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Is That Online Degree Really Worth Anything?

Growth in technology has made it easier for more students to have access to online courses to fit higher education into their already busy lives. The flexibility of online courses makes it easy for students to attend class, complete assignments and get their degrees.

But when you’re not meeting with a professor face-to-face or attending classes on a campus, it can be hard to tell a legitimate online college from a fraudulent one. The Internet has made it easier for more and more of these “diploma mills” to spring up and take your money, while granting you a worthless degree.

Diploma mills, so dubbed by the Department of Education, operate without supervision from a state or other professional organization. The degrees they grant are either fraudulent or completely worthless because of a lack of proper educational standards.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests that consumers protect themselves from diploma mills by doing the proper research ahead of time. The BBB also suggests looking for these red flags to alert you to a fraudulent institution:

  • Degrees that can be earned in less time than at an accredited postsecondary institution, an example would be earning a Bachelor’s degree in a few months.
  • Tuition paid on a per-degree basis, or discounts for enrolling in multiple degree programs. Accredited institutions charge by credit hours, course, or semester.
  • Little or no interaction with professors.
  • Names that are similar to well known reputable universities.
  • Addresses that are box numbers or suites. That campus may very well be a mail drop box or someone’s attic.

Learn more about diploma mills and what to watch for before you enroll in an online university.