If you’re thinking about signing up for an online degree program there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to earn a degree online so you don’t get caught up in one of the scams or diploma mills instead of one of the legitimate online degree programs whether you want a bachelor’s degree, masters degree, doctorate, associate or undergraduate degree, business, nursing, education or psychology degree or any other.
First of all what is a degree mill? A degree mill is a bogus college or university that sells college or university diplomas. It’s actually selling you just a piece of paper, not a document that verifies your educational experience form an accredited institution.
Getting a college or university degree is one of the most expensive items people acquire in their lifetime. Many jobs or careers require a college degree. Because of this the demand is high for college degrees and there are businesses that make big business out of selling these diplomas, especially on the Internet.
How can you tell if the college or online college is bogus, a scam or phony?
First make sure the online college or university is accredited. This is one of the easiest things to check. If the college or university is accredited you still need to check and make sure it’s accredited by an agency that is recognized by the CHEA (Council of Higher Education Accreditation.)
You’ll find that the majority of the online diploma mills are accredited. The chilling fact is that when you check the accreditation they seem legitimate enough. It appears they are accredited. However the startling fact is they have created these bogus agencies themselves. The names of the agencies can sound like they are legitimate and most people would assume that accreditation means just that. But this is not so.
The first thing to do is to contact the CHEA and find out if the accrediting agency is listed on their accreditation list of college and university accrediting agencies, both on campus and online. You will also need to do this for any online degree program or online degree course you’re considering.
If the admission criteria is based solely on owning a credit card or of previous academic records transcripts or GPA’s and test scores aren’t necessary for the online degree than be suspicious.
If you only need to fax a resume and acceptance is based on a review of it, be suspicious.
Many universities offer credit for career experience, but evaluating career experience for college credit is not a simple matter.
There isn’t a university online degree program or distance learning university in the US that awards a master’s degree or doctorate online that is based solely on a review of career experience. But there are some undergraduate programs that will do it. They will usually limit the credit for experience to a maximum of ten courses or about 30 semester credits, which amounts to about one year of a four-year degree.
If you’re guaranteed a diploma within 30 days of application beware of a scam. Since degree mills are only in business to sell you a piece of paper they can make all the guarantees and promises they want.
Beware if it charges a lump sum such as $2,500 for an undergraduate degree or perhaps $3,500 for a graduate degree. Universities do not charge flat fees for degrees. Colleges and universities charge per the credit or per the course tuition and assorted fees.
Check with the online Better Business Bureau. See if they have any complaints on file about online degree mills or online degree program or courses and particularly any one that you have in mind.
If you’re told by the diploma mill representative that online universities can’t be accredited by the CHEA recognized agencies, this is not true. Many accredited universities have online degree programs.
Find out if the online degree program has a list of faculty who have attended schools other than those listed on bogus accredited agencies.
Beware if the online degrees are offered from another country but solely to US residents.
Armed with this knowledge you should be able to easily determine whether the online degree school or distant learning program is a diploma mill, scam or not. Be careful. Many do a lot of advertising and sound and look credible. Find out the name of the accreditation agency is and check them out. Taking the time to do this can save you a lot of money, time and energy later.