"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 the ‘diploma mills’ Category

Why Undocumented College Students Deserve a Tuition Break

Friday, July 16th, 2010

As the heated battle over illegal immigration continues, a few states have tossed a tuition lifeline to undocumented, primarily Latino, college students.

According to today’s Los Angeles Times:

Ten states have passed laws to allow undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition, and several have expanded access to state-funded health benefits and improved enforcement of wage and hour laws.

Perhaps these states are not just being generous, but are securing and improving their own futures by taking into consideration a few facts:

  • College graduates are far less likely to commit crimes.
  • College graduates earn more money and have a higher standard of living than non-graduates.
  • College graduates help to fill higher-level job vacancies throughout the state.
  • Children of college graduates are more likely to attend college.
  • College graduates are positive role models for children and others in their communities.

So, by extending a helping hand to undocumented college students, forward-thinking leaders are making a down payment on a more prosperous future for their states.

They are investing in lower crime rates, a well-educated work force, and an overall higher standard of living for the state’s population. They are also insuring better cooperation and coexistence between the people of their state.

Some state leaders may believe they cannot afford to give undocumented college students this type of break.

But perhaps they can’t afford not to do it.

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Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Online Degrees are Convenient, Not Easy

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The next 10 years could see a wave of new college graduates — at least 5 million more if the American Graduation Initiative hits its mark.

A large crop of those graduates will hail from online schools, or they will receive online degrees from traditional colleges and universities, according to Sloan Consortium reports.

Yet there is a misconception among some potential online students who believe that the academic content and requirements of their classes will be easier if they choose accredited online degree programs.

They heard about the convenience and flexibility of online degrees and have, somehow, concluded that online degrees are easy to complete.

They are wrong. And unfortunately for them, a rude awakening may be just around the corner.

They need to understand that:

  • Accredited on-campus and online degrees are held to the same high standards of excellence by accrediting agencies.
  • Both have undergone a rigorous accreditation process.
  • Their ability to offer college degrees was only possible after they successfully met accreditation requirements.

In other words, students who enroll in online degree programs should expect a level of difficulty comparable to the same on-campus academic programs.

A small, but growing, segment of higher education institutions do offer the same academic degrees both on-campus and online. In these cases, faculty, assignments, books, and other requirements are generally the same.

So when considering an accredited online degree program, potential students should assume they will receive an excellent education centered around convenience and flexibility — not less work.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Fake College Degrees Increase Dangers for All Americans

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

You may think that it is none of your business when diploma mills sell fake college degrees to individuals seeking job promotions, new positions, or entry into graduate school.

After all, what’s the harm?

The obvious answer is that this deception costs some honest Joe or Jane a position that they have earned by completing an accredited on-campus or online degree program.

But there is a more compelling reason.

Fake Degrees are an Easy Purchase for Terrorists and Criminals

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to the problem of false credentials. There is the possibility of their involvement in terror threats, criminal activity, and identity theft.

  • Fake degrees in medicine, psychology, education, and physical education give unscrupulous individuals and criminals access to children.
  • Fake degrees in engineering, architecture and computer science allow home-grown and foreign terrorists key access to major transportation centers (airports, trains, bridges), city centers, and computer systems.
  • Fake degrees in accounting, finance and business open doors into the stock market, banking institutions, and credit agencies — centers of critical information about millions of Americans.

According to the article, ‘United States has become world capital of fake degrees and diplomas’ , diploma mills and their fake degrees are everyone’s business. This is an international problem; but the U.S. is way ahead of the pack in allowing over 800 diploma mills to prosper on their soil and endanger an unsuspecting public.

The repercussions are severely underrated.

What Can We Do?

Is there a solution to this insidious problem? Yes, here are some practical ways to help.

  • Never buy a fake degree, even if the purpose is just to hang it on your wall at home. You are supporting those who supply fake credentials to anyone who can fork over the cash.
  • Get the government involved. Write your Senators and Representatives and let them know you are concerned about this issue and will support legislation designed to eradicate diploma mills.
  • Employers, be thorough when checking out the credentials of job applicants. Check with the Department of Education to insure that college degrees listed on the application are from accredited traditional and online schools. Then verify, with the individual college or university, that the applicant actually earned the specific degree.
  • Enroll only in accredited online schools; and double-check with the Department of Education to make sure the school is legitimate.
  • Be alert to anyone who does not appear to have the required knowledge or skill for the job they are doing. You are entitled to be suspicious, especially when that person’s job title and access involves your safety, and that of the general public.

Remember that fake degrees are far from harmless. And most of all, they are everyone’s business.

