Lists Its Top 10 Signs That Your College May Be a Diploma Mill

by Hank

Members of the military must be careful when looking for colleges that offer degrees online.  The nature of a military member’s job often requires non-traditional education options in order to earn a degree that fits in with his or her schedule, deployment cycles, etc.  Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines must be on guard from fake, worthless degrees that are often pumped out of “Diploma Mills” that promise easy degrees for very little work.  Like most things in life, there are no free rides.  If a degree sounds too good or easy to obtain, it usually is worthless.

There are many resources out there to help in addition to the military sites. is an excellent website that has a wealth of knowledge about finding the right college to fit your needs. is the only consumer advocacy group in the United States dedicated to assisting online students in analyzing, comparing, rating, and ranking online colleges and universities.  One of the best features of the website is that it does not try and sell you a particular program. gives you impartial, straightforward information about college programs regardless of affiliation, advertising, etc.  Unlike other “online degree directories,” is staffed by higher education experts who evaluate, screen, filter, and analyze each school that applies to be included in their online education directory. actively reports on “Diploma Mills”, keeping students informed about which colleges they should probably stay away from.  The website has a database that documents consumer alerts on more than 300 fake online colleges and university scams that run rampant on the internet.

So, what are the Top 10 Signs of a Diploma Mill….

  1. Admission criteria consist entirely of possession of a valid Visa or MasterCard.
  2. You are offered a college degree based on a “review” of your faxed resume.
  3. You are promised a diploma within 30 days of application.
  4. You are promised a degree in exchange for a lump sum.
  5. Your prospective online university has multiple complaints on file.
  6. Your online “admission counselor” assures you that international online universities can’t be accredited in the United States.
  7. The school’s website either lists no faculty or lists faculty who have attended schools accredited by bogus agencies.
  8. The university offers online degrees almost exclusively to U.S. citizens but is conveniently located in a foreign country.
  9. Your chosen university is not accredited.
  10. Your chosen university is accredited … but NOT by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

You do not want to get a degree that future employers or other colleges will view as worthless.  To ensure that your education is a good one, you must only enroll in accredited colleges and universities.  Accreditation provides for the independent review of education programs for the purpose of determining if that education is of uniform and sound quality.  In the United States, the most widely recognized form of university accreditation comes from the regional accreditation boards. 

The six regional accreditation boards are:

  • MSA-Middle States Association
  • NASC-Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges
  • NCA-North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
  • NEASC-New England Association of Schools & Colleges
  • SACS-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
  • WASC-Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

{ 1 comment }

Jerry April 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

Once again, as you mentioned, this leads back to the old adage… “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Any school that is a REAL school is going to require some work and effort to obtain a degree… this is true no matter how much life experience you have. If you want to pursue higher education, then it is well to look for accredited institutions that have the added insurance of a solid history, rather than a quick worthless sheet of paper.

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