8 ways to spot a diploma mill

TAMPA (WFLA) – Sorting out degree mills and fake diplomas from legitimate schools and valid academic credentials may seem confusing, given the explosion of online education, for-profit schools and an alphabet soup of accreditation agencies, some of which are fake.

Here are 8 questions to help you spot a diploma mill:

  1. Does the school require anything beyond life experience or prior academic study to earn an advanced degree? If not, it’s a fraud.
  2. Does the school have academic accreditation from a recognized source such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation? Beware of fake accreditation agencies.
  3. Does the school have an actual address you can find on a map that leads to a real campus and not a mail drop?
  4. Are you promised an instant degree for a lump sum payment based only on a phone conversation?
  5. Are there complaints online?
  6. Does the school have a phone contact number with a regular area code or is there only a toll-free line that may end up in a foreign country?
  7. Will a recognized school such as USF accept credits from the school that is offering the degree?
  8. Does the offer of a degree without any academic effort on your part sound too good to be true?

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