Online Learner Beware! Online Diploma Mill Scams

Summary: We all know what "Buyer Beware" means. In the world of online classrooms and the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), almost anyone can acquire an online diploma, certificate, and/or degree. Similar to "Buyer Beware," in "Online Learner Beware," product scams can cause many regrets, frustrations, and often - damaging reputations.

Online Learner Beware! Online Degree Mill Scams

Higher education institutions and higher education accreditation agencies are aware of this growing problem. While many individuals can spot a diploma mill, several students walk into the scam without any knowledge of doing so, until its time for them to prove their credibility.The Internet provides several educational benefits. It can revive old frauds into new scams. For a fee or less rigorous academic work, diploma/degree mills are fraudulent schools, selling fake high school diplomas or college degrees (Washington Student Achievement Council [WSAC], n.d.). They lack formal accreditation, which ensures high quality education (WSAC, n.d.). Diploma/degree mills started in the 19th century when the value of higher education dramatically increased, providing a market for fraudulent companies (WSAC, n.d.).  The 1944 GI Bill provided educational opportunities for WWII veterans and refueled the growth of degree mills, resulting to government intervention, requiring all federally funded schools to be accredited (WASC). This mandate created another market: fake accreditation mills (WSAC, n.d.).The rise of online diploma/degree and accreditation mills is a serious problem. While many students knew what they were getting into, several individuals do not realize the magnitude of their actions. Eventually, they discover that their credits are non-transferrable or that they do not meet the pre-requisites to attend college.  Most importantly, diploma/degree mills provide fake realities for individuals who will not acquire the gainful employment and bright future that they hope for.References

Washington Student Achievement Council [WSAC] (n.d.). What is a diploma mill? Retrieved from

United States Department of Education [USDE] (n.d.). Diploma mills and accreditation-diploma mills.  Retrieved from