"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for July, 2007

Almeda U. Diploma Mill Targets Faux Students

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

I wondered recently why a known diploma mill would sent out a press release claiming to be a legitimate, accredited online school when in fact, it was not.

This “school” claimed to have thousands of satisfied “students” and no complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. When I checked further, I found that this part was true. The Better Business Bureau had no record of complaints filed against this fraudulent entity. But why not?

The name of the diploma mill is Almeda University. They are not recognized as a legitimate online school by the US Department of Education. They are reluctant to give a physical address. They place the bulk of the credit for their degrees on life experience.  They do ask ’students’ to write a thesis; but no classes are required. After 5-8 months, a degree is awarded.

But what about all those satisfied customers? This bothered me. Finally, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The press release was not designed for those who would immediately recognize a diploma mill and avoid it. It was targeting those pretend students who wanted to buy their online degree, not work for it.

This is difficult to swallow. The image of the poor victimized student is fading. Later, when these ‘graduates’ are exposed, they simply say they didn’t know any better and cry the blues, hoping they can hold onto their jobs.

And now I understand why Almeda advertises its wares any way it can without fear of exposure or reprisals. They make lots of easy money selling a product with high demand. And so do the rest of those in this reported $500 million industry. So when will it stop? It will stop when the public wants it to stop and not one moment sooner.

diploma mill, education, online schools, distance education, fake degrees, US Department of Education, students, college, easy money

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mill Scandal Rocks South Korea

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

In a country where prestige is high for those with esteemed college degrees, the revelation that two high-profile public figures received diploma mill degrees has been shocking to those in Seoul, South Korea.

Although both of these celebrities – Lee Ji-young, an educational talk show host and Shin Jeong-ah, an art professor — claimed to have bachelors and masters degrees, investigations uncovered evidence that a high school diploma was the highest degree either had received. They listed degrees from Yale, the University of Kansas and the University of Brighton (England). These deceptions cost the perpetrators their societal position, salaries and honor when they were unceremoniously released from all employment positions.

An investigation spearheaded by these revelations has targeted the academic records of over 2,800 private institute teachers.  Officials intend to determine whether degrees included on resumes were actually awarded.

Korean parents, who choose private schools for their children based upon the prestige of teachers’ backgrounds have been particularly devastated by this scandal. Songpa Police Station officials are tracking down those who sell the fake diplomas; although they admit that the Internet has made their task difficult. They are also frustrated because the problem of diploma mills is increasing with the ease of running such businesses on the web.

Read the full story here.

diploma mill, Seoul, bachelors degree, masters degree, students, education

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Another Senate Bill: More Good News for College Students

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Within a week, the Senate has passed a second piece of legislation aimed at making life easier for students. This new bill targets low and middle-income students who wish to apply for federal financial aid. It passed unanimously, according to the Washington Post, and contains the following provisions:

  • The current FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, would be simplified from its current lengthy, redundant and confusing form.
  • It would become illegal for banking institutions to provide gifts or expense-paid trips to colleges and financial aid officials in order to secure a spot on the preferred lender list.
  • The government would be required to publish a list detailing the colleges whose costs are increasing at a rate higher than those of comparable schools.

Both the Senate and House still have some compromise work to do on the first and second bills. But if they are passed into law, students - including those who attend accredited online schools - will receive more financial aid, they will be able to trust that colleges are not being paid to push specific student loan lenders, the FAFSA will take less time to fill out, and valuable information will become available concerning college costs.

Things are looking up for students. So Congress, keep that ball rolling!

financial aid, online schools, education, Senate, Congress, FAFSA, legislation, students, student aid, student loan, student loan lender, new student aid bill, college

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

5 Steps to Fast-Track Career Success

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Highly-motivated self-starters who wish to accelerate the transition from high school graduate to career professional can move ahead of the pack with a simple plan using distance learning.

But it is not for the faint of heart and requires diligence, focused study and sacrifice. It is an online fast-track to success and consists of the following 5 steps:

  1. Earn an online associate degree in 2 years or less.
  2. Begin work as a paid intern, apprentice or trainee in the chosen career field.
  3. Continue with an online bachelor degree, which may take 2 years or less.
  4. Seek employment as a career professional, or apply for a promotion within the current company.
  5. Earn an MBA online or an online graduate degree, which may take 2 years or more.

An online college degree program offers the major advantage of being able to take classes:

  • without being boxed in by a semester or quarter system,
  • without delaying necessary coursework because classes are full,
  • and without having to count the additional cost of dorm rooms and elevated gas prices.

