Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Diploma Mill's Squared

by Andrew Gillen

The NY Times had an interesting article over the weekend on diploma mills being run by a couple in Washington. They started over 120 fake schools, and awarded fake degrees to at least 350 federal employees. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with CHEA's Dr. Gollin estimating "that such companies sold 100,000 to 200,000 phony degrees a year."

The fact that states like Oregon have to take matters into their own hands, and publish a website listing diploma mills indicates that others are really dropping the ball here. (I don't necessarily agree with Oregon outlawing employers from hiring people with degrees from diploma mills - people should be free to make mistakes such as not checking the resumes of applicants without violating the law.)

Question for the real accreditors: Why aren't you doing more to point these diploma mills out? In your defense, CHEA does have a few things on it's site about the issue, but seriously. You might get a hard time from some people saying you're just trying to stomp out the competition - which you should avoid doing (i.e. don't go after real schools that don't have accreditation like the Acton MBA school)- but as long as you only target true diploma mills, your actions will be defensible.

Question for the government: Why aren't you doing more? The jurisdictional nonsense between the FBI and Department of Education is unacceptable. The most shocking part was the revelation that the couple "created accreditation mills." This falls squarely on the government to combat, as it is the government which approves real accreditors.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Please, don't recommend more government intervention in the education market. If people are selling degrees, they are satisfying a demand. Maybe we should approach this from the other side by interviewing those who purchased junk bond type degrees? I discovered in my venture funding days that every project I undertook included someone who lied about an earned MBA. They may have taken a couple of course somewhere, but never found time to complete the degree. What can we learn from this?

R. Bishirjian