Information about some degree-granting institutions not accredited by CHEA-recognized organizations

Office of Degree Authorization
1500 Valley River Drive
Suite 100
Eugene, OR 97401
(541) 687-7452
www.osac.state.or.us/oda/


Contents


Introduction

First contact with the University Degree Program

In 2002 thousands of computers began receiving unsolicited advertising which appeared as system alerts delivered via the Windows Messenger Service. This is a particularly annoying form of advertising since the message arrives in a window which becomes the computer's "focus window," interrupting whatever the user is doing until the window is closed manually, or a different window is selected.

Many of the ads included the following text:



   UNIVERSITY DIPLOMAS

   Obtain a prosperous future, money earning power,
   and the admiration of all.

   Diplomas from prestigious non-accredited
   universities based on your present knowledge
   and life experience.

   No required texts, classes, books or interviews.

   Bachelors, masters, MBA, and doctorate (PhD)
   diplomas available in the field of your choice.

   No one is turned down.

   Confidentiality assured.

   CALL NOW to receive your diploma within days!!!

   1-xxx-xxx-xxxx

   Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including
   Sundays and holidays.


A call to the number in the ad would reach an answering machine that identified the organization as "The University Degree Program." The caller would be asked to leave contact information so that a representative of the program could return the call.

Within a few days, a salesperson from the University Degree Program would call to describe how the potential customer could purchase a degree in a field of his or her choosing. The diploma would arrive in about ten days; included in the graduation package would be "certified copies of transcripts" and "letters of recommendation from their professors." There would also be a contact address to give to potential employers who might want to verify the newly acquired credentials. The transcript, generated by the University Degree Program's staff members, would contain a list of courses, complete with course titles, course numbers, and grades that would correspond to a set of courses that might have been taken in a conventional degree program. The customer would never actually take any of the courses listed on the transcript, and the transcript would give no indication that credits had been awarded for "life experience."

Sometimes the salesperson would explain that the "university" named on the diploma would have no physical campus since its "campus is the homes and offices of the students." Since academic credit would be awarded for a "student's prior experiences and knowledge," a campus would be irrelevant. The salesperson would make sure that the customer understood that the "university" was not accredited [by an organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation], though sometimes the potential client would be assured that the school was, nonetheless, a "fully recognized distance learning center," recognized by a non-existent accrediting body such as the "Distance Learning Council of Europe."

What might those "letters of recommendation from their professors" look like? Here are three examples, all signed by a "Dr. Frederick Bideman." One was posted to the web by a person advertising his credentials; the other two were submitted to a NACES-approved credential evaluation service. (NACES is the "National Association of Credential Evaluation Services." NACES-approved organizations provide reliable, comprehensive evaluations of foreign degrees for various professional licensing boards in the United States.) The letter dated January 15, 1985 shows Bideman as a Professor at the University of Wexford in Zurich. Another letter, dated January 16, 2001, has Bideman as a Professor at Parkwood University in London. The third letter, dated September 5, 2002, has him as a Professor at Ashford University, also in London.

Except for differences in institution, student name, and gender, the letters are identical. It is interesting to compare the details of the signatures on the letters, supposedly written over a span of 17 years.

The unfortunate Professor Bideman may be unemployed at present since the Federal Trade Commission shut down the Wexford, Parkwood, and Ashford web sites early in 2003.

Accreditation, briefly

Accreditation of degree-granting institutions is a voluntary process in the United States. It is discussed in more detail below, and also at length in Bear & Bear (2003). Here is a brief summary.

The U.S. Department of Education generates

...a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. [USDOE 2003]

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is the only nongovernmental higher education organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to certify the quality of accrediting organizations. [CHEA 2003] Access to CHEA's searchable Database of Institutions Accredited By Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations is through the link http://www.chea.org/institutions/index.cfm.

CHEA recognizes six regional accreditation boards as well as a number of national and specialized accrediting bodies. One of these, The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), is the accrediting agency with the responsibility for evaluating distance learning programs. Since the University Degree Program describes its "universities" as distance learning institutions, it is instructive to read the DETC guidelines [DETC 2003a] that would apply if one were to seek DETC accreditation.

Here is the requirement concerning the award of academic credit for "life experience": "For no student, however, may the credit given for experiential or equivalent learning exceed one-fourth of the credits required for a degree." [DETC 2003a] (Emphasis is DETC's.)

Here is the recommendation concerning the representation of such credit on a transcript:

Any experiential learning credit that a student receives will appear on their official college transcript and will show that a degree requirement has been met. The credit will be marked as credit for “Portfolio Assessment” and will specify the content area.

Letter grades are not assigned to experiential learning credits. A student will receive a “CR,” which stands for “credit,” and the number of semester credits earned. If a student does not receive credit upon submission of a portfolio, no entry will be noted on his/her official college transcript. [DETC 2003b]

As described by the University Degree Program, at least some of their policies are different from those followed by organizations which are DETC-accredited.

Please bear in mind that many schools which are accredited by CHEA-recognized bodies do offer distance learning programs, and some award academic credit for "life experience." (For example, Bear & Bear (2003) lists a large number of distance learning degree programs available through a variety of well-known, regionally accredited universities.)

This document

Material is organized as a (long!) main page, with hyperlinks to related information. One section presents a more detailed description of accreditation, while others describe matters relating to regulation of degree-granting entities by the federal and state governments. A large section of this document presents information about organizations which are involved in distance education.