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Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

The Berlin Wall and Veterans Day: A Remembrance

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

As the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall continue in Germany, we once again commemorate the members of our armed forces on Veterans Day.

Almost 50 years ago, the city of Berlin was divided by a formidable wall that remained standing for almost 30 years.

East German soldiers patrolled the east side of the wall; and American, British and French soldiers guarded the west side.

My father was a soldier stationed in Germany in the late 1960’s; so I remember the Berlin Wall.

I will never forget traveling into East Berlin as a ‘military brat’ on holiday with my family. We boarded a bus in West Berlin and arrived at Checkpoint Charlie.

There, our paperwork was checked out by U.S. soldiers; and we were given explicit instructions about what to expect on the trip — and how to conduct ourselves. Then the bus drove into East Berlin.

Just a little past the Berlin Wall, the bus stopped.

When I glanced out of the bus window, I saw a mean-looking, well-trained group of uniformed soldiers march up and surround our bus. A few quickly crawled beneath the bus for an inspection, while others walked around it and visually inspected every nook and cranny.

Then, several of them came onboard; and I was suddenly afraid.

They were not friendly fellows. They did not smile, and they certainly did not make small talk.

Instead, they took each person’s passport and stared intensely at the person, then at the passport picture, and again at the person. When it was my turn, I hoped the cold, penetrating stare would not cause me to make any observable misstep.

But I must have done okay; because the soldier moved on and eventually got off the bus with his comrades.

An East German guide boarded the bus and coolly relayed more instructions. The rest of the trip was interesting and uneventful; though we saw only what they wanted us to see — including the majestic Brandenburg Gate.

We were not allowed to talk with any East German citizens, we could not wander off alone, and our bus could not make any deviations from the scheduled tour.

We went through another thorough inspection of the bus before being allowed to cross back into West Berlin; and it was only then that I noticed the tiny crosses that lined the western side of the Berlin Wall — most with flowers, but all standing out as reminders of those who were shot and killed trying to escape into West Germany.

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. By the time it began to fall on November 9th, 1989, it stretched nearly 100 miles and was topped with barbed wire.

Historians should continue to remind us of this and other significant events. Without historians, naysayers would attempt to erase or sugarcoat history, in order to promote their own agendas.

Students who major in history should be proud of that choice. And if they can, they should travel to some of the places where key historical events took place.

If they enroll in online degree programs, it will be easier to travel. But online schools and online classes, though convenient, are just one way to pursue a history degree. Community colleges and traditional universities offer additional options.

The Berlin Wall is now gone, thank goodness, but we should remember those soldiers — past and present — who earned the freedoms that America, western Europe and some other countries continue to enjoy.

Soldiers of the U.S. military deserve our highest respect and gratitude, on Veterans Day and every day of our lives, for their generous actions on our behalf.

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Swine Flu Cases Multiply Rapidly As Colleges Prepare for Fall Students

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

As excited college students prepare to move into campus dorms, they look forward to meeting new roommates, fitting all their belongings into half of a dorm room and registering for classes.

They are not concerned about catching the flu.

That job belongs to health officials at the Centers for Disease Control who are, indeed, concerned.

Even as students and parents prepare to lug heavy boxes into dorm rooms all over the nation, the Centers for Disease Control epidemiologists are working feverishly to head off the potentially serious consequences of a fast-moving, unpredictable — yet still mild — flu virus.

The H1N1 virus, known as the swine flu, has already struck 43,771 Americans in confirmed cases (as of 7-24-09) and continues to move rapidly throughout the population during this unusual summer season. Normally, the summer is not a part of flu season.

Some CDC officials estimate the numbers of flu cases to be closer to a million; since most people who contract the current strain of H1N1 are not tested for it and are able to recover without serious complications.

But the scenario may change in the fall, when school children and college students cluster again together in close quarters.

Although there are only 302 confirmed deaths in the U.S. from the H1N1 virus (as of 7-24-09), the strain is poised to mutate into a more dangerous flu virus that could cause tens of thousands of deaths if not averted.

However, there are preventative steps that may limit serious repercussions of the swine flu:

  • Distributing antiviral drugs as needed,
  • Students opting for online classes, online schools and online degree programs instead of on-campus classes that force them to be exposed to sick people,
  • Educating the public about what to do if they become sick with the swine flu,
  • Avoiding crowds when sick or if in a high risk category, like having asthma or a compromised immune system,
  • Washing hands frequently to help prevent becoming sick with the flu,
  • Covering the nose and mouth with a clean tissue when sneezing or coughing,
  • Contacting a doctor if experiencing high fevers or breathing difficulties.

Flu season came early this year, with a head start on the students who will soon begin their college or university studies.

