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Bogus Distance Learning Degrees - how can you tell?
by: Rose Musyoka
With the rise in demand for online distance learning degrees, many bogus learning institutions have mushroomed over the internet with the sole intention of taking advantage of innocent students seeking for a genuine degree. These so-called “Colleges” often attract applicants with their attractive degree programs which are boasts of easy graduation, low tuition fees, no examinations and credit given for life experience, all of which just sound too good to be true. Some of them even go to the extent of prospecting for customers by sending out bulk email citing university degrees for sale.

Therefore, with all the confusion generated, how can students sieve out the genuine from the bogus? This may be especially difficult for distance learning programs when students practically make their choices based on what is shown on a website. In many cases, especially for international students, it may not be feasible to visit the physical site of a college before enrolling. With this, making choices will really depend on the appearance and content of a website, which sometimes may not be an accurate judge of the creditability of a college.

One of the qualifying factors that can be utilized by students to make correct enrolment decisions is by determining the type of college accreditation that has been received by their college of consideration. If the college vaguely states itself as having “nationwide or worldwide accreditation” without stating specifically which regional accreditation body it is accredited with, then most likely this college does not possess legitimate accreditation.

In the U.S., college accreditation is awarded by one of the following six accreditation agencies which are all appointed by the National Board of Education - New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCA), Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA), Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU). Each agency has been allocated responsibility for providing accreditation for schools in specific states. Therefore, it would be best to run checks on a particular online degree institution with the agency offering college accreditation for the state in which the college is registered in.

Another tell-tale sign of bogus degrees offered is when the university advertises itself through mass-mailing email featuring university degrees for sale. Many bogus distance learning institutions prey on people who are desperate for a degree, but don’t have the time and money to go for proper education. That is why these colleges boast of degrees without any examinations, classes, studying or even waiting. There are even websites that offer degrees for just a few hundred dollars which can be ordered and received within 7 days. Furthermore, some of them also have dubious URLs, stating accreditation from agencies which are not any one of the six listed above. Additionally, they offer fixed prices for their Master’s, Bachelor’s, and even Doctorate Degrees. Their justification for awarding degrees will be for giving credit to life experiences such as any type of work experience, any educational background, any workshops or community services attended as well as travel experience, hobbies and even on the number of books that a person has read!

In conclusion, as the awareness on bogus degrees increases amongst prospective employers, degrees obtained through a legitimate avenue of education can sometimes be mistaken for bogus degrees too. Therefore, the best approach to select a college would ideally be based on legitimate college accreditation awarded by the appointed authorities to the respective colleges.




About the author:
Rose Musyoka is the editor of www.distance-learning-college-guide.com where you find answers, information and advice on distance learning colleges, accredited online degrees and online courses. See more related information on why college accreditation is important.



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