges to verify attendance.
- Famous or similar sounding names… – A school with a name that is similar to an actual, well-known institution can be a clue that the school is a diploma mill.
- Don’t assume “.edu” means the school is legitimate – Although only accredited schools are able to obtain an “.edu” website now,
there are still some diploma mill websites that obtained one before this limitation went into effect.
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