Enrollment in online courses rises, BBB warns avoid faulty degree programs
DENVER – Those pursuing post-secondary education are faced with many options for degree and certification programs, and the Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder warns students to choose carefully. One area of significant growth during the past decade is online colleges and courses, which the BBB says can be confused with disreputable degree programs such as diploma mills.
“College is a significant investment and commitment so students should choose institutions they can trust,” said Su Hawk, president and CEO for the BBB of Denver/Boulder.
Diploma or degree mills are unregulated institutions granting degrees with few or no academic requirements, which make those degrees practically useless in the workforce, military, university setting or when applying for the Dream Act. Colleges and universities accredited by legitimate organizations undergo a rigorous review of the quality of their educational programs. The same is true of high schools. Although many diploma mills claim to be “accredited,” their accreditation is from a bogus, but official-sounding agency they created.
The BBB encourages students to always make sure the college or university they are enrolling in is accredited from one of the regional accreditation boards. The U.S. Department of Education has a searchable database of accredited post-secondary schools at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation. Also check the organization at denver.bbb.org to see how it handles business transactions, and find BBB Accredited institutions at findacompany.org.
The BBB offers the following red flags to help identify online diploma mills:
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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 112 local, independent BBBs across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit denver.bbb.org for more information.