Also, the student can gain valuable work experience while e-learning. It is important to choose accredited online schools; and financial aid is generally available. But the payoff in higher salary and life satisfaction is priceless. So what are you waiting for – on your mark, get set, go!

online college degree, MBA online, online associate degree, online graduate degree, online schools, accredited online schools, career, career field, higher salary, career success, career professional, high school graduate, e-learning, distance learning, job, life, education, satisfaction

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Financial Aid Bill Passes Senate

Friday, July 20th, 2007

The Senate has just passed a bill to provide the largest increase in financial aid to college students since the G.I. bill of 1944. The House recently passed the Cost Reduction Act of 2007; and a compromise of the two bills will be formulated for passage into law.

President Bush has threatened to veto the bill in its current form, emphasizing that the majority of aid in its proposal benefits students who are out of school, rather than targeting low and middle-income students who need additional financial aid to complete their college education.

Highlights of the current bill are as follows:

  • an increase in aid to Pell Grant recipients
  • student loan repayment to be capped at a percentage of the student’s income
  • loan forgiveness for public service professionals after making 10 years of payments
  • a repayment of $700 million toward the federal deficit

Rather than raising taxes, the provisions of the bill would be funded by cutting approximately $18 billion in government subsidies from banks that issue federally-backed student loans. The Senate bill does not include a lowering of student loan interest rates for low and middle-income students.

Senator Edward Kennedy indicated that the fine-tuning of the bill between the Senate and House is expected to be seamless. It is possible that the bill will become law by the beginning of the fall semester 2007 if it meets with White House approval.

financial aid, Senate, House, college, Pell Grant, student loan, student loan repayment, White House, President Bush, Edward Kennedy, fall semester, federal deficit, student loan, G.I. Bill of 1944, public service professionals

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Facts about Earning An Online Law Degree

Friday, July 20th, 2007

As of June 2007, only 196 law schools in the U.S. were approved by the American Bar Associaton (ABA). This has caused fierce competion for the available spots in traditional law schools. However, a few facts may help those who desire a law degree, but who thought it was impossible at this stage in their lives.

Law school is designed to be a place where students can academically prepare to pass the bar exam in order to become licensed attorneys. Some states, like California, do not require attendance at an ABA-approved school in order to sit for and pass the bar exam. Online schools that are registered with the Committee of Bar Examiners are acceptable, like Concord Law School.

Eligibility to sit for the bar exam is set by each state, not by the ABA. So potential law students should check with their state board of bar examiners to determine whether a particular non-ABA law school is acceptable.

Check to see if the law school is accredited by an approved Department of Education accrediting body, even if the school is not ABA-approved. The rigorous standards of a regional accrediting organization speak volumes about the quality of the education received.

There is no single path to a legal career, according to the ABA. Students from almost every academic discipline are accepted into law school and many become successful legal professionals. 

Law school graduates are employed in a number of positions outside of law offices, including corporations, real estate offices, hospitals, juvenile court, universities and as entrepreneurs. But those who intend to compete for positions in top law offices should carefully consider their law school choice.

Concord Law School offers a high-quality online law degree at a relatively reasonable price to those who prefer flexible study hours and the ability to study at home. It is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and has met rigorous standards. This accrediting body is one of only several that are approved by the Department of Education. In some years, Concord’s ABA exam pass rate has met or surpassed a number of ABA-approved schools. Concord Law School is part of Kaplan, Inc., which is a subsidiary of the Washington Post Co.

distance learning, e-learning, law schools, law school, American Bar Association, ABA, online school, bar exam, Concord Law School, law students, Department of Education, education, academic discipline, graduates, law offices, universities, online law degree, Kaplan, Washington Post

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Online Law Degree Approved by American Bar Association

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego has trekked into the wilderness of ABA-approved online law degrees. It has created the first online law degree to be offered by an ABA-approved school – ever.

As online schools change the landscape of college options, the American Bar Association (ABA) has watched from the sidelines, carefully considering whether any online law program is worthy of its approval. Until recently, none has met the ABA’s tough standards. This has concerned those who feel that student entry into law school has become elitist, with a lack of adequate representation of women and minorities.

But now, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) offers an online degree — the LL.M., or Master of Laws degree. The focus of this advanced law degree is on international tax and financial services, with a line-up of distinguished law professors and an interactive format designed to intertwine the latest educational technology with top legal talent.

Thomas Jefferson School of Law seeks to be a pioneer in utilizing faculty excellence and a well-engineered multimedia program to bring the training of lawyers into the technology forefront, introducing the opening up of new options for those who wish to make a difference by extending justice and legal expertise where it is needed.