But those who opt for online education may find solace in the opportunity to study in the comfort and safety of their flu-free homes.

antiviral drugs, antiviral drugs, cdc, college, epidemiologist, flu season, h1n1 virus, online degree programs, online schools, students, summer season, swine flu

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Discouraged Workers Should Snag Health Care Careers

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Thousands of people who lost jobs during the recession have given up and are no longer even looking for a job.

After months of sending out resumes and making phone calls, they grew discouraged and stopped. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted 793,000 of these ‘discouraged workers’ in June 2009. But there may be a brighter day coming for those who choose it.

And who can blame these folks; unemployment is high and employee morale is low. On top of that, the BLS has painted a bleak picture of joblessness in this weak, but slowly recovering, economy.

Yet many employment sectors are losing jobs at a slower rate, which gives hope to those who are banking on a better economy not too far down the road.

And surprisingly, one major industry continues beat the odds by adding new jobs each month.

For June 2009, lost jobs included:

  • 136,000 in manufacturing
  • 79,000 in construction
  • 335,000 in motor vehicles and parts
  • 8,000 in mining
  • 118,000 in professional and business services
  • 21,000 in retail trade
  • 27,000 in financial activities
  • 21,000 in the information industry

However, there was good news for one major employment sector;

  • 21,000 new jobs were added to health care

The BLS reports that the health care industry added an average of 21,000 jobs a month throughout 2009. And in 2008, during some of the worse days of the recession, they added approximately 30,000 jobs a month.

So now, a message to those ‘discouraged workers’. This time off from work may be the best opportunity to consider switching career fields to the one that has remained a bright spot in an otherwise dim economy — health care.

It has proven itself to be a reliable and consistent career area; and a future in this field is promising for those who return to school to train for health care jobs, especially as registered nurses.

To top things off, preparation for some health care careers involves a short investment of as little as 12 months in a traditional or online degree program – for example, the training  to become a licensed vocational or licensed practical nurses takes about a year.

Other health care careers may take an even shorter time to complete — just a few months of classes before snagging a job in a hospital or convalescent home as a nurse’s aide, surgical technician, medical billing clerk, medical receptionist, emergency medical technician or phlebotomist (a health care worker trained to draw blood). Then, while working one of these jobs, workers can continue their education online, with employers often footing the bill.

Low cost tuition fees, federal grants and private scholarships are available for qualified students who have lost their jobs; so affordability is not always a problem.

If you are without a job, now is the time to check into some of these accredited programs for your ticket to a promising job in the growing health care industry.

Then you will be a discouraged worker no more.

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Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Ten Ways to Cruise on the Cheap While Taking Online Classes

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Summer has arrived; and adult learners may be wondering how to take a cheap vacation without skipping a beat in online classes.

Thankfully, the travel industry is happy to oblige by offering great deals on just about everything. Still, cruising may be among the best ways to save money on a vacation while continuing with online degree studies.

For the price of gas, food, a couple of nights in a mid-range hotel and activities, e-learners and their families or friends could sail away on the vacation of a lifetime.

Just check out these facts about cruising to an online degree:

  1. The costs for a 4-day cruise this summer begin as low as $184 per person (before taxes and fees) from Florida, New Orleans or Long Beach, according to today’s 90-day ticker from Vacations to Go, a  website that lists the best cruise deals, especially last-minute bargains. Additional special discounts may apply for past passengers and those over age 55.
  2. Cruise costs cover a bundle – ship transportation to exotic ports, 24-hour food, some beverages, lavish entertainment for adults and children, room service, twice-daily cabin cleaning and more.
  3. For 4 people staying in the same cabin, the 3rd and 4th persons pay just a fraction of the full fare, generally between 40-60% less. This is a kid-friendly deal for families, but also works well for family gatherings, friends and co-workers.
  4. Onboard credits are free money that is offered by travel agents, credit card companies or the cruise line. These are valuable because they are applied to the onboard account and may cover tipping fees, excursions, alcoholic drinks, shopping or other additional costs. A good travel agent can help explore this option.
  5. Most ports can be explored without purchasing expensive excursions from the ship. A good guide book from the library can give excellent tips about saving money while seeing the sights on your own.
  6. Most ships offer onboard Internet cafes and designated public WiFi hotspots. Some ships, like the new Celebrity Solstice series, offer data ports for Internet access in individual cabins, which is great for online students. Some Princess ships offer the use of individual laptops for the duration of the cruise on a first-come, first served basis. Discounted Internet plans offer cheaper rates then paying by the minute.
  7. To save money on Internet rates, online students may opt to gather web research ahead of time. Then on the ship, they can work offline and connect to the Internet only to turn in assignments or email instructors.
  8. Tipping is generally not mandatory on the ship; although there are suggested amounts per day to cover cabin stewards, waiters, head waiters, and other staff. Even when the tipping fees are automatically deducted from the onboard account, passengers may raise or lower the tipping amount at their own discretion. However, after observing how diligently the staff works on their behalf, the suggested tips — totaling about $10 per adult passenger per day — often appear to be reasonable to most cruisers.
  9. The 3,634-passenger ship, Independence of the Seas, not only provides extensive Internet access, it also offers rock-climbing, a water park, a surf park, ice skating, youth clubs, a full-size boxing ring and sports court, miniature golf, a fitness center, a casino, shopping — plus a multitude of other diversions for those who need extra study time to devote to online classes while family or friends literally dive into the fun onboard.
  10. Retirees, homeschooling families and others may find deeper discounts in the fall and winter, as vacationers return to school and jobs. And most cruises that are more than 90 days off usually require only a modest down payment, with the balance due at a later date. Also, bargains extend to world cruises and, amazingly, an online student could travel the world by sea while earning an online degree.

