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.
Not sure how you’re going to pay for college? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a guide to help you figure it out.
College students spend a lot of time worrying about their studies that sometimes they can forget the importance of taking care of their health. While college life involves new challenges, responsibilities and excitement, it can also be a stressful time. Students often deal with the social pressures of drinking, drugs and sexual activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following tips for staying healthy and safe while in college:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Get enough sleep
- Get regular physical activity
- Maintain your health with checkups and vaccinations
- If you decide to have sex, practice safe sex
- Make smart choices about alcohol and drugs
- Get help if you are stressed or depressed
Physical stress from sleep deprivation, making poor eating decisions, substance abuse and more can lead to stress in relationships, classes and overall well being. Knowing who and where to look for help when feeling overwhelmed is one of the first steps to taking control. The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health is offering free publications for college students on topics ranging from sunscreens and tanning, sexual health, depression and much more.
View and order free publications on college students’ health.
Image description: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education developed this Financial Aid Shopping Sheet to clearly and simply explain to students how much their college education will cost.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a letter to college and university presidents asking them to adopt it as part of their financial aid awards for the 2013-14 school year.