Analytic Quality Glossary

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home

 

Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-17, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 9 January, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2017.

 

A fast-paced novel of conjecture and surprises
   

_________________________________________________________________

Diploma mill


core definition

A diploma mill is an organisation or institution that issues certified qualifications for an appropriate payment, with little or no requirements for the individual to demonstrate full competence at the relevant level in the discipline area.


explanatory context

Diploma mills provide a qualification for money without expecting the recipient to undergo the normal learning process of a student. Diploma mills are, in essence fraudulent operations. They are surprisingly big business, more so in systems with a significant private sector. The US has a marked problem with diploma mills but they are a worldwide phenomenon.

Jean Avnet Morse provided the following evidence to the United States House of Representatives, 23 September 2004 (Morse, 2004)

DIPLOMA MILLS: WHAT ARE THEY AND WHOM DO THEY AFFECT?

Diploma mills are a growing problem. They affect students and employers in the U.S. and abroad. Setting up attractive websites is an easy lure. A 2002 study by the GAO documented that the federal government had hired applicants from degree mills and had paid for courses at degree mills for its employees.

According to some estimates, there are over 300 unaccredited universities operating, selling degrees for thousands of dollars, awarding as many as 500 Ph.D.s every month, and earning in the aggregate $200,000,000 per year [John Bear, “Diploma Mills,” University Business, March 2000].    Holders of fake degrees most frequently serve as teachers, police officers, counselors, medical administrators, expert witnesses and business managers [Alan Contreras, testimony to Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, May 2004].

It is helpful to consider the different types of diploma mills, because they can be dealt with differently. The term has been applied to:

•  Diplomas granted with no work by the student

•  Diplomas granted without sufficient college-level course work that is normally required for a degree

•  Good quality diplomas granted by institutions that are not accredited by a legitimate accreditor, so that it is difficult for the public to determine their quality. They may or may not be diploma mills.

•  All on-line or other non-traditional degrees, regardless of whether they are granted by institutions accredited by legitimate accreditors, are sometimes labeled “diploma mills.” As discussed later, this is unfair to excellent institutions that deliver quality education through non-traditional means.

 

On 3 January 2017, Elizabeth Redden reported an indictement in an alleged diploma mill case:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has charged an executive with the Pakistani company Axact in connection to an alleged diploma mill scheme. Umair Hamid has been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with what the U.S. Attorney's Office press release describes as “a worldwide ‘diploma mill’ scheme that collected at least approximately $140 million from tens of thousands of consumers.”
Hamid served as assistant vice president of international relations for Axact, which was the subject of a May 2015 New York Times investigation into the company's alleged trade in selling fake academic degrees. The U.S. government alleges that after Pakistani law enforcement shut Axact down and prosecuted certain individuals associated with the company, Hamid resumed selling fake diplomas to American customers in exchange for up-front fees "based upon false and fraudulent representations." He also allegedly traveled to the U.S. to open a bank account used to collect money from customers.

A Wired News item in 2004 is indicative:

Welcome to Harrington University (also known as the University of San Moritz, University of Palmers Green and University of Devonshire, among others), where anyone can purchase a bachelor's or master's degree -- no tests or coursework required -- for the bargain price of several thousand dollars. The "university," owned by an American resident in Romania, uses mail-drop addresses in the United Kingdom, printing services in Jerusalem and banking options in Cyprus. The operation has sold 70,000 diplomas in the United States alone, raking in over $100 million, according to diploma mill expert John Bear.


The State of Oregon had a web site that lists 'unaccredited' institutions.

The following list of unaccredited degree suppliers is maintained by ODA for the protection of the citizens of Oregon and their post-secondary schools by identifying those degree suppliers that do not meet the requirements of ORS 348.609(1). This is not a comprehensive list and new suppliers emerge every day, many of which remain unknown to ODA. The list contains degree suppliers that may not now exist, may never have existed, exist only as unregulated businesses, operate under exemptions in state laws or operate with state approval outside Oregon (Oregon Student Assistance Commission, undated).


analytical review

According to the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board (2004):

A “diploma mill” or “degree mill” is generally defined as a substandard or fraudulent college that provides degrees to students who do little or no college-level work.  Some diploma mills are outright frauds, sending a diploma to any applicant who pays a fee. Others may require applicants to take a few classes or document their work or life experience for credit.  

 

Military.com Education (2004) states:

A diploma mill is an institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency, granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or because of the lack of proper standards, are worthless. Some are simple frauds: just a P.O. box where people send money in exchange for a piece of paper that purports to be a college degree. Others require nominal work from the student, but do not require college-level course work that is normally required for a degree.

 

The Missouri Department of Higher Education (2004) states in answer to the question, ‘What is a diploma mill?’:

A dictionary definition is “an unaccredited school or college that grants relatively worthless diplomas, as for a fee.” Alternatively, a diploma mill might be described as an institution of higher education operating without supervision of a state or professional agency and granting diplomas which are either fraudulent or, because of the lack of proper standards, worthless.

