What is a diploma
A diploma mill (also
known as a degree mill) is an organization that awards academic degrees and
diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by
official educational accrediting bodies. The purchaser can then claim to
hold an academic degree. These degrees are often awarded based on vaguely
construed life experience.
A diploma mill will pose
as a real university and rewards degrees without evaluating any (or very
little) academic work from its students. They make money by selling printed
degrees and providing academic references and falsified transcripts to
individuals who purchase degrees from them.
A degree mill sells
varying levels of degrees, from bachelor's degrees to doctoral degrees. A
diploma mill typically has two types of customers:
for a genuine academic program and are unaware that they are enrolling at
a degree mill.
Individuals who are
aware that they are committing fraud and want to build their credentials
quickly for academic or professional reasons.
The Internet can be a
place where scams and counterfeit operations can target victims. It is not
difficult to register a website with a .edu domain
Most schools disclose
their complete contact information and mailing addresses with their
registration information. Diploma mills have every reason to hide and mask
their location, because they sell fraudulent degrees.
How can I tell if
a school is a diploma mill?
They often have names
similar to well-known colleges or universities, but fail to mention an
accrediting agency or name a fake accrediting agency.
frequently changes addresses, sometimes moving from state to state.
Overemphasis on the
speed and brevity with which someone can receive a degree (e.g. "Call now
and have your degree shipped to you overnight!").
Degrees can be earned
in far less time than normal or the diploma is printed with a specific
There is no selectivity
in admissions, or any questions about previous test scores or detailed
No interaction with
professors or faculty (e.g. only two emails are received from a
Degree requirements are
vague or unspecified, lacking class descriptions and without any mention
of how many credit hours are required to complete a program.
Tuition and fees are
typically on a per-degree basis.
Grade point average
(GPA) and academic honors (e.g. Summa Cum Laude) can be specified
at the time of purchase.
typically include numerous spelling and grammatical errors, sometimes on
the diploma itself.
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