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Archive for July, 2008

Release of Names in Fake Degree Case is Tip of the Iceberg

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The release of over 9,000 names this week in the well-publicized Washington diploma mill case was like dropping a stone in the middle of a lake.

The ripples have extended all over the U.S. and into international waters as well.

According to recent news reports, the long list of fake degree purchasers is being forwarded to the state attorney generals of all 50 states so that investigations may continue. They especially want to focus on those who may have compromised the safety of the general public by using fake college degrees to obtain jobs or promotions.

Others on the diploma mill list may also lose their jobs due to the seriousness of listing fraudulent information on their job application.

But hopefully, there has been a lesson in this for those who are contemplating taking a dishonest step to obtain a bogus college degree: Don’t do it. It isn’t worth it in the long run.

For awhile, perhaps no one will be the wiser. But one day, most likely when all is going well, everything will topple as the dark, past deed comes to light.

If you really want  a college degree, find an accredited online degree program and do the work. Take the classes, burn the midnight oil and earn the college degree through diligence and discipled study.

Then, when you receive your college diploma, it will mean something. And no one will be able to take it away from you; because you will truly own it.

accredited online degree, online degree, diploma mill, fake degree, bogus degree, fake college degree, online degree program

Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Online Degrees

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

The rapid growth of interest in distance learning via computer, also called e-learning, has brought a number of questions to the forefront.

Following are the answers to ten common questions about online degrees:

  1. What is an online degree?  An online degree is a college degree that is earned by distance learning. Generally registration, assignments, tests and communication with teachers and fellow students takes place via computer. Additional resources – like bookstores and libraries – are also available online.
  2. Why would someone choose an online degree over a traditional degree?  Online education appeals primarily to adult learners who already have job and/or family responsibilities. An online degree program allows students the flexibility to study on their own schedule, without cutting work hours or taking time from the family. Others who find an online degree to be preferable include active-duty military personnel, students who are physically unable to attend on-campus classes, those who live far from a college campus, and those who travel often.
  3. What is the difference between an accredited online degree and an unaccredited online degree?  Accreditation is a process by which colleges and universities are held to a high academic standard of quality by meeting a number of rigorous requirements. When a college has passed accreditation, it joins the ranks of other institutions that have met the same high standards. An unaccredited college is one that has not passed the accreditation process; though some in this category may later become accredited schools.
  4. Are the same educational standards applied to online degrees and traditional college degrees?  The major accrediting bodies in the U.S. require both online schools and traditional colleges to meet the same high standards in order to receive accreditation. Whether an accredited college degree is an online degree or an on-campus degree, both are considered to be of high quality, as far as the requirements that have been met by the graduate.  
  5. Are you eligible for federal financial aid if you enroll in an online school?  If the online college is accredited and meets the federal guidelines, it should be eligible for the same types of federal financial aid — grants, loans, work study — as the accredited traditional colleges.
  6. How can I find a reputable online school or online degree program?  Online degree programs may be found in both traditional or online schools. There are a number of excellent online directories, like DirectoryofSchools.com, that maintain huge lists of accredited colleges and universities, including what types of online degrees are offered by each school. The Department of Education also maintains a database of accredited U.S. colleges and universities. 
  7. What is a diploma mill?  Diploma mills are businesses that sell authentic-looking college diplomas for a fee. They are not colleges; though they usually market themselves as colleges or universities. And they often choose business names that sound like legitimate schools; but they require little or no college level work. The use of their fake college degrees to obtain work or job promotions is illegal in some states; and employers have fired or demoted those who are discovered to have purchased, rather than earned, their college degrees. 
  8. How can I avoid mistaking a diploma mill for a reputable online school?  There are a number of red flags that may indicate that a supposed school is really a diploma mill. For example, they offer a college degree for a set fee, rather than by the number of units taken. There is no school term, like a semester or quarter. The payment for the diploma offers the option to pick your own grade point average. You can purchase your bachelor’s and master’s at the same time (for an additional fee, of course). There is no physical address, just a post office box. But another way to double-check an online school is to check with the Department of Education to see if it is on their approved list. Other places to check out the school include the Distance Education and Training Council and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  9. How do employers feel about online degrees?  According to a recent survey, employers are warming to online degrees. But also, the University of Phoenix and other accredited online schools are often recommended by employers to their employees as flexible avenues for increasing job skills and earning college degrees. 
  10. What is the best way to choose an online degree program?  Choosing an online education program should be based upon many of the same factors that would be used with a traditional school — accreditation or vocational stamp of quality, area of career interest, faculty credentials and reputation, tuition cost, availability of financial aid, job placement support, ease of obtaining necessary classes, etc.