Some of the distance education programs which maintain a presence on the worldwide web are accredited by organizations recognized by CHEA, while other programs are not. Some distance education providers are accredited by agencies not officially recognized by CHEA; the procedures, standards, and availability of online information for these agencies can vary considerably. The choice to seek accreditation is entirely voluntary in the United States, although it does provide an institution with an independent evaluation and verification of the quality of its programs, an invaluable aid to potential applicants. In many states (including Oregon and North Dakota) it is illegal to use a degree from a school which is neither specifically approved by the state nor accredited by a CHEA-recognized accrediting body.

Since there is so much information dispersed throughout the worldwide web, it is worthwhile to collect and post it here. This might prove particularly useful when the policies of a distance learning program appear to differ appreciably from the "default expectation" that might be held by someone seeking to participate in such a program, namely that it would conform to the DETC guidelines. As a result, a large section of this document presents information about distance education organizations that are not accredited by CHEA-recognized bodies such as DETC.

The information in this page is not meant to be exhaustive: there are too many unaccredited enterprises for that to be possible. A specific program is a candidate for inclusion when:

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Accreditation of post-secondary education programs

Role of the U.S. Department of Education

The role played by the U.S. Department of Education in the accrediting process is described in its web site at http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/. As explained there,

The United States has no Federal Ministry of Education or other centralized authority exercising single national control over postsecondary educational institutions in this country. The States assume varying degrees of control over education, but, in general, institutions of higher education are permitted to operate with considerable independence and autonomy. As a consequence, American educational institutions can vary widely in the character and quality of their programs.

In order to insure a basic level of quality, the practice of accreditation arose in the United States as a means of conducting non-governmental, peer evaluation of educational institutions and programs. Private educational associations of regional or national scope have adopted criteria reflecting the qualities of a sound educational program and have developed procedures for evaluating institutions or programs to determine whether or not they are operating at basic levels of quality. [USDOE 2003]

The Department of Education does not accredit universities itself. Instead, it

...is required by statute to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. The Secretary only evaluates accrediting agencies that apply for recognition... [USDOE 2003]

Rather than granting permission for universities to operate, the U.S. government oversees the functioning of a system of private accrediting bodies. It is not mandatory for universities to seek accreditation. The situation is different in the United Kingdom where it is illegal to issue something "which may reasonably be taken to be... a degree" without government approval. [DFES 2002a]

Regional and specialized accreditation boards

Between 1974 and 1993 the principal non-governmental agency recognized to oversee accrediting in the United States was the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA). After COPA dissolved it was replaced by a temporary organization (the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation) until the Council for Higher Education Accreditation organized in 1997. Access to CHEA's searchable Database of Institutions Accredited By Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations is through the link http://www.chea.org/institutions/index.cfm.

CHEA (http://www.chea.org/) watches over the following six regional accreditation boards.

regional accreditation board
web site
coverage area
Middle States Association (MSA) http://www.msache.org/ DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA, PR, VI , overseas
Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges (NASC) http://www.nwccu.org/ AK, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA
North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA; name was changed in 2001) http://www.ncacihe.org/ AR, AZ, CO, IA, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, OK, NM, SD, WI, WV, WY
New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) http://www.neasc.org/ CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT, international
Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) http://www.sacs.org/ AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, Latin America
Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) http://www.wascsenior.org/senior/ CA, HI, Pacific basin

In addition to the regional accrediting boards, the Department of Education lists a number of "National Institutional and Specialized Accrediting Bodies" which it recognizes as "reliable authorities" concerning the quality of specific programs in higher education. There are organizations that evaluate programs in acupuncture and oriental medicine, distance education and training, marriage and family therapy, medicine, psychology, and other subjects. The complete list can be found at http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html.

One of the CHEA-recognized organizations is The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC, with web site http://www.detc.org/). DETC accredits domestic (as well as foreign) institutions that meet its standards.

Some schools are regulated or licensed by a state government, rather than being accredited by an accrediting organization. For example, California established a two-tiered system of higher education after the Second World War in which non-accredited schools can participate. Review and regulation of these schools was codified in the state's Educational Reform Act of 1989 in part "to counter California's growing reputation as a diploma mill state." [Penman 2000] This review function is now carried out by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE), part of the state's Department of Consumer Affairs. The BPPVE web site is http://www.bppve.ca.gov/.

Please note that degrees from state-licensed schools are not recognized by some states. In fact, use of a degree from an unaccredited, state-licensed school can be illegal in a number of states.

Evaluation of foreign programs; licensing boards

Through the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA, with web site http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg21.html#NCFMEA), the U.S. Department of Education reviews the standards used by foreign countries to accredit their medical schools, but does not participate in the accreditation process directly.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES), a British government agency, maintains a list of institutions that have been granted degree-conferring power in the U.K. The information is available at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/recognisedukdegrees/. None of the universities linked to the University Degree Program are on the list. (Several UDP schools claim mailing addresses in Great Britain. For example, the University of Devonshire web site listed “27 Old Gloucester St., London." With its London address, Devonshire should be on the DfES list of recognized programs.)

Some professions require that practitioners hold licenses from state-approved licensing boards. In California the regulations pertaining to clinical psychologists are codified in Section 2914 of the state's Business and Professions Code. Links to licensing information for other states can be found at http://www.kspope.com/licensing/. The manner in which degrees from foreign institutions are evaluated by licensing boards varies from state to state. The California Board of Psychology requires "that applicants [for licensure] with degrees from schools outside the US and Canada must provide the board with a comprehensive evaluation of the degree performed by a foreign credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), and any other documentation the board deems necessary." [CBP 2002] The NACES web site can be found at http://www.naces.org/.

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Idaho Title 33, chapters 1 and 24: General Powers and Duties of the State Board of Education

Title 33, chapter 1 and chapter 24 of the Idaho Statutes define the role played by the State Board of Education in the regulation of degree-granting institutions which operate in Idaho.

