With so many people today turning to online colleges and universities to get an advanced degree, a mad rush is on to fill the needs of these education consumers. And it's no wonder that online degree programs are so popular because they allow the student to work at their own pace, set their own flexible schedule for study and homework, and save money by eliminating all the costs associated with staying on campus.
However, the popularity of these online education programs has produced a new internet scam, the diploma mill. By posing as a legitimate school some web sites are able to cheat consumers out of their hard earned money instead by providing essentially worthless online degrees at an apparent bargain. And unfortunately, many have been very successful at this, deceiving many smart and intelligent online consumers. So how do you protect yourself against this kind of online education fraud?
Well the best way is to be sure that any school or distance-learning program that you choose is fully accredited. This means that the school or program has been reviewed by its peers in the education field and validated or verified as providing a high quality education according to excepted educational standards. This assures you then that the education you will receive at this particular online college or university is worth investing in because it is generally recognized for its educational value. It also means that a degree in this program will be valuable as you attempt to find employment later on.
Although being sure that a distance learning program is fully accredited is important, these days is becoming necessary to take it even a step further. It seems that some of these diploma mills had even gone so far as to set up their own accreditation agencies so that it will appear that they are an accredited school when in reality they are only accrediting themselves through another agency that they also own.
So how can you make sure that a school is legitimately accredited then? Perhaps the best way to do that is to visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or CHEA website. This is a nongovernmental agency that does research on accreditation issues in the education field. Basically they maintain a list of accrediting agencies that are up to proper standards. So all you have to do to be sure that a particular distance learning school is legitimately accredited is to visit their web site, enter the name of the educational institution, and conduct research to see if it's accreditation is indeed by legitimately recognized agency.
Essentially this means that you not only have to check that an online college or university is accredited, but also that the accrediting agency is reputable as well. This may seem to be a lot of extra steps to have to go through, but doing so will help assure you that whatever distance learning degree program that you choose will be a wise investment for your future education and employment.
Steadman Issenburg writes on many consumer related topics including education. You can find online accredited degree programs and accredited distance learning programs and more by visiting our education website.