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DISPONIBILI
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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. Academic degree
  2. Academics
  3. Academy
  4. Accreditation mill
  5. Adult education
  6. Advanced Distributed Learning
  7. Alternative education
  8. Alternative school
  9. Apprenticeship
  10. Assessment
  11. Associate's degree
  12. Autodidacticism
  13. Bachelor's degree
  14. Boarding schools
  15. Bologna process
  16. British undergraduate degree classification
  17. Bullying
  18. Charter schools
  19. City academy
  20. Classical education
  21. Classroom
  22. Collaborative learning
  23. Community college
  24. Comparative education
  25. Compulsory education
  26. Computer-assisted language learning
  27. Computer based training
  28. Core curriculum
  29. Course evaluation
  30. Curriculum
  31. Degrees of the University of Oxford
  32. Department for Education and Skills
  33. Description of a Career
  34. Diploma mill
  35. Distance education
  36. Doctorate
  37. Dottorato di ricerca
  38. Double degree
  39. Dual education system
  40. Edublog
  41. Education
  42. Educational philosophies
  43. Educational psychology
  44. Educational technology
  45. Education in England
  46. Education in Finland
  47. Education in France
  48. Education in Germany
  49. Education in Italy
  50. Education in Scotland
  51. Education in the People%27s Republic of China
  52. Education in the Republic of Ireland
  53. Education in the United States
  54. Education in Wales
  55. Education reform
  56. E-learning
  57. E-learning glossary
  58. ELML
  59. Engineer's degree
  60. Essay
  61. Evaluation
  62. Examination
  63. External degree
  64. Extracurricular activity
  65. Feeder school
  66. First School
  67. Free school
  68. GCSE
  69. Gifted education
  70. Glossary of education-related terms
  71. Grade
  72. Graduate student
  73. Gymnasium
  74. Habilitation
  75. Hidden curriculum
  76. History of education
  77. History of virtual learning environments
  78. Homeschooling
  79. Homework
  80. Honorary degree
  81. Independent school
  82. Instructional design
  83. Instructional technology
  84. Instructional theory
  85. International Baccalaureate
  86. K-12
  87. Key Stage 3
  88. Laurea
  89. Learning
  90. Learning by teaching
  91. Learning content management system
  92. Learning management system
  93. Learning object metadata
  94. Learning Objects
  95. Learning theory
  96. Lesson
  97. Lesson plan
  98. Liberal arts
  99. Liberal arts college
  100. Liceo scientifico
  101. List of education topics
  102. List of recognized accreditation associations of higher learning
  103. List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
  104. Magnet school
  105. Maria Montessori
  106. Masters degree
  107. Medical education
  108. Mickey Mouse degrees
  109. Microlearning
  110. M-learning
  111. Montessori method
  112. National Curriculum
  113. Networked learning
  114. One-room school
  115. Online deliberation
  116. Online MBA Programs
  117. Online tutoring
  118. Open classroom
  119. OpenCourseWare
  120. Over-education
  121. Preschool
  122. Primary education
  123. Private school
  124. Problem-based learning
  125. Professor
  126. Public education
  127. Public schools
  128. Questionnaire
  129. School
  130. School accreditation
  131. School bus
  132. School choice
  133. School district
  134. School governor
  135. School health services
  136. Schools Interoperability Framework
  137. SCORM
  138. Secondary school
  139. Senior high school
  140. Sixth Form
  141. Snow day
  142. Special education
  143. Specialist degree
  144. State schools
  145. Student voice
  146. Study guide
  147. Syllabus
  148. Teacher
  149. Teaching method
  150. Technology Integration
  151. Tertiary education
  152. The Hidden Curriculum
  153. Traditional education
  154. Undergraduate
  155. University
  156. Unschooling
  157. Videobooks
  158. Virtual Campus
  159. Virtual learning environment
  160. Virtual school
  161. Vocational education
  162. Vocational school
  163. Vocational university

 

 
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THE BOOK OF EDUCATION
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma_mill

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Diploma mill

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

A diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with very little or no academic study, and without recognition by official accrediting bodies. These degrees are often awarded based on life experience. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines a diploma mill 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."[1] Such organizations are unaccredited, but they often claim accreditation by non-recognized/unapproved organizations set up for the purposes of providing a veneer of authenticity.

Common attributes of diploma mills

Diploma mills are usually named to sound confusingly similar to those of prestigious, accredited academic institutions. Despite the fact that trademark law is intended to prevent this situation, diploma mills manage to survive by avoiding legal recourse. In their marketing and advertising campaigns, the mills will often misleadingly claim to be "accredited" when, in fact, many are found to have been endorsed by "dummy" accreditation boards set up by company affiliates. In an attempt to appear more legitimate to potential students, accreditation mills based in the United States may model their Web sites after real accrediting agencies overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Some may even advertise services for transcript notation and diploma verification in order to seem more legitimate. Another typical ploy is for mills to claim to be internationally recognized by organizations such as UNESCO. UNESCO, however, does not possess the mandate to accredit or recognize institutions of higher education or their programs and diplomas.