The state defines accreditation this way:

"Accredited" means that a school has been recognized or approved as meeting the standards established by an accrediting agency recognized by the board or the United States department of education. [Idaho 33_24]

Title 33, chapter 1 of the Idaho Statues requires the State Board of Education to maintain a list of registered, unaccredited institutions (according to Idaho's definition) which can legally offer courses and programs in the state. From the Board of Education's web site:

Section 33-107(6), Idaho Code, authorizes the State Board of Education to maintain a register of courses and programs offered anywhere in the state of Idaho by degree-granting postsecondary institutions which are located outside the state and are offering courses or programs for academic credit or located within the state of Idaho but are not accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the Board and are offering a course(s) or program(s) for academic credit. [Idaho BOE]

Idaho does not allow unregistered, unaccredited organizations (again, using their definition of "accredited") to offer post-secondary degrees to Idaho residents. An unaccredited degree-granting organization on federal land within the state's boundaries (for example on an Indian reservation) is treated as an out-of-state agency: it cannot provide degrees to Idaho residents (though it can to clients in other states) unless it is registered by the Idaho State Board of Education.

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Illinois Public Act 93-0239: AN ACT regarding higher education

Illinois Public Act 93-0239 was signed into law July 22, 2003. It makes it a misdemeanor to sell "false academic degrees," or to use such a degree when seeking employment or promotion. It appears that the law does not cover degrees issued by organizations which clearly state that they are based outside the United States. Here is the text of the Act:

Public Act 93-0239

HB1448 Enrolled                       LRB093 06893 NHT 07039 b

    AN ACT regarding higher education.

    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

    Section 5. The Criminal Code of 1961 is amended by adding Section 17-2.5 as follows:

    (720 ILCS 5/17-2.5 new)
    Sec. 17-2.5. False academic degrees.

    (a) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly manufacture or produce for profit or for sale a false academic degree, unless the degree explicitly states "for novelty purposes only".

    (b) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly use a false academic degree for the purpose of obtaining employment or admission to an institution of higher learning or admission to an advanced degree program at an institution of higher learning or for the purpose of obtaining a promotion or higher compensation in employment.

    (c) Sentence. A person who violates this Section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

    (d) In this Section:
    "False academic degree" means a certificate, diploma, transcript, or other document purporting to be issued by an institution of higher learning or purporting to indicate that a person has completed an organized academic program of study at an institution of higher learning when the person has not completed the organized academic program of study indicated on the certificate, diploma, transcript, or other document.
    "Institution of higher learning" means a public or private college, university, or community college located in the State of Illinois that is authorized by the Board of Higher Education or the Illinois Community College Board to issue post-secondary degrees, or a public or private college, university, or community college located anywhere in the United States that is or has been legally constituted to offer degrees and instruction in its state of origin or incorporation.

    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.

Effective Date: 07/22/03

A few other states have passed legislation defining what is required for an academic degree to be used legally in the state. In contrast to the Illinois statute, the regulations in Oregon define the procedures the state uses to evaluate foreign degree programs. See the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization web site as well as the summary information below for more information.

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State of Oregon regulations concerning academic degrees

The Oregon Office of Degree Authorization "provides for the protection of the citizens of Oregon and their postsecondary schools by ensuring the quality of higher education and preserving the integrity of an academic degree as a public credential." [ODA 2003]

The Oregon regulations address the issue of approval of foreign degrees this way:

In order to be legal for use in Oregon, a degree must be earned at one of the following:
  • An institution accredited by an U.S. accreditor recognized as such by the U.S. Department of Education. Licensure by another state (except for the New York Board of Regents) does not by itself meet this standard.
  • A foreign institution having the foreign equivalent of U.S.-approved accreditation as determined by ODA.
  • A U.S. institution approved by ODA subsequent to evaluation. [ODA 2003]

The criteria for evaluation of foreign degrees are these:

ODA uses three principal screening tests to decide whether a non-U.S. college issues degrees legitimate for use in Oregon. In order to be allowed in Oregon, a degree must meet ALL of these tests.

  1. Can the school's degrees be used as credentials within the host country? That is, if the school issues an M.D., can the person use that degree to become licensed to practice medicine in the host country? In many cases the country has a formal list of its approved schools. Unfortunately, in some cases this list includes some stowaways owing to inadequate screening.
  2. Does the host country have adequate academic oversight practices? Under Oregon law, ODA determines this on a case-by-case basis. Our list of unaccredited schools provides an idea of which countries have doubtful oversight.
  3. Do accredited [by CHEA-recognized accrediting bodies] Oregon colleges generally accept credits or degrees issued by the foreign school? [ODA 2003]

The Oregon ODA does perform case-by-case evaluations as mentioned above. The one country discussed explicitly (in a warning on the ODA web site) is Liberia:

Warning regarding so-called "Liberian" degrees: Any degrees issued by St. Regis, Breyer State, Concordia, Knightsbridge or any other entity claiming to be authorized by the "National Board of Education" in Liberia are illegal for use in Oregon and should be regarded as not meeting the standards expected of a U.S. degree. [ODA 2003]

There is more detail in A Case Study in Foreign Degree (Dis)approval [Contreras 2003]:

Certain Liberian officials have apparently authorized a privately owned entity called the “National Board of Education” (NBOE) to “accredit” distance-education colleges anywhere in the world. The NBOE also owns one such entity, a diploma mill called St. Regis University. The only known “address” of the “Liberian” National Board of Education is National Board of Education, Inc., Washington DC 20003, Phone/Fax: 1 202 478 1779.