As education technology continues to contribute software that enhances the delivery of teaching materials, the growth of online learning is poised for explosive growth.

So stay tuned for more questions and answers down the road!

online degree, online degrees, distance learning, e-learning, diploma mill, adult learners, online school, military, colleges and universities, employers, fake college degree

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Newspaper Shocks All by Naming Buyers of Fake Degrees

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Although the Justice Department ruled that the names of fake degree buyers in a Seattle diploma mill case would not be revealed, a resourceful newspaper unexpectantly — and surprisingly, obtained the list. 

The Spokesman Review dug up the list of over 9,000 names and posted it on their website. They removed information that might identify or compromise their source.

The list contains the names of those who purchased fake college degrees and high school diplomas from a diploma mill operated by Dixie Ellen Randock. Some of the degrees were used to advance careers in the White House, the National Security Agency, NASA and other high-level or sensitive jobs.

Dixie Randock was recently sentenced to jail time for her part in selling college degrees to those who had not earned them. Instead, purchasers simply paid the required fees and received their official-looking degrees in the mail.  

Hopefully, the revelation of all these names will discourage others from cheating by buying a phony degree. The best thing to do is to enroll in an accredited online degree program and earn the higher education degree by diligency and study. 

Employers, employees and the general public may access the list of fake degree buyers here. 

fake degree, fake college degree, diploma mill, high school diploma, Dixie Randock, Seattle, employers, jobs, justice department, higher education

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Florida Reports Phenomenal Growth in Demand for Online Classes

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

All over the nation, as college students complete registration for the fall term, many are discovering that they missed out on choice spots in online classes.

This is particularly true in Florida, where demand for e-learning classes has grown over 300% in the last 10 years, according to a recent report on Florida colleges. Online classes generally fill up first in Florida, just as they tend to do in many colleges and universities across the nation.

Although more than 34,000 college students registered in at least one online class in Florida in 1997, that number skyrocketed to 152,140 in 2007.

Demand for online degree programs is also on the rise, with over 17,000 Florida college students enrolled only in online classes. High gas prices may be partially responsible for the recent surge; but students rushed to enroll in e-learning courses even before the recent downturn in the economy.

Students are flocking to distance learning options in traditional and online schools for the same reasons they always have:

  • a flexible study schedule,
  • the ability to earn money by working while enrolled in school,
  • being able to spend time with family, friends and others without missing class,
  • the possibility of more frequent interaction with teachers than with traditional classes,
  • the simplicity of using a computer to watch archived lectures and turn in assignments,
  • the choice to keep college attendance private until ready to reveal it to others.

The Sloan Consortium consistently reports an increasing demand for online education. According to its recent report, “Online Nation: Five Years of Growth in Online Learning“, online enrollments are growing at a rate significantly faster than traditional higher education enrollments.

Florida colleges reflect the popularity of online degree programs throughout the U.S. and the world.

And according to the experts, distance learning is on a roll that may never stop.

online classes, online schools, online education, e-learning, colleges and universities, college_students, Florida, distance learning, gas prices, higher education

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Employers Warming Rapidly to Online Degrees

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

A major concern for graduates of online degree programs is whether or not employers will judge them fairly during the job application process.  But grounds for that concern are rapidly dissipating.

A recent report by Vault.com has created quite a stir in its assessment of how employers feel about online degrees. The study confirms what accredited online school graduates may already know – employers are increasingly discovering the value of employees with accredited online degrees. 

  • According to Vault, 83% of employer respondents find online degrees to be more acceptable today than they were 5 years ago.
  • 82% of employer respondents said an online bachelor’s degree is acceptable.
  • 82% also agreed that an online graduate degree is acceptable.
  • Interestingly, only 49% had ever encountered an applicant with an online degree.

This last statistic is important; because it shows that employers need more exposure and education about online degrees. Then they will be able to ascertain for themselves the real value and meaning of accreditation. They will also learn that accredited colleges and universities are held to the same high standards of instruction, whether they are online or traditional schools.

Forward-thinking employers may already see the handwriting on the wall — that online degrees will only increase as education technology makes it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn.

Old school will remain; but online degrees are the wave of the future. Even traditional colleges realize this and have spent millions of dollars to increase their online class offerings to meet a huge demand.

Great strides have been made with employers; but there is still room for improvement. Yet time will mend that gap; and online graduates will continue to shine in the marketplace. Also, many online graduates will join the ranks of the new employers of the future.

And that will certainly take care of things once and for all.

accreditation, accredited online degree, colleges and universities, distance learning, employers, online school, online bachelors degree, college graduate, jobs

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Online University Offers First Class Education at a Bargain

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

More than at any other time in recent history, the state of the economy is forcing people to make difficult choices about how and where to spend their money.

And deciding where to attend college is not easy, with most household budgets bursting at the seams with expensive gas prices, mortgage foreclosures, job layoffs and high food costs. 

But fortunately, as the majority of colleges and universities raise their tuition like clockwork each year, one online school stands out as offering a first-class education at a bargain tuition rate – Western Governors University (WGU).

Even in the midst of economic upheaval, Western Governors appears like an oasis in the desert.

Western Governors University is unique in a number of ways:

  • WGU is a private university with surprisingly inexpensive tuition, at $2,890 per semester (or $5,780 per year) for undergraduates for the 2008-2009 school year. After keeping the same tuition rate for a number of years, this year the tuition was raised only $100 per semester.
  • WGU is the only university to be accredited by four regional accrediting bodies, including the Northwest Commision on Colleges and Universities, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation is the highest form of accreditation. 
  • WGU offers generous scholarships to military personnel, teachers, healthcare professionals and others. The desire of the school is to expand the opportunity of a college education to all.
  • WGU is supported by 20 major corporations and was founded by the governors of 19 western states. This suppport enables WGU to remain on the cutting edge of technology and academic excellence. Google, Microsoft, AT&T and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are just a few of the companies that believe in WGU enough to be a part of their advisory board. 
  • WGU is the first accredited online school in the U.S. to utilize a compentency-based approach. Students must demonstrate competency in each academic area; and graduates of WGU are trained to become experts in their fields.
  • WGU specializes in helping adult learners fit college into their busy work and family schedules.  Helping students from all walks of life to realize their dreams of a college education and reach their career potential is the driving force of WGU’s mission.

Hopefully WGU’s commitment to distance-learning excellence will positively impact the future course of higher education. In the meantime, Western Governors University shines as an education model among both traditional and online schools.

online school, online schools, colleges and universities, Western Governors, gas prices, college tuition, scholarships, military personnel, military, distance learning, adult learners

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

E-learning Success: 8 Ways to Make it Happen

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

As millions of college students prepare for the fall semester by enrolling in one or more online classes, it also happens that a significant number of newbies will be testing the e-learning waters.

Prompted by high gas prices, or impressed by the flexibility and convenience of online schools, many e-learning students are charting unfamiliar, yet stimulating, territory.  And in order to succeed in distance learning classes, a few hints may be helpful.

  1. Register early to secure a spot in the desired online classes. With high gas prices, more students are opting for e-learning instead of traditional university classes.
  2. Set aside a sufficient block of study time. E-learning classes do not require less study time than their traditional counterparts. In fact, they often require more time.
  3. Read homework assignments carefully and follow directions explicitly. If something is unclear, ask questions.
  4. Let your family members know which hours are designated for study and ask them to avoid distracting or interrupting you during that time.
  5. Plan ahead for the cost of books and materials. Books can be expensive. Make sure necessary supplies, including a computer with Internet connection, are available to complete the assignments.
  6. Place assignment due dates in a planner or calendar. Allow sufficient time to complete final projects and begin early to insure that due dates are met.
  7. Communicate often and clearly with teachers and classmates as needed. E-mails, chat rooms and message boards provide an excellent means of connecting with each other via computer.
  8. Remain on top of things during the class; and do not allow any problem to linger too long. Let someone know if you need help.

Online classes require diligence and planning similar to what is required in most traditional college classes.

These helpful hints are just a few of the ways to maximize the online school experience and enjoy all the benefits of the online education experience.

online schools, e-learning, distance learning, gas prices, university, computer, Internet, traditional college, online education

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

College Students Find Waiting Lists for Gas-Saving Online Classes

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Fueled by record-high gas prices, the demand for online classes may exceed supply this fall in colleges and universities all over the nation.

