The University Faculty Senate of the City University of New York

 535 E. 80th Street, New York, NY 10021 - 212-794-5538 (phone), 212-794-5508 (fax) Email 

Sapienta est Potestas  



As faculty are responsible for determining who are to join their ranks they must insure that the academic credentials claimed by candidates for appointments are bona fide.    Academic Departments and the offices of Faculty and Staff Relations at the College and University level should be vigilant in vetting the academic credentials claimed by candidates for appointments. The UFS provides this information as means to check on  accreditations for the vetting of claims of academic credentials.

BE AWARE that it is unfortunately quite easy to obtain materials that appear to be academic degrees and even transcripts that appear to be authentic at such locations as   http://www.phonydiploma.com/   And then again there are phony diplomas and diploma mills and now there are even phony accreditation associations as well !!   

There are services that can be used to examine the legitimacy of claims of academic credentials.  One such is the World Educational Services.


Legitimate oversight over both accreditation organizations and institutions of higher learning is carried on by the COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION ACCREDITATION   (CHEA) (read about it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_for_Higher_Education_Accreditation )   The CHEA provides useful information on accredited institutions and accreditation organizations as well as prudent advice concerning diploma mills and unauthenticated claims.

DIPLOMA MILLS     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma_mill

DIPLOMA MILLS in the USA   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diploma_mills_in_the_United_States

UNRECOGNIZED ACCREDITATION ASSOCIATIONS of HIGHER LEARNING http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unrecognized_accreditation_associations_of_higher_learning

ACCREDITATION MILLS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accreditation_mill


From the Chronicle of Higher Education on  June 24, 2009

Accreditation Group and UNESCO Team Up to Take On Diploma Mills

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization put out a joint statement today with suggestions for combating diploma mills around the world. 

The statement is short on details, instead outlining a set of general goals. For instance, it says that higher-education leaders should confirm that providers are in good standing with recognized accreditation and quality-assurance bodies in other countries. But often the rub is knowing which bodies are recognized and which are bogus.

It also suggests developing an international network for information and alerts about degree-mill activity. But how such a network would work and who might run it is left to the imagination.

The problem of international diploma mills is a thorny one. Because what amounts to accreditation varies from country to country, figuring out whether a foreign institution is legitimate often isnt a simple matter, and shutting down illegitimate operators can be next to impossible.

Even in the United States, diploma mills have moved from state to state to avoid the authorities. In recent years, though, some states have gotten tougher on diploma-mill operators. Mississippi once known as a haven for unaccredited colleges passed a law in 2006 that cracked down on diploma mills, and it seems to be working.
Perhaps the best list of unaccredited colleges is maintained by Oregon's Office of Degree Authorization. 

---Thomas Bartlett





"A small group of higher education, accreditation and quality assurance and credential evaluation experts came together in 2008 to explore the challenge and problem of “degree mills” or bogus providers of higher education, particularly as these operations affect the growing internationalization of higher education. Seeking to stimulate an international dialogue, the group developed a series of suggestions for eff ective practice in this area. The statement that emerged is intended for academic staff and administrators, accreditation and quality assurance professionals, credential evaluators, national governments and international organizations concerned with quality in higher education in an international setting. It is also intended to guide students, particularly from developing countries, in seeking opportunities for international education.

Th is statement serves as a companion to the recent UNESCO/OECD document, Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education, released in 2005. Consistent with the Guidelines, the statement urges that governments around the world examine their legal and regulatory frameworks with the goal of eliminating degree mills in the future. It also is a resource for users of the UNESCO Portal on Higher Education Institutions launched in 2008.

While degree mills have been operating internationally for many years, they have received limited attention from academic staff and administrators as well as accreditation and quality assurance professionals. Yet, the extraordinary growth in access and demand for higher education internationally, with students electing to attend colleges and universities across various countries, increases the likelihood of the use of these providers.

Degree mills offer credentials based on little study or engagement in higher education activity. They are easy to start, difficult to eliminate and, at least to date, relatively immune to regulation. Degree mills are part of an emerging academic corruption that, unfortunately, is accompanying the growth of access and participation in higher education worldwide.

Degree mills are the result of the expanding pressure on students to obtain higher education credentials, on employers to hire individuals with such credentials and on countries to expand the knowledge base of their workforce and to meet demands for creative and innovative responses to educational needs.

Students may be looking for shortcuts to education credentials as they seek employment. Some students are misled by what is off ered by degree mills, but others knowingly pay a significant fee in order to claim (falsely) that they have completed a legitimate course of study leading to reliable certification. Unscrupulous individuals respond, exploiting the current demand for higher education credentials in many countries. The Internet gives these individuals an instant platform from which to launch degree mills, which students often cannot readily distinguish from the online learning opportunities offered by legitimate institutions.

Degree mills harm students and society. Students who are unknowing victims of degree mills are harmed when they invest a considerable amount of money for credits or credentials that cannot be used for, e.g., transfer to another institution, entry to graduate school or employment. Society is harmed when fraudulent credentials are issued in areas that put public health and safety at risk, e.g., engineering or the health-related professions. The international work of legitimate higher education providers – reliable evaluation of credentials, successful transfer of credit, reconciling differences in degree structure – is undermined by degree mills."

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