Because Oregon law requires that foreign degrees be from schools having the foreign equivalent of U.S. accreditation, the ODA had reason to look into the precise nature of these entities. What we found was disturbing in its potential consequences for so-called “seamless” international portability of postsecondary credentials.

The NBOE offers accreditation for a fee, with no apparent evaluation process other than a nominal application. No legitimate accreditor would do this. Indeed, the fee is simply sent in on-line, there is not even a real mailing address for NBOE, as far as we can tell. This arrangement is typical of operations falsely claiming to offer legitimate college accreditation. [ODA 2003]

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State of North Dakota Educational Equity & Private Postsecondary Education

The North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education site includes information about regulations applying to private postsecondary institutions. Enacted in 2003, the Postsecondary Educational Authorization Act is exceptionally clear in its requirements for institutions which operate in North Dakota. Here are some selections from the Act:

15-20.4-04. Minimum standards - Exceptions.

All postsecondary educational institutions must be accredited by national or regional accrediting agencies recognized by the United States department of education. The board may additionally require such further evidence and make such further investigation as in its judgment may be necessary. Any postsecondary educational institution operating in this state seeking its first authorization to operate may be issued a provisional authorization to operate on an annual basis until the institution becomes eligible for accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency. Upon completion of the accreditation process, the institution shall submit evidence of accreditation, or a substantial good-faith showing of progress toward such status. Only upon accreditation shall an institution become eligible for a regular authorization to operate. This section does not apply to postsecondary educational institutions operating in this state and enrolling ten or fewer students.

15-20.4-05. Prohibition.

A person, group, or entity of whatever kind, alone or in concert with others, may not:

1. Operate, in this state, a postsecondary educational institution not exempted from the provisions of this chapter, unless said institution has a currently valid authorization to operate issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

2. Instruct or educate, or offer to instruct or educate, including advertising or soliciting for such purpose, enroll or offer to enroll, contract or offer to contract with any person for such purpose, or award any educational credential, or contract with any institution or party to perform any such act, at a facility or location in this state unless such person, group, or entity observes and is in compliance with the minimum standards and criteria established by the board pursuant to subsection 1 of section 15-20.4-03, and the rules and regulations adopted by the board pursuant to subsection 6 of section 15-20.4-03.

3. Use the term "university", "institute", or "college" without authorization to do so from the board.

4. Grant, or offer to grant, educational credentials, without authorization to do so from the board.

15-20.4-15. Unlawful to issue, manufacture, or use false academic degrees -Penalty.

1. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly issue or manufacture a false academic degree. A person that violates this subsection is guilty of a class C felony.

2. a. It is unlawful for an individual to knowingly use or claim to have a false academic degree:

          (1) To obtain employment;

          (2) To obtain a promotion of higher compensation in employment;

          (3) To obtain admission to an institution of higher learning; or

          (4) In connection with any business, trade, profession, or occupation.

     b. An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

3. As used in this section, "false academic degree" means a document such as a degree or certification of completion of a degree, coursework, or degree credit, including a transcript, that provides evidence or demonstrates completion of a course of instruction or coursework that results in the attainment of a rank or level of associate or higher which is issued by a person that is not a duly authorized institution of higher learning.

4. As used in this section, "duly authorized institution of higher learning" means an institution that:

     a. Has accreditation recognized by the United States secretary of education or has the foreign equivalent of such accreditation;

     b. Has an authorization to operate under this chapter;

     c. Operates in this state and is exempt from this chapter under section 15-20.4-02;

     d. Does not operate in this state and is:

          (1) Licensed by the appropriate state agency; and

          (2) An active applicant for accreditation by an accrediting body recognized by the United States secretary of education; or

     e. Has been found by the state board for career and technical education to meet standards of academic quality comparable to those of an institution located in the United States that has accreditation recognized by the United States secretary of education to offer degrees of the type and level claimed.

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British law and the Education Reform Act of 1988

Many of the University Degree Program institutions give the appearance of having home bases in the United Kingdom. It is possible that they are in violation of British law: according to the UK's Department for Education and Skills...

It is an offence in the UK for any organisation [which is not a "recognized body"] to offer a degree qualification which could be taken to be that of a recognised UK institution. The relevant legislation in this area is the Education Reform Act 1988.

Such organisations will be reported to the appropriate Local Trading Standards Department for investigation which could lead to prosecution.

It is not an offence for overseas organisations to offer their own awards in the UK, as long as they make it clear that they are not qualifications from a UK institution and that accreditation is from overseas. However, the UK authorities are unable to vouch for the quality of these qualifications, many of which may involve no formal study.

UK employers are familiar with bona fide UK universities and colleges and will easily detect a bogus degree [DFES 2002b]

According to a BBC report dated March 7, 2003 (here's a local copy):

Several websites offering fake British degrees for up to £1,000 each have been closed down following a joint operation in the UK and US.

The certificates, from 14 made-up institutions, were used by hundreds of unqualified people, mainly in North America, to gain jobs in areas such as teaching, computing and childcare.

The operation, which employed 30 staff in Romania, targeted millions of people every day with circular e-mails.

Trading standards officers in Enfield, north London, worked with their US counterparts for four years before the US District Court ordered the closure of the sites.

...

Among the institutions created for the websites were the University of Palmers Green, the University of Wexford and Harrington University.

... [BBC 2003]

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FTC closure of some University Degree Program sites

The United States Federal Trade Commission, in cooperation with the British Government, took action against organizations run by some of the same people as those who run the University Degree Program. The FTC filed a preliminary injunction [FTC 2003a] in Federal Court in January, 2003 and amended complaints in February, 2003 and May, 2003.

