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Avoid a Phony College Degree and Diploma Mill

written by: Suvo•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 2/7/2011

Believe it or not, there are many phony college degrees given from diploma mills available through the Internet. How do you avoid a diploma mill? Is there any organization that exists for online learning accreditation? Read on to find out more.

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    What is a Diploma Mill?

    The advantages of online education are plentiful and this is the reason online education is becoming increasingly common. At the same time, fake online degree institutions, also known as diploma or degree mills should be the biggest concern for a candidate who opts for an online learning course.

    A diploma mill (or degree mill) is an institution which sells only printed certificates of online education for a large amount of money. Diploma mills can, and do, give any fake educational certificate for money.

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    How to Identify Diploma Mills

    While choosing an online education, look for any of the following warning signs as chances are that the institution is a diploma mill.

    • Overnight degree: The institution is promising an online degree or diploma in less than standard stipulated time.
    • Accreditation: The online education institution either doesn’t have any accreditation or is accredited by some fancy (imaginary) organization similar to some popular organization.
    • Credit card eligibility: The most important eligibility criterion for getting a degree is having a “credit card”.
    • Roaming institutions: The institution often changes its address, sometimes from one state to another. Sometimes the address contains only a post office box number.
    • Degree by experience: The online education institution is promising a degree based only on your work experience.
    • No verification of your previous education: Only a photocopy or fax of previous education certificates is enough to get an online education degree.
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    How to Verify Accreditation of an Online Institution

    If you have doubt about an online education institution, then you can use the following online source for verification.

    • US Department of Education: This is a great site with a database of all accrediting agencies across the United States. Check for the real existence of the accrediting agency accrediting the online institute.
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    Diploma mills are a matter of concern for anyone selecting a genuine online education institution. Do proper research by using the sites of the organization for online learning accreditation before mistakenly paying for a phony college degree from a diploma mill.