As diploma mills are typically also "licensed" to do business, it is common practice within the industry to misuse their business license to imply government approval. The United States Department of Education lacks direct plenary authority to regulate schools and, consequently, the quality of an institution's degree. Under the terms of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the U.S. Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities on the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education that they accredit.

Compared to legitimately accredited institutions, diploma mills tend to have drastically lowered or practically non-existent requirements for academic coursework, with some even allowing their students to purchase credentials rather than earn them. Students may be required to purchase textbooks, take tests, and submit homework, but degrees are nonetheless conferred after little or no study.

Many diploma mills may claim to offer qualifications on the basis of life experience or completed coursework, but most require payment prior to issuing a diploma, degree or certificate. The mills do not evaluate academic documents or potential. Buyers use the diplomas to claim academic credentials for use in securing employment (e.g., a schoolteacher may buy a degree from a diploma mill in order to advance to superintendent). Some diploma mills claim to be based outside the country they get customers from. This is common with "offshore" jurisdictions.

Legality

Degrees and diplomas issued by diploma mills are frequently used for fraudulent purposes, such as obtaining employment, raises, or customers on false pretenses. Even if issuing or receiving a diploma mill qualification is legal, passing it off as an accredited one for personal gain is a crime in many jurisdictions. In some cases the diploma mill may itself be guilty of an offense, if it knew or ought to have known that the qualifications it issues are used for fraudulent purposes. Diploma mills could also be guilty of fraud if they mislead customers into believing that the qualifications they issue are accredited or recognised, or make false claims that they will lead to career advancement, and accept money on the basis of these claims.

Australia

In Australia, it is a criminal offence to call an institution a university, or issue university degrees, without authorization through an act of federal or state parliament. Thus, the problem is minimal in Australia.

One issue under Australian law is the use of the term “university” by many corporate training programs (for example, the McDonald’s Corporation’s Hamburger University}. Although such use of the term might be argued to be illegal, in practice it is tolerated since everyone understands that such programs are not actual universities.

India

The University Grants Commission Act 1956 explains,

"the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, or a State Act, or an Institution deemed to be University or an institution specially empowered by an Act of the Parliament to confer or grant degrees. Thus, any institution which has not been created by an enactment of Parliament or a State Legislature or has not been granted the status of a Deemed to be University, is not entitled to award a degree."[2]

South Korea

It is illegal to falsely claim a degree in South Korea if it does not meet accredited approval. For example, in March 2006 prosecutors in Seoul were reported to have "broken up a crime ring selling bogus music diplomas from Russia, which helped many land university jobs and seats in orchestras."[3] People who falsely used these degrees were criminally charged.

Germany

In Germany it is a criminal offence to call an institution a university, a Fachhochschule, or issue academic degrees, without authorization through an act of the respective states Ministry of Education. It is also a criminal offence to falsely claim a degree in Germany if it does not meet accredited approval.

Some corporate training programs in Germany use the English term "corporate university". Although such use of the term might be argued to be illegal, in practice it is tolerated since everyone understands that such programs are not actual universities.

Hong Kong

It is illegal under HK Laws Chap. 320 Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance Sec. 8 to use the word 'University' unless approved by Chief Executive in Council.

Under HK Laws. Chap 200 Crimes Ordinance, Section 73, anyone who knowingly used false documents with the intention of inducing somebody to accept it as genuine, is liable for a 14 years imprisonment term. Section 76 outlines that anyone who make or possess machines that creates false documents are also liable for 14 years jail time.

United Kingdom

In the UK it is illegal to offer something that may be mistaken to be a degree unless the awarding body is on a list maintained by the Department for Education and Skills. This is difficult to enforce on the Internet, where a site may be based abroad. However, UK Trading Standards officers have had notable success in countering a large diploma mill group based abroad that were using British place-names for its "universities".

United States of America

Diploma mills are mainly found in the U.S. jurisdictions which have not adopted tough laws to prohibit them. However, some degree mills take advantage of the constitutional division by establishing themselves as ersatz Bible colleges which can legally offer degrees in religious subjects without government regulation. Nevertheless, some religious colleges and seminaries have been fined for issuing degrees without meeting educational requirements[4]. In fact it has been noted that:

Although the DipScam operation in the 1980s led to a decline in diploma mill activity across the United States, the lack of further action by law enforcement, uneven state laws, and the rise of the Internet have combined to reverse many of the gains made in previous years.

