Monday, November 4, 2013

Even diploma mills are legitimately accredited now.


Another Accredited Institution Selling Bogus Degrees

By Professor Doom

 

“That’s a diploma mill.”

--typical epithet against a non-accredited institution.

 

     Ah, the diploma mill, the “bogus” institution that you can send a check to, and get a degree in short order, no classes, tests, paper, or study required. Perhaps the only thing that distinguishes an accredited institution from a non-accredited institution is that, hey, at least the accredited institution isn’t a dreaded diploma mill.

     Or is it? I’ve literally seen with my own eyes dozens of students graduate with degrees that I simply don’t understand how they’ve deserved, because either I’ve personally failed them or I know I didn’t see them in a course by me which the supposed graduate must have taken. But, perhaps my memory simply failed repeatedly.

     Then I came across this article, the title of which says it all:


     Apparently, a completely legitimately accredited school, Dickenson State, was selling degrees to foreign students, by the boatload. The true extent of the fraud is unknown, of course, but it’s in the hundreds.  Dickenson State is a small school, so I rather imagine that at graduation there were plenty of faculty wondering who exactly these graduates were…much like I and other faculty at other small schools have wondered.

     The president of the institution was fired, and two other administrators retired, with the usual issuance of golden parachutes on the way out. No criminal charges, of course, and even though it’s obvious such degrees could only have been award with many co-conspirators, officials are confident that just those three guys leaving will solve the problem. One administration member killed himself; one can only guess why.

     Particularly stunning is how despite the cloud hanging over the former president, he had no difficulty landing another plum job in higher education. I’d ask “where else can you commit such open fraud and still be quite qualified to work in that same job?” but anyone reading the news nowadays knows the answer: banking and politics. I hate that my investigations of higher education have revealed how far it’s sunk.

     I should point out here, that in a mostly online institution, thousands of degrees could be issued without nearly as many conspirators as at a “traditional” institution, and faculty wouldn’t even have a clue…but I’ve already pointed out how nobody in their right mind should pay for (or hire) an online degree. If that link doesn’t convince you, go to www.boostmygrades.com and see with your own eyes how trivial it is to hire someone to take your online courses for you.

 

“The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.”

--as part of accreditation, Dickenson had to agree that it meets this obligation. Very few institutions do so, not that lack of integrity seems to ever be grounds for losing accreditation.

 

     Anyway, back to Dickenson State. Since accreditation is run by administrators, and since Dickenson State is taking REAL good care of their administrators (again, where else can you commit open fraud and retire on a fat pension from it…), it’s quite possible that even with hundreds of phony degrees issued, the school won’t lose accreditation. As is always the case, it takes years and years of fraud before anyone catches on—the phony degree scam started in 2003, and didn’t become public knowledge until 2012. One can hardly expect any less when the foxes are guarding the henhouse.

    Even if accreditation is pulled, it will take another year or two before that happens…one can’t help but wonder if the school won’t have a “degree fire sale” in that case, selling, I again emphasize, fully legitimately accredited degrees, right up until accreditation is pulled. Yes, this would further victimize the poor students that are legitimately going there, but why not grab a few more bucks on the way out? It would pay for more golden parachutes, after all.

     Time and again I’ve shown accreditation is an utterly blind and impotent regulator, incapable of noticing even the most overwhelming of fraud going on in the institutions being accredited. How can anyone view accreditation as a seal of legitimacy when a “legitimately accredited” diploma mill can operate for 9 years before being noticed? Who really believes this is the only one?

Think about it.

 (Update: after I wrote this, the accreditor made it clear there would be no loss of accreditation, even for this egregious act of fraud)