We’ve linked to a consistent stable of resources throughout this website. Considering the mixed messages consumers get online, from website content to guerrilla marketing, the know-how needed to make an informed decision about diploma mills hinges on having the right resources at your disposal.
The United States Department of Education has the last word on college accreditation. The USDE maintains a list of recognized regional and national accreditation agencies. These are the only entities you need to know. Any others listed by degree mills or low-quality colleges are not considered accredited by the federal government. The USDE list is further broken down into accreditation agencies for distance learning, or online programs, and for specialized field of study accreditors.
The Oregon Office of Degree Authorization is an often-cited resource among anti-diploma mill advocates. Oregon is regarded as the single most proactive state in the fight against sub-par, illegitimate, and bogus degree businesses. The ODA tries hard to maintain a running list of unaccredited colleges and alleged diploma mills. As effective as the list is, you should still cross check every college through other sources, as well. You will also find a list of non-recognized accreditation suppliers, or those NOT recognized by the Department of Education. Again, as comprehensive as this list is, there are other unrecognized accreditors in use by diploma mills. On the unaccredited colleges page, ODA also has two very useful visual aids: U.S. maps that highlight states where degree laws are lax and those where laws are tough or changing.
The Federal Trade Commission publishes a guide for small business employers. The publication, “Avoid Fake Degree Burns By Researching Academic Credentials,” provides employers with best strategies for recognizing a fake degree on an applicant’s resume.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is a non-governmental agency that works hand in hand with the Department of Education. CHEA maintains the integrity of the official accreditation procedures and oversees the duties and responsibilities of the agencies. CHEA posts quite a bit of general information on diploma mills. The list of State-by-State Information on Institutions Licensed or Authorized to Operate breaks down legitimate higher education institutions per state.
The Office of Postsecondary Education maintains this search database of accredited educational institutions. Users may search by institution name, as well as accrediting body, address, and state or city of operation.
Quickly and easily cross-check colleges and accreditors when you have these sources bookmarked.