The "first amended complaint" stated that the "Defendants market and sell phony international drivers' licenses via unsolicited commercial emails... and the Internet." [FTC 2003b] Though the primary purpose of this injunction was to stop the sale of the fake driving credentials, many UDP university web sites (such as www.parkwooduniversity.org, the domain for Parkwood University) were ordered closed by the injunction. The "second amended complaint" explicitly included action against the UDP university sites, declaring them in violation of federal law. [FTC 2003c] The FTC's announcement of their intention to file the second amended complaint refers to them as "diploma mills":

The Commission has authorized the staff to file a second amended complaint related to "Operation License for Trouble." Through this action, the FTC is adding a means and instrumentalities count to address the alleged operation of a diploma mill by defendants Mountain View Systems, Ltd. (Case No. 03-CV-00021-RMC (D.D.C.)). Specifically, the amended complaint alleges that the defendants provided the phony academic degrees, associated verification, and backup materials that recipients used to represent falsely to others that the diplomas constitute academic degrees, that established colleges and universities issued the degrees, and that the recipient had proficiency in a curriculum recognized as necessary to earn the academic degree. The Commission vote to authorize the staff to file the amended complaint was 5-0. (File No. X030018; staff contact is Gregory A. Ashe, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3719; see press release dated January 16, 2003.) [FTC 2003d]

The second amended complaint states that

Defendants sell bachelors degrees, masters degrees, MBA's, and Ph.D.'s in a variety of fields including many medical related fields such as anesthesia, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, dentistry, energency medicine, endocrinology, epidemiology, gastroentology, gerontlogy, gynecology, neonatology, obstetrics, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, otorhinolaryngology, pediatrics, pharmacology, psychiatry, radiology, rheumotology, surgery, and urology. Other fields include engineering, law, architecture, computer science, psychology, and international finance. [FTC 2003c]

Count IV of the complaint asserts that

50. Defendants provide to others phony academic degrees, including, but not limited to, doctoral degrees in medical related fields, and associated verification and backup materials, including, but not limited to, university transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other verification materials. These materials are used to facilitate deceptive activity, including, but not limited to, falsely representing that the recipient has completed and shown proficiency in a curriculum recognized as necessary to earn the academic degree, and that the diplomas are issued by established colleges or universities. By providing the academic degrees and associated verification and backup materials, Defendants have provided the means and instrumentalities for the commission of deceptive acts and practices.

51. Therefore, Defendents acts and practices, as outlined above, constitute deceptive acts and practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a). [FTC 2003c]

Here is a portion of the text of 15 U.S.C. § 45(a):

The Commission is hereby empowered and directed to prevent persons, partnerships, or corporations, except... [a list of types of organizations which are not to be regulated by the FTC under 15 U.S.C. § 45(a) follows] from using unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.

It would seem that the phrase "deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce" is the key to the FTC's opinion that there has been a violation of U.S. code.

Here is a link to the preliminary injunction associated with Case No. 1:03-CV-OOO21-RMC, filed January 24, 2003. (A local copy of the pdf file is here.) Here is a link to the amended complaint for Case No. 1:03-CV-OOO21-RMC, filed with the United States District Court for the District of the District of Columbia on February 21, 2003. (A local copy of the html file is here.) Here is a link to the FTC's announcement of its intention to file a second amended complaint. (A local copy of the html file is here.) A link to a scanned version of the second amended complaint can be found here. (See Count IV on page 14.)

The injunction and first amended complaint included a list of sites that were ordered disabled by their internet service providers:

The second amended complaint added to this list

In spite of the closures, there are still a number of active sites which seem to be University Degree Program products (or clones). For example, there are two Ashford University sites and one for Westbourne University. A more complete list appears below.

Interestingly, the domain www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com still maps to IP addresses. (See the web site http://samspade.org/ for internet identification utilities) As of 4/22/03, it corresponded to several IP addresses in the same subnetwork: 207.155.248.12, 207.155.248.14, 207.155.248.4, 207.155.248.9. (Notice that only the last field in the IP address is different.)

Mail for www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com is handled by the domains inflexible.cnchost.com (with IP 207.155.252.24), hood.cnchost.com (with IP 207.155.252.6), invincible.cnchost.com (with IP 207.155.248.15), and zealous.cnchost.com (with IP 207.155.252.26).

(This is a curious choice of domain names! Built in 1908, H.M.S. Inflexible was badly damaged in 1915, then scrapped in 1921. H.M.S. Hood was sunk by the Bismarck in 1941 with the loss of all but three of its crew of 1420. H.M.S. Invincible was sunk in a 1916 naval engagement, with the loss of all but six members of its crew of 1026. H.M.S. Zealous was a Prince Consort Class ironclad battleship, launched in 1864 and scrapped in 1886.)

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Defining the terms "spam"and "diploma mill"

What do we really mean when we refer to irritating messages as "spam"? Reasonable definitions can be found in a variety of places:

As technology advances, it seems likely that the definition will evolve. For example, the Windows Messenger Service pop up ads which had been appearing on large numbers of PCs were routinely referred to as "spam" by computer users.

And what do we mean by the term "diploma mill?" Here are some of the definitions found on the web:

There are other practices besides unsatisfactory delivery of curricular materials which can raise warning flags about a degree-granting organization, though not all of these necessarily indicate that the institution is a diploma mill. Here are some of them:

There is a large amount of information about disreputable universities and diploma mills available on the web. One of the experts is Dr. John Bear, whose Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning - 15th edition (John B. Bear and Mariah P. Bear, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 2003) contains a wealth of information about educationally sound distance learning programs as well as those which are to be avoided. See his site for more information.

There is an informative discussion of the different kinds of degree/diploma mills in Competing for the Cyber-Savvy; challenging the competitor you never knew you had. [Brown 2002] Brown has assembled a long list of characteristics which should serve as warning flags to potential students perusing a distance education provider's web site. Here are a few of them, presented out of order relative to Brown's list.

  • The organisation claims accreditation from an unrecognised accrediting agency and/ or agency that sounds like a legitimate accrediting agency (references...)
  • Transcripts can be 'attested' by an official state or federal government (references...)
  • Credits for 'life experience' may comprise all, or most, of their requirements and are given for almost everything imaginable (references...)
  • Tuition is charged on a 'per degree' or 'flat fee' basis as opposed to normal per semester, per subject process (references...)
  • Faculty listed in promotional material are either non-existent, or are from legitimate organisations and do not know they are listed. An emphasis is made on degree identification for individuals. For example John Doe, Chancellor, PhD, EdD, BSEd, MAR, DD, LHD, LLD (references...)
  • Degrees can be obtained in a relatively short period of time (references...) [Brown 2002]

One of the sources in Brown's paper [Levicoff 2000] suggests assigning different meanings to the terms "degree mill" and "diploma mill." Here is Brown's explanation of this idea:

He [Levicoff] argues that a diploma mill is a school that will sell a degree or diploma outright, or a school that requires such a minimal amount of work (such as a ten-page dissertation for a doctorate). On the other hand, he sees a degree mill as a school that actually requires some academic work, perhaps even a substantial amount, but significantly less than comparable, legitimately accredited programs...

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Buying a fake MBA for a nonexistent person from Almeda College and University

Here is an account from someone who acquired an MBA from Almeda College and University by submitting his cv and paying the necessary fees. In the course of doing this he became suspicious that Almeda hadn't actually evaluated his credentials, but rather was nothing more than a diploma mill.

To test this hypothesis he created an identity for a non-existent person and ran the invented credentials through Almeda's "evaluation process." He found that Almeda willingly offered a degree to the imaginary customer, in spite of various traps placed in the cv which would have been noticed during a real evaluation of credentials. For example, the cv's work history included "Created Windows 95 and PowerPC Library Database Browse Applications" during the period 12/1992-05/1993. (At the end of 1992 Microsoft's current operating system was Windows 3.1, released in in October 1992. This was followed by Windows NT 3.1 in August, 1993; Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in February, 1994; Windows NT 3.5 in September, 1994; Windows NT 3.51 in June, 1995. Finally, in August, 1995, Windows 95 was released.)

The results of his investigation are described in the following email message and accompanying material.

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A free web statistics and tracking service used by the University Degree Program

eXtreMe digital is an Amsterdam-based company which offers a free web statistics service to provide information about accesses to a web page once the html (which they provide via email) is incorporated into the web page. They provide a very nicely done service, which the University Degree program uses to record statistics about hits to their web site.

Their html includes code to insert the small graphic (which is normally linked to the web page's tracking information), followed by a pair of java scripts. These scripts contact the tracking service with information about the call to the web page. eXtreMe digital requires the graphic to appear in the tracked web page in the size specified in their html. Their provision of html includes the warning "If you change the code, eXTReMe digital... shall have the right to suspend services." The tracking information is quite public: when tracking is enabled, clicking on the required graphic will display the page's web statistics. (Note that this page is not being tracked: the graphic is just linked to eXtreMe digital's home page.)

It would be in violation of eXtreMe digital's requirement concerning use of their code to fail to display the image, or to change the image's size. Reducing the image size to a single pixel would still leave the link present on the web page, though less obvious upon casual inspection. (Using your browser's "View Page Source" or "View Source" feature would be an easy way to find such a link.) Clicking on this pixel would open the link to the page's tracking information. An example of a single-pixel link is between the pair of vertical bars at the end of this sentence. -||-

The tracking report displays an advertising banner at the top of the page. This is undoubtedly the reason eXtreMe digital requires their graphic to be plainly visible, and is able to provide their tracking utility for free. They want as many visitors to a tracked web page as possible to access the web page's tracking statistics in order to provide exposure for their advertisers and revenue for eXTReMe digital.

Naturally, some web sites will prefer to hold their tracking information private. For these sites eXtreMe digital also offers an "Invisible Non Public Tracker with Password protection." This version does not display a tracking graphic, does not place ads on the report pages, and requires knowledge of a password to gain access to tracking reports. Though this service is not free, it is inexpensive, costing only a few dollars per month.

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University Degree Program web site access info

The University Degree Program has an ad and contact information posted on the web using an Israeli internet service provider. A local copy of their web page as it looked 4/13/03 is here; a 7/23/03 version of the web page is here. See http://www.connect.co.il/degree/ for the current site.

Tracking statistics for the page presenting the advertisement have been accumulated by eXTReMe digital's free tracking service since December 11, 2002. There is a link to the tracking information present on the page, as required by eXTReMe digital, but the size of the graphic has been reduced to a single pixel. (It is visible as the darkened pixel a short distance below the lower-right corner of the picture placed in the upper-left corner of the web page.) The html managing the web tracking is plain text which is loaded by a visitor's browser along with the rest of the page's source code. Naturally, clicking on the tracking link (or opening it with the help of "View Page Source") will show the page's access data below the advertising banner displayed by eXTReMe digital. If you're curious, the link is this: http://extremetracking.com/open?login=degreexy.

To be clear about this, the tracking statistics provided by eXTReMe digital are public, and are intended to be viewed widely. The advertising banners which appear in the tracking report pages provide some of the revenues which permit eXTReMe digital to offer this tracking service for free. Any attempt to hide the presence of the tracker in the tracked web page is in violation of the requirements specified by eXTReMe digital for use of their service. Except for restarting or deleting the tracker, or requesting that some IP addresses be ignored, the owner of the tracked web page has no control over the tracking information made available by eXTReMe digital.

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Domain names which might have been (or might become) active

After the FTC injunction which closed a number of University Degree Program sites, several of them reappeared with slightly-changed domain names. (Examples appear in the large table elsewhere in this page.) Here are some domain names not currently in use which do map to existing IP addresses. Perhaps at some future date these will become active.

Domain name
IP address
www.universityofdevonshire.org 216.36.215.241
www.glencullenuniversity.org 64.225.154.175
www.harringtonuniversity.org 64.225.154.175
www.hartleyuniversity.org 207.150.192.12
www.uofravenhurst.org 216.136.232.176
www.shelbourneuniversity.org 64.225.154.175
www.uofwexford.org 216.136.232.176
www.dlce.org
(Distance Learning Council of Europe)
64.55.192.105
www.ecdol.org
(European Council for Distance and Open Learning)
216.230.223.122

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Distance learning programs which may be related

The web sites of some of the distance learning programs which are not accredited by CHEA-recognized organizations show similarities which suggest that they may be related. Some are products (or clones) of University Degree Program (UDP) sites, while some may be related through a parent organization which called itself "University Consulting, Inc." (UCI) for a time.

possible University Degree Program (UDP) organizations

  1. Ashford University
  2. University of Bedford
  3. Brentwick University
  4. University of Devonshire
  5. University of Dorchester
  6. University of Dunham
  7. Glencullen University
  8. Harrington University
  9. Hartford University
  10. Hartley University
  11. Kingsfield University
  12. Landford University
  13. Northfield University
  14. University of Palmers Green
  15. Parkhurst University
  16. Parkwood University
  17. University of Ravenhurst
  18. University of San Moritz
  19. Shaftesbury University
  20. Shelbourne University
  21. Stafford University
  22. Strassford University
  23. Thornewood University
  24. Westbourne University
  25. Westhampton University
  26. University of Wexford

  27. Distance Learning Council of Europe (DLCE: accrediting)
  28. European Council for Distance & Open Learning (ECDOL: accrediting)

possible University Consulting, Inc. (UCI) organizations

  1. Adams University
  2. All American University
  3. Amstead University
  4. Ashwood University
  5. Ellington University
  6. Farington University
  7. Kendall University
  8. King's University
  9. Lafayette University
  10. Lexington University (this is NOT Lexington College)
  11. MacArther University
  12. Ratchford University
  13. Ross College
  14. Stanton University
  15. Walsh Business College
  16. Xavier Business College

  17. Association for Online Academic Accreditation (AOAA: accrediting)
  18. Higher Education Services Association (HESA: accrediting)
  19. Legal College Degrees (sales)
  20. Speedy Degrees (sales)

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Table of organizations


A table summarizing the status of some distance education programs not accredited by CHEA-recognized organizations

Organization
Recent site(s)
Site IP information
Adams College
more information
http://www.adamscollege-edu.us/. 128.121.4.49
site info (last modified unknown)
Adams University
more information
http://www.adamsuniversity.net/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 11, 2003)
All American University
more information
now defunct
Site was http://allamericanuniversity.org/. It has morphed into Farington University (see below).
 
