Baltimore, MD - Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland alerts degree seekers of the outcome of an investigation into a 'diploma mill,' an unregulated institution granting degrees with few or no academic requirements.
Wilford University claims to be an accredited online institution that has offered various certificate and degree programs, including business, nursing, education and engineering, since 1990. It entices prospective students by advertising a 45 percent promotion rate and an average salary of $250,000 among its alumni.
However, a BBB investigation revealed that its boasted reputation is not what it seems.
Despite listing the Association for Accreditation of Business Schools & Programs on its website, the reputable association was unable to confirm that Wilford University is accredited. Wilford University also states that it maintains accreditation with European Accreditation Board for Online Education and International Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Education. BBB discovered both organizations to be fictitious.
Other BBB findings included a creation date of September 2013 for Wilford's website and the site's lack of any physical address.
"How could an online business be in operation for over ten years, as Wilford claims, without a website," asks Angie Barnett, President/CEO, Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland. "Typically, colleges charge by the credit hour, not by the degree. It's a clear sign of caution," added Barnett.
It is possible to further your education online through an accredited program. However, BBB urges persons looking to enhance their resume with a degree to carefully research a prospective college's credentials and search www.bbb.org before providing personal or financial information. By representing a worthless degree to an employer or potential employer, the employee risks rejection and in some cases prosecution.
The U.S. Department of Education provides a list of recognized accrediting agencies on its website. Degree seekers should research advantages and disadvantages between choosing a degree offered through a regionally accredited program or one that is nationally accredited. Always verify accreditation with the organization providing the distinction. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation Database is a helpful resource for anyone interested in advancing their education.
BBB offers some tell-tale signs of a diploma mill:
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.
Flat Fee. Many diploma mills charge a flat fee for an entire degree. Legitimate colleges charge by the credit, course or semester.
Universal Guarantee of Credit Transfer. By the unique nature of a specialized degree, it is impossible for an institution to provide a blanket guarantee that credits will transfer to every institution or program.
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.
Click Here To Order Now! Some diploma mills push themselves through aggressive sales tactics. Accredited colleges don't use spam or high-pressure telemarketing to market themselves. Some diploma mills also advertise in newspapers, magazines, and on the Web.
Advertising through spam or pop-ups. If the school caught your attention through an unsolicited email or pop-up ad, it may be a diploma mill. Legitimate institutions, including distance learning programs, won't advertise through spam or pop-ups.