According to the New York Times article, “High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom“ (7-11-08),  summer students found that online courses were the first to fill up, generating waiting lists of disappointed hopefuls who missed out on limited slots in the gas-saving classes.

Therefore, students who register early will fare much better than their procrastinating counterparts when fall registration commences.

In a frantic effort to reduce college expenses,  students discovered that distance-learning is the best way to save on exorbitant transportation costs.

Whether the student is a recently-graduated 18-year-old or a full-time working adult with family obligations, high gas prices have negatively impacted the household budget.

Without the e-learning option, some students may be forced to drop out of school for monetary reasons.

Online schools are gearing up for record high fall enrollments as career-minded adults return to the classroom in record numbers. The downturn in the economy has played a starring role in the increased desire to earn a college diploma.  Most adult learners plan to earn accredited online degrees or professional certificates to shore up resume qualifications for increased marketability and higher-paying jobs.

So to those who have yet to register for the fall classes, a word of wisdom: “The early bird gets the worm.”

adult learner, college students, colleges and universities, distance learning, e-learning, fall registration, high-paying jobs, online classes, online degrees, online schools, professional certificates, save gas

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Ten Reasons to Get Off the Fence and Enroll in Online Schools

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

As summer wanes, the time has come for many college students to register for classes, pack up and prepare to move into campus housing.

Tens of thousands more are busily choosing their academic schedules via computer, registering for online classes and making online book purchases for their accredited online degree programs.

But others are sitting on the fence, mulling over the pros and cons of enrolling in online schools for the quickly-approaching school term. For this group, there may be some additional points to ponder:

  1. Online school requires no gas or transportation costs to attend classes.
  2. Online school allows you to choose when and where you will study.
  3. Online school allows you to work full-time without leaving the job to attend on-campus classes.
  4. Online school has all the resources required to complete the coursework — including online bookstores and online libraries.
  5. Online school is a way maintain the privacy you may require if changing careers.
  6. Online school offers a flexible way to earn a college diploma while remaining available for family celebrations, vacations and obligations. 
  7. Online school has a variety of tuition choices, including some that cost far less than a traditional college or university  (i.e. Western Governors University).
  8. Online school tuition may be partially or fully-covered by employers.
  9. Online school is available for an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, doctorate, professional certificate and/or vocational training.
  10. Online school is the only option for some adult learners to earn a college degree — whether due to geographical location, physical limitations, raising children, job schedule or other factors.

According to an old English proverb, “time and tide wait for no man”. So if you want a college degree, the time to do it is now.

accredited online degrees, online degrees, online school, career, job, bachelors degree, associates degree, doctorate, professional certificate, vocational training, colleges and universities

Popularity: 3% [?]

Posted by vida

Justice Department Protects Thousands of Fake Degree Customers

Monday, July 7th, 2008

An unpopular decision by the Justice Department to keep secret the names of almost 11,000 fake degree customers has dealt a harsh blow to the cause of those fighting to eliminate diploma mills.

The recent sentencing of Dixie Ellen Randock in the infamous Seattle diploma mill case stirred up controversy as it was revealed that the diploma mill owners would go to jail; but the names of those who bought the degrees would not be made public.

According to the News Tribune, testimony in the case offered disturbing information as to how the bogus degrees are being used. 

Purchasers were discovered to be working in the White House, the Department of Defense and in military leadership. Others used their worthless degrees to secure various types of employment and to gain promotions in even the most sensitive career fields, including health care, engineering and counseling. 

Rather than earn accredited online degrees from reputable online schools, these thousands chose to cheat by purchasing the fake diplomas from an operation that netted millions of dollars in the lucrative diploma mill business.  

At least 500 bogus diplomas were sold in California, the highest number of any state. But purchasers were spread out all over the U.S. — including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

There is a chance that the Justice Department could reverse its decision and share the names of the customers in this case; however it is not likely.

Hopefully, the laws will soon change to protect the public, rather than allowing con men and women with fake degrees to infiltrate and rise above the ranks of honest men and women in the work force.

diploma mill, fake college degree, accredited online degree, online school, colleges and universities, bogus degrees, White House 

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida