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Diploma Mills and Accreditation

You may be wondering why you need to know about diploma mills and accreditation - simply put, not every institution is what it appears to be. In order for you to become a smart consumer, you'll need to have a basic understanding of accreditation in the United States and how it works, the difference between accredited or unaccredited institutions, and the pitfalls of enrolling in a "diploma mill." Today there are tools available to consumers in order to help combat the problem of diploma mills and provide more information for parents and students when selecting postsecondary institutions.

The U.S. Department of Education has published the "positive list" of schools that are accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Secretary of Education. The list can be found at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation. This is a list of postsecondary institutions and programs that have chosen to be accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. One of the reasons that institutions seek accreditation is so that their students are eligible to receive federal student aid or other federal benefits. The database does not include postsecondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless may provide a quality postsecondary education. The positive list is simply one source of information; you may need to consult other sources if an institution does not appear on the positive list.

To find out more about diploma mills, accreditation and accrediting agencies, click on the links below:

Diploma Mills

Accreditation

Resources and Publications


 
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Last Modified: 01/21/2009