Of course, it is important to ask questions during booking about cancellation policies, passport requirements, taxes, port fees, the minimum travel age for an infant, and what is covered or not covered in cruise fees.

Still, cruising is a wonderful opportunity for online degree students to enjoy a vacation and stay on track with online school, In fact, it may be the perfect way to enhance one’s career while making loved ones happy.

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Popularity: 12% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mills Use Psychology to Target Victims of Layoffs

Friday, February 6th, 2009

As the unemployment rate nears double-digit proportions, unscrupulous individuals and businesses are accelerating their efforts to further victimize the newly disenfranchised.

These include people who are unemployed or were hit hard by the housing crisis.

A flood of get-rich-quick schemes, identity theft, bad checks to eBay sellers and a proliferation of diploma mill hawkers relentlessly plague the country and the Internet. leaving victims to recover on their own — like those victims on the Madoff client list.

And like Madoff, diploma mills are particularly slick and smooth in their approach.

Diploma mill hackers use marketing psychology to elicit feelings of frustration and entitlement in individuals who feel they have received a raw deal. These individuals are perfect candidates for the false claims and misleading rhetoric of fake degree salespeople.

The sales claims of diploma mills targets those:

  1. who are feeling unfairly treated because of a layoff, demotion or pay cut,
  2. who are upset because college grads are being promoted above them, or
  3. who simply want to buy a college diploma to skip over the diligence, integrity and work required to earn an accredited online degree.

Diploma mill sellers use the following types of phrases on their websites:

  • “It is insulting to hear mainstream institutions say that 4 years of college outweighs your life experience.”
  • “Your life experience alone qualifies you for a college degree. So just write us an essay.”
  • “Buy a ‘novelty’ degree just to impress your friends, co-workers and employers.”
  • “Life experience is a better teacher than academic instruction; so you don’t need the instruction.”
  • “Accredition boards are simply exclusive clubs that were originally formed to insure quality standards at Ivy League colleges and universities.”

Diploma mills call themselves schools and usually have glossy web sites that lack the “.edu” normally found at the end of a reputable college or university’s web address url. They either lack a faculty list, or their faculty members usually claim degrees from the diploma mill. They ask for credit card payment without requiring class enrollment or attendance; or they simply ask for a life experience essay to meet all requirements. Payment is one set fee for the diploma and shipping costs, rather than a tuition costs based on units or credits.An impressive-looking diploma arrives as quickly as 1-2 weeks.

But don’t do it. Don’t fall for it. Don’t risk your future and the integrity of your career by cheating in the short-term to have it all taken away in the long-term. The sophistication of technology continues to enable easier and easier detection of this type of fraud. The chances of being exposed by an employer, colleague or background check are high.

Instead, earn a reputable online degree or professional certificate from an accredited online school.

If a job loss leaves you with more time on your hands, consider using that time to go back to school. You may even be eligible for grants and other benefits to attend school. Use the Department of Education and California Higher Education Accreditation websites to check out the college or university of your choice.

Don’t fall for the marketing of diploma mill schemes.

Earn your degree; don’t just buy it.

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Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Diploma Mill Purchase is Wrong Turn for Any Career

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

The recent turmoil in a New Jersey school district over the purchase of bogus doctoral degrees by three top administrators has angered taxpayers and embarrassed those at the center of the conflict.

But buying fake college degrees is a wrong turn for any career.

In other words, a diploma mill degree may appear to be a career maker in the beginning — by opening doors to a job, a promotion or a raise. However, it often later transforms into a career breaker when the revelation of the fake degree causes the career to unravel.

