When students start their search for colleges and universities offering higher education and training, they often come across degree and diploma mills. A diploma mill is a fraudulent business that deceives you by pretending to be a legitimate college, university or school. They often present themselves as a real university and award degrees in the shortest time without evaluating the eligibility status or academic work from students. Diploma mills make billions of dollars by selling printed fake degrees and transcripts and misleading students. If you check out their websites, you will find misleading and fake information. The degrees awarded by these diploma mills are not accepted by the employers or educational institutions. Many students become the victim of these mills and spend a good deal of money, energy and time and receive neither education nor any valuable credential.
Degree/diploma mills can be broadly categorized into the following:
Diploma mills that openly ‘sell’ degrees for cash:
These diploma mills do not claim to be legitimate and they offer their customers degrees for cash. Customers visiting these websites know that they are getting their degrees from the degree mill and they can ‘order’ their degree in any discipline or for any level. The customers are normally those individuals who want to build their credentials quickly for academic or professional reasons.
Diploma mills that pretend to be legitimate:
These mills are more common and dangerous too as they claim to be real and legit. Students become their victims very easily and they graduate from these mills thinking they have earned some real credentials. Most of these mills require students to do the minimal coursework and they award degrees in a very short amount of time.
Diploma Mills Warning Signs
Keep an eye out for these diploma/degree mill warning signs when you choose an online institute:
- The school’s website has no phone number and contact info.
- Even if the school’s website has provided the phone number, there would be no real person speaking when you call them.
- The school focuses greatly on credit for life experience.
- Prospective students are provided scores of false promises about the degree programs and their acceptance.
- They put extra emphasis on the time duration required to receive a degree (e.g. “Call now and have your degree shipped to you overnight!”).
- The school’s name is very similar to the name of a traditional school.
- Degrees are ‘shipped’ in a very small period of time – only a few days or weeks.
Earning a degree from a degree/diploma mill is wastage of time, money, energy and resources. Make an informed decision and do your research for accredited programs and institutions before choosing one.