In 2002, the Seattle Times noted in article that some believe Wyoming has "become a haven for diploma mills."[6] Conversely, "Oregon, New Jersey, and North Dakota have adopted tough laws that include fines and jail time for using fake degrees to gain employment."[7]

In 2004, a housecat named Colby Nolan was awarded an "Executive MBA" by Texas-based Trinity Southern University. The cat belonged to a deputy attorney general looking into allegations of fraud by the school. The cat's application was originally for a Bachelor of Business Administration, but due to the cat's "qualifications" (including work experience in fast-food and as a paperboy) the school offered to upgrade the degree to an Executive MBA for an additional $100. As a result of this incident, the Pennsylvania attorney general has filed suit against the school.

In February 2005, the US Department of Education launched www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation to combat the spread of fraudulent degrees.[8]

The state of Washington passed a bill in March 2006 "prohibiting false or misleading college degrees." [9] (The text is here.) The law was approved and introduced penalties of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for knowingly granting or promoting an uncredited award.

Similarly, Wyoming passed a law requiring a post-secondary institution granting degrees to Wyoming citizens to be accredited, or to be a candidate for accreditation. (There is an exemption for religious schools.) [10]

In June 2006 the "NCAA has been scrutinizing the standards of nontraditional high schools to identify 'diploma mills'."[11] Reportedly this started when "The New York Times exposed University High in Miami."[12] Currently, there are 22 schools that are under review to make sure they meet NCAA requirements.[13]

Government jobs scandals and GAO investigation

In 2004, Laura Callahan resigned from the United States Department Of Homeland Security after it was learned that she had received her doctorate from the unaccredited Hamilton University (not to be confused with the fully accredited Hamilton College in Clinton, New York). Callahan had previously been a senior director at the DHS and held supervisory positions at the United States Department of Labor and within the Bill Clinton White House. According to an article in Reason magazine, “The (Callahan) scandal raises serious doubts about the government's ability to vet the qualifications of public employees on whom the nation's security depends.”

The Callahan scandal caused a public outcry that stimulated an 11-month congressional investigation into fraudulent use of and reimbursement for non-qualifying academic degrees by government workers, the first such major inquiry since Operation Dipscam. A 2004 report [14] released by the General Accounting Office (GAO) detailed a pattern of widespread and ongoing abuse by numerous federal employees, based on information provided by three unaccredited schools that cooperated with the initial probe. The institutions, California Coast University, Kennedy-Western University, and Pacific Western University, represented a small fraction of the dozens of suspected diploma mills in existence nationwide. The particular concern addressed was that the regulations allowing Federal funding of degrees mandate that the programme must be accredited.

463 federal employees were discovered to have been enrolled in the three schools at the time of the inquiry. The Department of Defense had the highest number of enrollees, with 257 employees registered. The GAO also found that the government itself had paid at least $170,000 for questionable "coursework" by federal employees at California Coast and Kennedy-Western alone, and believed that even this amount had been significantly understated by the institutions involved.

The GAO report revealed that at least 28 senior-level employees had obtained their degrees from diploma mills or unaccredited universities, while cautioning that "this number is believed to be an understatement." The implicated officials included three unnamed National Nuclear Security Administration managers with emergency operations responsibility and top "Q level" security clearance allowing access to sensitive nuclear weapons information. In May of 2004, NNSA spokesman Brian Wilkes told reporters that "the [managers'] conditions of employment did not rest on the education that they were claiming," and that the revelations would not affect their job status.[1]

Many of the federal officials implicated in the scandal were never publicly named, and their status remains unclear. Charles Abell, the principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, was identified by the press as having obtained his master's degree from Columbus University of New Orleans, an unaccredited distance learning school. Daniel P. Matthews, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Transportation (which oversees the Transportation Security Administration) was reported to have received his $3,500 bachelor of science degree from Kent College, a diploma mill in Mandeville, Louisiana. As of 2004, both remained in their positions and continued to hold security clearances.[2]

Terrorism worries

On December 15, 2005, CNN aired a report on diploma mills and terrorism. The reported explained that "H-1B visas can be issued to anyone who is highly skilled and can get a job in the U.S. McDevitt is concerned a phony advanced degree could be the first step for someone in a terrorist sleeper cell."[15]

The report explained, the Secret Service "bought their own degree for a perfect terrorist candidate, although theirs was fictional." The person was Mohammed Syed with no formal education, but chemical training and chemical engineering with the Syrian army. "The Secret Service even added to Syed's application that he needed a degree quickly, so he could find employment and obtain an H-1B visa, allowing him to stay in the US." Furthermore, "In less than a month, the imaginary Syrian army expert was notified, James Monroe University was awarding him three advanced degrees in engineering and chemistry, all for $1,277."[16]

The Irish Times 1998 list of twelve famous diploma mills

In November 1998, The Irish Times listed with commentary the following twelve education businesses in an article entitled, A dirty dozen - 12 famous diploma mills.[3]

  1. Columbia State University, Louisiana: Shut down by the Attorney-General of Louisiana after an aggressive marketing campaign that promised degrees within 27 days. Advertised in the Economist.
  2. La Salle University, Louisiana: Claims to be restructuring itself after its founder president was jailed and the premises were raided by the FBI. The biggest institution of its kind it the US, it advertises in the Economist.
  3. Chadwick University, Alabama: The second largest institution of its kind in the US, it claims accreditation from a bogus agency; Alabama law prevents it from accepting students from Alabama. Also operates the American Institute of Computer Science. It was founded by Lloyd Clayton Jr., N.D., who also founded Clayton College of Natural Health, a non-accredited distance-learning naturopathic college based in Birmingham, Alabama.[4][5]
  4. American State University, Hawaii: Recently offered an American reporter a bachelor's degree in journalism for $1,890 and a thesis of a mere 2,000 words.
  5. American International University, Alabama.
  6. Columbus University, Louisiana.
  7. Monticello University, Kansas: Advertises in the Economist.
  8. Frederick Taylor University, California.
  9. Pacific Western University, Hawaii: Advertises in the International Herald Tribune Economist, offering to "match your position with a legal degree and transcripts." PWU was shut down for several months in 1996, and was allowed to reopen only after it cancelled its graduate programmes in education.
  10. City University Of Los Angeles, California: The name could easily lead to confusion of CULA with UCLA, the respected University of California at Los Angeles.
  11. Kennedy Western University, Hawaii.
  12. Trinity College And University, Delaware, Spain And Britain. As of February, 2007, several U.N. staffers were fired from their jobs after it was discovered they had padded their resumes with Trinity's "degrees". [17]

See also

  • Accreditation mill
  • Colby Nolan
  • .edu
  • Essay mill
  • List of unaccredited institutions of higher learning
  • List of unrecognized accreditation associations of higher learning
  • School accreditation

References

  1. ^ McGlinchey, David (2003-04-11). Nuclear agency managers among diploma mill users. GovExec.com. Retrieved on 2006-11-15.
  2. ^ Dizard, Wilson (2004-04-26). Hill sets plans for confronting diploma mill problem. Government Computer News. Retrieved on 2006-11-15.
  3. ^ The Irish Times (November 24, 1998) A dirty dozen - 12 famous diploma mills. Education & Living section.
  4. ^ Adam Jones. State’s diploma mills draw academic ire. Tuscaloosa News, Feb. 11, 2007
  5. ^ Bob Lowry. Beware of online diploma mills. Huntsville Times. Thursday, January 25, 2007
  • Levicoff, Steve Name It and Frame It? New Opportunities in Adult Education and How to Avoid Being Ripped Off by 'Christian' Degree Mills (4th ed., 1995)
  • Bear, John Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning (Ten Speed Press, 2001).
  • Sperry, Paul. Cut-Rate Diplomas: How doubts about the government's own "Dr. Laura" exposed a résumé fraud scandal. Reason magazine, January 2005.
  • Associated Press. U.N. Fired Staff Members With Academic Degrees From Diploma Mill, via Fox News, 11 February 2007.

External links

  • The World Higher Education Database (IAU/UNESCO)
  • Information resources concerning unaccredited degree-granting institutions – A collection of links by George Gollin
  • Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.? The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 25, 2004. "Some professors have dubious doctorates, other professors sell them, and colleges often look the other way."
  • A Video on Distance Learning and Online Degrees: Are They Worth It?
  • Degree.net Page on diploma mill

U.S. state sites

  • List of non-accredited colleges/universities by State of Michigan
  • Unaccredited colleges by Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization
  • List of non-accredited colleges/ universities by State of Maine
  • List of Fraudulent or Substandard Institutions with a Texas connection
  • List of Fraudulent or Substandard Institutions with no known Texas connection

Accreditation databases

  • The World Higher Education Database (IAU/UNESCO) List of accredited schools throughout the world
  • Database for Accreditation in the United States (CHEA)
  • Database for Accreditation in the United States (USDE)
  • Database for Accreditation in the United Kingdom
  • Database for Accreditation in Australia
  • Database for Accreditation in India
  • Database for Accreditation in Malaysia
  • Database for Accreditation in the Netherlands
  • Database for Accreditation in Pakistan
  • Database for Accreditation in the Philippines
  • Database for Accreditation in Russia
  • Database for Accreditation in Sweden
  • National Recognition Information Centres
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma_mill"