Although TJSL’s online degree is pricey at roughly $1,000 a unit, the school has constructed a successful model for future online law degree programs.

This taming of the online law school wilderness by TJSL and others will hopefully lead to an opening up of online legal education to those who are qualified and motivated to make a positive difference in their communities and the world.

online degree, online law degree, law school, online schools, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, American Bar Association, Master of Laws, international tax law, financial services, technology, education, educational technology, lawyer, San Diego, bar exam

Popularity: 41% [?]

Posted by vida

Former Lawman Fights Diploma Mills

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Greg Fitch’s training as a former police officer and Army infantryman has prepared him well for the fight that is ahead of him.

Serving now as the executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Fitch has one particularly difficult mission: to rid the state of diploma mills.

Diplomas mills are deceptive business entities that offer college degrees for sale with little or no scholastic work required.

The state of Alabama has become a haven for diploma mill start-ups because of the ease of incorporation for these businesses. But Fitch, who holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D., has already begun to propose legislation that would make it difficult for these fake degree mills to thrive in his state.

Read the full article about Greg Fitch and his noble crusade to eliminate diploma mills.

diploma mills, fake college degrees, education, Alabama, higher education

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mills Use Glossy Websites to Lure Consumers

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Educational consumers continue to be duped by the glossy, multi-colored, interactive college websites set up by scam artists to sell fake college degrees.

Although these websites may look like the real deal, there are ways to spot the fact that the perpetrators are only interested in making money, not providing an education. It is not difficult to discover their true nature; but it is important to take the time to check things out before spending any money.

  1. Check to see if the college or university is accredited and listed on the Department of Education (DOE) website: www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation. There are fake accrediting agencies; but the DOE weeds through those and only lists legitimate schools.
  2. Study the requirements for the specific degree you want. Look at the course offerings, the number of units required, and the admissions process. If the requirements are not comparable to similar programs at legitimate colleges, beware.
  3. Peruse the faculty list and their credentials. If there is no faculty list or if the teachers are not fully qualified with either a master’s degree or Ph.D., find another school.
  4. Notice whether the emphasis is on “life experience” for most of the college credit. Legitimate schools require completion of challenging classes with exams, research papers and homework.
  5. Hard-sell tactics that push for you to ”purchase” more than one college degree are a dead giveaway.
  6. If you are asked to pick your year of graduation, grade point average, and type of degree for a set price, leave the website and don’t look back.
  7. Be an informed consumer and utilize educational directories, like Directory of Schools, that list accredited online degree programs.
  8. Compare online schools and programs; and before spending any money, use the above tips as a guideline.

The road to earning an accredited online degree is generally not too short or too easy; but it is worthwhile and leads to a lifetime of benefits. So don’t be fooled by the fraud and deception of diploma mills!

diploma mills, online schools, online degree program, fake degrees, Department of Education, life experience degree, Directory of Schools, accredited online degree, educational directory, master’s degree, Ph.D., education, college, consumer, university, college admissions, hard sell tactics, lifetime of benefits, fraud, scam artists

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

FBI Partners With Capella University

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Apparently the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) considers online education to be an excellent source of training for its employees.

In fact, the organization has entered into a formal educational agreement with Capella University, an accredited online school, to provide professional development opportunities to its staff through the FBI’s University Education Program (UEP).

In cooperation with the FBI, Capella University will provide a business administration focus to employees who require preparation for management positions, or who are already performing jobs in which leadership skills are necessary for competency.

Under the cooperative agreement with Capella, eligible FBI employees may pursue online bachelors and graduate degrees on a tuition-free basis. This e-learning opportunity is expected to strengthen the FBI workforce in a way that is convenient, stimulating and motivating to the students.

This past December at the FBI’s National Crime Lab Symposium in Atlanta, Donna Brandelli, a Capella doctoral student, delivered a presentation on the permanence of fingerprints. The Ph.D. student is a forensic identification specialist with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and is conducting a long-term research study that is expected to show that fingerprints are durable and unique. The FBI commissioned the study; and Brandelli, along with 5 other specialists from around the U.S., will continue to gather and analyze fingerprints over the next several years.

The FBI is one of many organizations and businesses that utilize the latest distance learning capabilities to give their employees a leading edge. With a computer, a modem and an Internet connection, online students gain the knowledge, skills, certification and college degrees that aid in on-the-job promotion, increased productivity and higher salaries.

online education, distance learning, online school, FBI, Capella University, professional development, higher salary, business administration, employee training, forensic, online bachelor’s degree, leadership training, management, college degree, knowledge, skills, fingerprint analysis, job promotion, National Crime Lab Symposium

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida