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Going Back To School? Beware of Diploma Mills And Fake Schools

Updated on April 5, 2015
Cardisa profile image

Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger, and content creator.

The Fake Degree from a Diploma Mill

It's never easy going back to school after many years. I know this, I spent years researching my best options. I personally wanted to do the distance or online education but found many donts along the way.

Searching for online schools isn't as easy as 1-2-3. There are many options available but there are also many scams along the way.

I was in a position that I needed my Degree quickly in order to qualify for a better position. I had a deadline to meet so I thought I would search for accelerated programs. When you type in Accelerated online Bachelors degree in your browser search, you will be amazed how many schools present themselves to you. In the batch of schools you will be told that you can 'earn' your degree in as little as two weeks or days, even hours.

Curiosity will make you want to look. Mark you, you have never search for a school out of your community much more a school online, so naturally you will wonder how this is possible.

Different online colleges present different options, here they are:-

  • Your degree from life experience - most popular
  • An assessment or exam
  • Just say what you want and your diploma will be shipped to you however you need it
  • Novelty diplomas of your choice
  • Replica diplomas of your choice

By far the most popular offer is the life experience degree. This is where it gets tricky. There are legitimate colleges that offer credits for life experience. These credits take into consideration the experience you have in a certain field and the training you have had. These diploma mills however ask you what is your career choice and how long you have worked in this field and from that they offer you your degree with no proof. You can do this completely online in a few minutes. Within two days or so you can have your diploma in your hand. Not only do they offer the diploma but transcripts as well!

Beware of Diploma Mills

Diploma Mills are companies dedicated to providing duplicate, fake or novelty diplomas within a short period of time for a fee.

Characteristics of the diploma mill

  1. Operate online or at a remote location
  2. Offer diplomas within an unreasonably short period of time
  3. No proper examination, research or assessment required
  4. No proper accreditation status
  5. Accredited by accrediting bodies not recognized by the State department or National department on education, usually these bodies are created by the owners of the diploma mill (easy to figure out with a little research).
  6. Names of Diploma mill institution similar to legitimate and accredited schools

Below(left) you will find a list of Diploma mills and on the right a list of legitimate schools with similar names.

Fox News on Diploma Mills

Legitimate Schools with similar names

  1. California Southern University
  2. Ashforth College
  3. Ashworth College
  4. Capital University
  5. American Public University
  6. Rochville Campus - Montgomery University (Maryland)
  7. Alhambra Medical University (Los Angeles)
  8. Radford College (Australia)

Online Diploma Mills

  1. Almeda University
  2. Belford University
  3. LorenzUniversity
  4. California S University/California South University
  5. Ashwood University
  6. Capitol University
  7. Rochville University
  8. American University
  9. Ranford University

Years ago these Diploma Mills operated mostly under the guise of a University but during the last 5 years or so they have become bolder in their offering of these diplomas. No longer operating as colleges or universities but are now telling you that their degrees are fake.

See the list below:-


and the list goes on!


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    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      Bizorro, thank you for stopping by.

      There is actually a way to get an accredited degree in six monthe but it's with an accredited school. Getting a degree in three days or even two weeks is the problem. Diploma mills are a parasite for people who are desperate to earn their credentials. They must be stopped.

      See my hub on how to earn your degree in six months. I will place a link in this hub.

    • bigzorro profile image


      9 years ago from Germany

      Diploma mills and degree mills make it hard for us to find accredited schools where you can obtain a fully legal degree. Also it should be clear for everybody that there is not such a thing that you can get an accelerated degree like in six months. Of course you can get it if you pay but it isn't legal of course.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for the addition Smartchick, well said.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Unfortunately, even accreditation is no guarantee that you are getting your money's worth. Accreditation is relatively easy to get, and there are way too many "colleges" that offer an online degree but that are not competitive when you go out into the market and compete against graduates from other, more reputable institutions.

      Beyond checking accreditation, you should ask around - employers, other students, do a Google search to see if people are ranting and raving about being ripped off by sinking tons of money into a worthless degree.

      Buyers beware!!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Closerlook. I almost got caught when searching for schools online a few years ago. There are diploma mills that offer course, but the courses are bogus and the diplomas are unaccredited. People need to know what to look for in online schools.

    • closerlook profile image


      9 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

      This was a very useful Hub! So many people want to improve their lives while in college, only to be taken advantage of by for profit "schools." People can run up tons of debt and be promised career placement and everything, and when the time comes, nothing...

      People need to know these things.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Mbaker, some diploma mills have fake accreditation that other people might not recognize as fake. Thanks for the comment, you are right many people may not know where to look.

    • mbaker2012 profile image


      10 years ago

      Lack of accreditation tends to be a dead giveaway. Thank you for listing those other points many others would have no idea where to look.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      That's what I say Bdouble28. Some persons are so anxious that they don't stop and check things out first. I think something more drastic needs to be done about these institutions.

    • bdouble28 profile image


      10 years ago

      Diploma mills seem to be still operating even with all the warnings against them, be vigilant.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Jonesy. I really hope some one reading this will get the help they need in deciding upon an accredited degree. It was shocking to me too, to see that numerous amounts of diploma mills online. What I also realize it that once they are caught and shut down they just pop up somewhere else under a different name. The online ones are harder to track by the authorities than the local ones.

    • Jonesy0311 profile image


      10 years ago

      This was an excellent break-down of diploma mill tactics. I received my AA from American Military University (affiliate of APU) and am continuing my BA program there. I was amazed during my own search at the sheer number of disreputable schools offering degrees. In fact, a friend of mine, against my advice, is earning a BA in Criminal Justice from a "college" that is only accredited to grant GEDs! The most important thing is the (regional) accreditation. My mother-in-law spent almost 2 years and who knows how much money in a program she later discovered was not accredited (in this case Nursing at ITT Tech). These organizations are quite clever and the recruiters will use workds like "approved" rather than accredited when talking to potential students. Moreover, the lack of accreditation is usually only mentioned in the fine print on the website, if at all. Most disturbing are those which cite fake accrediting agencies. I'm sure this hub will help someone who is thinking about online schools. Voted up and useful.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      K9, I had such a hard time sorting out the good from the bad. Some were pretty easy to spot but there were others that offered classes and these were the real bummers. What they would do is create their own accreditation bodies to 'verify' that they were accredited. When you clicked on the accreditation links you would be taken to a website that poses as the 'Association'.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Same here Simone, and they are so 'bare faced', they aren't hiding it any more! What's worse, is that people are actually buying their diplomas!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      10 years ago from Northern, California

      Holy crud! What a riveting bit of information. Degree mills can make it a daunting task to find the truth within education. Great topic! Thanks for sharing.



    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      10 years ago from San Francisco

      Few things get me so fired up and angry as degree mills, Cardisa! I'm glad you wrote this Hub!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Ruby, wow, I was wondering if it was a good idea to write about the mills. I assumed more people knew about them. I am glad I decided to do it, as it turned out not as many people knew about them.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Hattie, I ma glad to be of help. I hope you too will go back to school. Thanks for reading.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      10 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am absolutely shocked. I didn't know these Diploma Mills existed, what a sham! Thank you. Great article.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image


      10 years ago from Europe

      Hmm, yes I never know when I am looking at colleges which ones are the right ones. lol Thanks for the insight! :)

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      They are every where and not only diploma mills but unaccredited schools that offer classes. What they keep doing when the authorities catch up with them is to change their locations and create a brand new website.

      Some persons who purchase the diploma actually get away with it because some of the names are so close to popular accredited schools that employers sometimes don't realize the difference.

      Can you believe they even provide verification services?!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      10 years ago

      Yes, I noticed this when I was researching whether with loans, etc. I might be able to afford going after my Masters-I cannot afford it-and discovered simliar Canadian diploma mills as well.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Robin, I have placed the links in the hub below the video.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Robin the best way to find an accredted school is to visit the State department on Education website. Whether it be Florida, New York or any other State. The US Department on Education website also has good info on accreditation and a list of schools.

      If you are from the UK, that department on Education will also provide you with a list of schools.

      I had posted both link in my first back to school hub but I will post them here shortly so you can have a look.

    • Robin Mancini profile image

      Robin Elizabeth Mancini 

      10 years ago from South Jersey/Philadelphia PA

      Hi Cardisa

      Can you tell me ,how would we know what link can I use to find out about an online school?

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      10 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you, I am hoping the hub was good

    • Jen Pearson profile image

      Jen Pearson 

      10 years ago from Alabama

      Great idea for a hub.


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