Diploma mills prey on students looking to achieve a better future. Learn how to avoid these and other education scams.
What Is a Diploma Mill?
A diploma mill is a company that claims to be a high school, technical school, college, university, or other educational institution and grants illegitimate diplomas and degrees for a fee. They promise short programs with little coursework.
As they are not legitimate schools, the credential, diploma or degree earned at a diploma mill is worthless. There is also a risk that the organization may close before you even get the chance to finish the program.
Considerations Before Pursuing Non-Traditional Education Programs
Before pursuing an education program, make sure it is legitimate and that you understand the details of the program you are pursuing.
Here are some warning signs:
- Pushy advertising and aggressive recruiting.
- Low retention and graduation rates.
- Promises of limited coursework and little to no interaction. Legitimate institutions require studying, exams and interaction with classmates and instructors.
- Flat-fee pricing for an entire degree. Legitimate institutions charge by credit, course or semester.
- Unrealistically short timeline to earn a degree. Legitimate institutions may offer accelerated degree programs – even online — however, they still take time.