High School Diploma/GED Alternative Program Scams

August 10, 2010

High School Diploma/GED Alternative Program Scams

BBB of Acadiana is receiving calls on a company called Nation High School reportedly out of Charlotte North Caroline –although the BBB there can find no such business, it has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F. See report: http://www.bbb.org/charlotte/business-reviews/schools-home-study/nation-high-school-in-charlotte-nc-218555. The company says they provide a “High school diploma for GED alternative program”. This type of companies capitalize on the growth in popularity of distance learning opportunities and are using the freedom of the Internet.

Although many diploma mills claim to be "accredited," their accreditation is occasionally from a bogus, but official-sounding agency that they created. You can use the Internet to check if a school is accredited by a legitimate organization at a new database of accredited academic institutions, posted by the U.S. Department of Education at the Louisiana Department of Education: www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ or http://www.doe.state.la.us/ or call 877-453-2721 for more information.

So how can you tell if the institution you're thinking about is legitimate? The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana suggests you do some homework and watch for these red flags:

  • Degrees that can be earned in less time than at a traditional college
  • A list of accrediting agencies that sounds a little too impressive. Some schools list accreditation by organizations that are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or imply official approval by mentioning of state “registration” or licensing. When in doubt check with the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (www.chea.org).
  • Tuition paid on a per-degree basis, or discounts for enrolling in multiple degree programs. Traditional colleges 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.
  • No Studies, No Exams, Get a Degree for Your Experience. Diploma mills grant degrees for "work or life experience" alone. Accredited colleges may give a few credits for specific experience pertinent to a degree program, but not an entire degree.
  • * No Attendance. Legitimate colleges or universities, including online schools, require substantial course work.
  • No Waiting. Operations that guarantee a degree in a few days, weeks, or even months aren't legitimate. If an ad promises that you can earn a degree very quickly, it's probably a diploma mill.

For more information contact us at 337.981.3497 or log on to www.bbb.org.