The three administrators of the Freehold Regional School District purchased their fake degrees using taxpayer money, which has led New Jersey lawmakers to propose a ban on such practices.

But why does anyone risk using a diploma mill diploma to acquire a job or promotion? And why are diploma mills thriving to the tune of over $200 million a year?

There are several reasons why people purchase fake online degrees (also known as life experience degrees); but none of those reasons are honest or honorable. A few reasons include:

  • “It takes too long to earn a real college degree.”
  • “I don’t have what it takes to make it through an accredited online degree program.”
  • “My long years of experience add up to a college degree; so I’ll buy a diploma to prove it.”
  • “I didn’t know that paying a fee to receive my college degree without taking any classes was wrong.”
  • “I bought this “novelty degree” as a joke; but people thought it was real. So I tried it out on a job application.”

There is a perception that being dishonest about one’s educational qualifications carries a low risk. However, the opposite is true. Getting caught is becoming the rule more than the exception. For example:

  • Over 9,000 names of fake degree buyers were publicly released following the Steve and Dixie Randock diploma mill case in Seattle. The list led to a number of investigations into employees across the U.S.; and some were fired or demoted over falsified credentials.
  • The Internet now makes it easier for employers to discover fake degrees. Websites for the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation are simple to access and maintain databases of the accredited colleges and universities in the U.S.
  • Even though employers may not check up on employees entering low-level jobs, they are likely to check into the backgrounds of current employees or applicants who may be given access to sensitive company information.
  • Reputable colleges and universities are eager to help employers verify the college degrees of their workers; since counterfeit degrees bearing the names of these schools have become big business as well.
  • A questionable credential is often discovered by inquisitive, jealous or suspicious co-workers.

Wise career climbers won’t make this kind of wrong turn into the world of diploma mills. Instead, they will earn an accredited college degree.

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Popularity: 9% [?]

Posted by vida

Teacher, Candidate Under Fire for Questionable College Degrees

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

A Wylie teacher and a Lake Elsinore city council candidate are in the same boat. Both are under fire for claiming unaccredited online degrees among their credentials.

In Wylie, Texas, teacher and city councilman Merrill Young has resigned from his job as a teacher in the Wylie Independent School Districe amidst allegations of fraud relating to his education credentials.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) revoked his teaching certificate when Young appeared on a list of fake degree buyers ’outed’ following a recent and heavily-publicized Seattle diploma mill case. In that case, over $7 million was earned by owners of the illegal business for churning out fake college diplomas.

Young reportedly paid $100 for a fake bachelor’s degree in business administration from Concordia College & University. Concordia boldly states on its website that its college diplomas can be mailed out in as little as 2 weeks following a credit card payment – with no college work required.

The Texas Education Agency considers Concordia College & University to be an unaccredited institution whose fake college degrees cannot be used in Texas to obtain a job, promotion or pay raise. The TEA continues to investigate the case.

In Lake Elsinore, Californa, city council candidate Amy Marie Bhutta is dodging allegations that her doctoral degree is unaccredited.

Bhutta, who is a high school teacher, earned legitimate bachelor’s and master’s degrees from accredited universities; and a doctoral degree was not required for her teaching job. However, during the course of her campaign for a city council spot, opponents raised questions about the source of the ’Ph.D.’ designation that Bhutta so prominently and proudly displayed next to her name.

The online doctorate, received from City University Los Angeles (CULA) in 2003, is in question because it is not accredited by any of the major national or regional accrediting bodies. CULA may not belong in the category of fraudulent diploma mills; however, the school has not met the stringent requirements of accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Both cases, Young’s and Bhutta’s, illustrate the likelihood of fake or unaccredited degrees eventually coming to light. Young claims he did not know that his online degree was a phony. Bhutta says CULA required mounds of college-level work, including a doctoral dissertation; but that she cannot remain supportive of the school, due to problems with its accrediting agency.

The lesson in all of this is that potential students should carefully check out any traditional colleges or online schools they are seriously considering as possibilities for enrollment. The U.S. Department of Education has information on accreditation, a listing of reputable accrediting bodies, and a database of all accredited U.S. colleges and universities. But as consumers, students should not forget to heed the caveat, ’Buyer Beware’.

Merrill Young now works for the Wylie ISD as an instructional special education aide while his case is being investigated; and Amy Bhutta continues on the campaign trail, sans the Ph.D. behind her name.

diploma mills, fake degrees, online degrees, online schools, Wylie, fraudulent degree, online doctorate, CHEA, higher education, US Department of Education, Lake Elsinore

Popularity: 15% [?]

Posted by vida