February 23, 2004
Honorable Susan M. Collins
Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Collins:
Thank you for your letter following the diploma mill summit. The Department was pleased to take the lead in organizing the summit. We also believe that it was a very productive discussion.
As you indicated in your letter, the consensus of the participants in the summit was supportive of creating a "positive list" of institutions that are accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education. Sally L. Stroup, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, is taking the lead in this effort. Her staff is currently developing a proposal to accomplish this and to identify any potential challenges that will need to be addressed in making information available to government personnel and others in an accurate and useful form. We will maintain communication with your staff during this project.
I share your concern about the seriousness of this problem. Diploma mills and
the bogus degrees that they market devalue legitimate education credentials
and in some cases pose genuine threats to the safety and well being of Americans.
I applaud your willingness to call attention to this problem and look forward
to continued cooperation in developing an effective response to it.