 

Word Education news (2004) has a similar definition:

A diploma or degree mill is an entity that sells postsecondary credentials without requiring appropriate academic achievement. In many jurisdictions inside and outside the United States, diploma mills are illegal. These scam operations can be difficult to trace because they usually use mail drops and multiple addresses. Numerous degree mills operate on the Internet, where they often masquerade as institutions of distance learning.

 

Cohen and Winch (2010, p. 4) define diploma mills as follows:

Diploma mills are mostly online entities that offer substandard or bogus degrees in exchange for payment and not much else. Often these entities will grant a “degree” based on the submission of a résumé detailing life experience, and will even let the applicant choose their own subject and year of graduation. Others might require the student to do some work, but because of the lack of recognised accreditation or authorisation to grant degrees, their certificates are worthless.


associated issues

The following are examples of an approach from a diploma mill:

1.UNIVERSITY DIPLOMAS OBTAIN A PROSPEROUS FUTURE, MONEY-EARNING POWER, AND THE PRESTIGE THAT COMES WITH HAVING THE CAREER POSITION YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF. DIPLOMAS FROM PRESTIGIOUS NON-ACCREDITED UNIVERSITIES BASED ON YOUR PRESENT KNOWLEDGE AND LIFE EXPERIENCE If you qualify, no required tests, classes, books or examinations. Bachelors', Masters', MBA's, Doctorate & Ph.D. degrees available in your field. CONFIDENTIALITY ASSURED CALL NOW TO RECEIVE YOUR DIPLOMA WITHIN 2 WEEKS 1-206-203-xxxx CALL 24HRS, 7 DAYS A WEEK, INCLUDING SUNDAYS & HOLIDAYS. Martiniere [luciala@yorko.xxxx.net]

2. Get your degree without going to school.

OBTAIN A PROSPEROUS FUTURE, MONEY-EARNING POWER, AND THE PRESTIGE THAT COMES WITH HAVING THE CAREER POSITION YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF. DIPLOMAS FROM PRESTIGIOUS NON-ACCREDITED UNIVERSITIES BASED ON YOUR PRESENT KNOWLEDGE AND LIFE EXPERIENCE

If you qualify, no required tests, classes, books or examinations. Bachelors', Masters', MBA's, Doctorate & Ph.D. degrees available in your field.

CONFIDENTIALITY ASSURED

CALL NOW TO RECEIVE YOUR DIPLOMA WITHIN 2 WEEKS  1-206-350-xxxx CALL 24HRS, 7 DAYS A WEEK, INCLUDING SUNDAYS & HOLIDAYS

 

Note, e-mail address and phone numbers anonymised.


related areas

See also

degree mill

accreditation mill


Sources

Cohen E.B and Winch, R., (2010), Diploma and accreditation mills: Exposing academic credential abuse, Verifile Limited, 20 January 2010, available at http://www.international.ac.uk/resources/Diploma%20and%20Accreditation%20Mills.pdf accessed 29 January 2011, not available 12 July 2012.

Military.com Education, 2004, What is a diploma mill? http://www.military.com/Education/Content/0,13302,Education_Diploma,00.html , accessed 12 July 2012; on 21 September 2012, the page was titled: 'Avoiding Diploma Mills', still available 3 January 2017 (© 2017).

Missouri Department of Higher Education, 2004, Diploma Mills, http://www.dhe.mo.gov/mdhecentraldiplomamills.shtml, this page no longer accessible (checked 29 January 2011)

Morse, J.A., 2004, Statement of Jean Avnet Morse, Executive Director, Middle States Commission on Higher Education on Behalf of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (CRAC), Before the Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21 st Century Competitiveness United States House of Representatives: Diploma Mills , 23 September 2004, available at http://msche.org/publications/diplomamills.doc accessed 8 July 2009: this page no longer accessible at this address (checked 29 January 2011) but can be seen here.

Oregon Student Assistance Commission, undated, Unaccredited colleges: List of suppliers http://www.osac.state.or.us/oda/unaccredited.aspx , accessed 21 September 2012 , page not available 3 January 2017.

Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2004, Frequently Asked Questions about Diploma Mills, http://www.hecb.wa.gov/autheval/daa/diplomamillsFAQ.asp, not available 12 July 2012.

Redden, E., 2017, 'Indictement in an alleged diploma mill case', Inside Higher Ed, 3 January 2017, accessed 9 January 2017.

Wired News , 2004, ‘Down by the Diploma Mills Stream’http://www.wired.com/news/school/0,1383,54596,00.html, accessed 21 September 2012, page not available 3 January 2017.

World Education Service (WES) 2004, What is a Diploma Mill? http://www.wes.org/hotnews.asp?id=19&show=archive, not available 12 July 2012


copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2017



A NOVEL Who bombed a Birmingham mosque?

Top

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home