Almeda College and University
more information
http://www.almedacollege.org/. 4.36.56.8
site info (last modified May 26, 2003)
American Austin University
more information
http://www.aus-edu.org/ 66.70.20.10
site info (no modification date)
".org site" identifying itself as representing American Coastline University
more information
http://www.amercoastuniv.org/
66.96.82.254
site info (last modified unknown)
Amstead University
more information
http://www.amsteaduniversity.org/. 64.191.16.169
site info (last modified July 7, 2003)
Ashford University
(the FTC shut down
www.ashforduniversity.org)
more information
two active sites
http://www.ashford-university.org/
http://www.ashforduniversity.net/
63.241.136.202
site info (last modified Aug. 1, 2002)
216.219.254.45
site info (last modified Feb. 16, 2003)
Ashwood University
more information
http://www.ashwooduniversity.net/. 66.216.124.83
site info (last modification date available)
Atlantic International university
more information
http://www.aiu.edu/. 65.106.9.38
site info (last modified July 14, 2003)
University of Bedford
more information
http://www.uofbedford.org/ 63.241.136.203
site info (last modified Feb. 27, 2003)
more information
Berkeley International University
more information
http://www.berkeleyuniversity.net/. 64.191.28.94
site info (last modified April 26, 2003)
Branford Academy Preparatory High School
more information
one active site, perhaps mirrored on Saint Regis site
http://www.branfordacademy.com/
66.236.24.230
site info (last modified August 16, 2003)
Brentwick University
(the FTC shut down
www.brentwickuniversity.org)
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.brentwickuniversity.org and www.brentwickuniv.org)  
Breyer State University
more information
http://www.breyerstate.com/. 209.235.192.243
site info (last modified July 10, 2003)
Buy A Degree
more information
http://www.buyadegree.com/. 216.205.90.110
site info (last modified July 8, 2003)
Columbus University
more information
http://www.columbusu.com/. 64.82.99.247
site info (last modified August 1, 2003)
Concordia College and University
more information
http://www.concordia-college.net/. 216.219.254.22
site info (last modified May 8, 2003)
Custom Degrees
more information
http://www.customdegrees.com/. 207.155.248.72
site info (last modified July 18, 2003)
Degree Assessment
more information
http://www.degreeconsultant.com/inde.html. 198.69.224.152
site info (last modified July 21, 2003)
University of Devonshire
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com/devonshire/)  
Diplomas For Less
more information
http://diplomasforless.com/. 207.44.238.80
site info (last modified August 26, 2003)
University of Dorchester
more information
now revived (had been defunct, and seemed to have morphed into Strassford University, but now has site http://www.uoduk.co.uk/). 66.132.45.177
site info (last modified October 4, 2002)
University of Dunham
more information
http://www.universityofdunham.org.uk/ 66.132.45.177
site info (last modified April 28, 2003)
Earlscroft University
more information
http://www.earlscroft.com/. 64.177.70.41
site info (last modified September 16, 2002)
Ellington University
more information
http://www.ellingtonuniversity-edu.org/. 207.44.238.80
site info (last modified June 11, 2003)
Epictetus College
more information
http://www.epictetus-college.org/. 80.247.224.231
site info (last modified September 17, 2002)
Farington University
more information
http://faringtonuniversity.org/. 64.191.16.164
site info (last modified July 3, 2003)
Glencullen University
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com/glencullen/)  
Hamilton University
more information
http://www.hamilton-university.edu/. 216.167.68.239
site info (last modified June 11, 2003)
Harrington University
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com/)  
Hartford University
more information
http://www.hartforduniversity-edu.org/ 207.155.252.9, 207.155.252.4, 207.155.248.47, 207.155.252.14
site info (last modified Mar. 6, 2003)
Hartley University
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.hartleyuniversity.org/)  
Heritage University
more information
http://heritageuniversity.com/. 216.171.74.182
site info (last modified May 31, 2003)
Instant Degrees
more information
http://www.instantdegrees.com/
http://www.onlineunivesity.com/
64.176.3.205
site info (last modified July 14, 2003)
12.159.48.108
site info (last modified July 20, 2003)
Interfaith Education Ministries
more information
http://www.interfaithedu.org/. 216.171.217.99
site info (last modified unknown)
James Monroe University
more information
http://www.jmuniversity.com/. http://www.jmuniversity.ac/. 66.236.24.230
site info (last modified June 11, 2003)
216.171.217.191
site info (last modified August, 2003)
Kendall University
more information
http://www.kendall-u.net/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 14, 2003)
King's University
more information
http://kings.uni-edu.org/. 66.28.33.41
site info (last modified July 10, 2003)
Kingsfield University
(the FTC shut down
www.kingsfielduniversity.org)
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.kingsfielduniversity.org/)  
Lacrosse University
more information
http://www.lacrosseuniversity.com/ and http://www.distance.edu/. 209.238.161.83
site info (last modified November 29, 2001)
Lafayette University
more information
http://lafayette.uni-edu.org/. 66.28.33.41
site info (last modified July 10, 2003)
Landford University
more information
http://www.landfordu.org/ (old site was www.landforduniversity.org) 12.168.32.116
site info (last modified Mar. 5, 2003)
Legal College Degrees
more information
http://www.legalcollegedegrees.com/.
this site sells All American University diplomas.
64.87.2.227
site info (last modified March 19, 2003)
Lexington University
more information
http://www.Lexingtonuniversity.com/. 207.44.238.80
site info (unknown date of last modification)
MacArther University
more information
http://www.macarther.net/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 13, 2003)
Madison University
more information
http://www.madisonu.com/. 208.55.179.139
site info (last modified April 18, 2003)
National Board of Education, Inc. (Liberia, but based in Washington DC)
more information
http://www.nationalboardedu.com/. 216.171.216.167
site info (last modified unknown)
Northfield University
more information
http://www.northfield-university.net/ 64.191.36.98
site info (last modified Mar. 30, 2003)
Panamerican Seminary
more information
http://www.pansem.hpg.ig.com.br. 200.226.137.10
site info (last modified August, 2003)
Parkhurst University
more information
http://www.parkhurstuniversity.org/ 66.218.79.190
site info (last modified Mar. 12, 2003)
Parkwood University
(the FTC shut down
www.parkwooduniversity.org)
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.parkwooduniversity.org/)  
Ratchford University
more information
http://www.ratchfordu.com/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 14, 2003)
University of Ravenhurst
(the FTC shut down
www.universityofravenhurst.org)
more information
apparently defunct, though the domain www.universityofravenhurst.org maps to the IP address 64.55.192.251 as of 4/22/03.  
Robertstown University
more information
http://www.robertstownuniversity.ac/. 216.171.217.187
site info (last modified unknown)
Ross College
more information
http://www.rosseducation.net/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 5, 2003)
Saint Regis University
more information
http://saintregis.edu.lr/
http://saintregis.ac/.
216.171.217.118
216.171.217.188
site info (last modified unknown)
Shaftesbury University
more information
http://www.shaftesburyu.org.uk/
(Note that IP addresses are identical for Shaftesbury, Stafford, Strassford, and the mysterious "European Committee for Home and Online Education.")
139.81.148.3
site info (last modified Feb. 26, 2003)
Shelbourne University
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com/shelbourne/)  
Shepperton University
more information
http://www.sheppertonu.org.uk/. 66.132.45.177
site info (last modified July 21, 2003)
Speedy Degrees
more information
http://www.speedydegrees.com/.
this site sells Ashwood University diplomas.
66.216.124.83
site info (last modified not available)
Stafford University
more information
http://www.stafford.ac/
(Note that IP addresses are identical for Shaftesbury, Stafford, Strassford, and the mysterious "European Committee for Home and Online Education.")
139.81.148.3
site info (last modified April 29, 2003)
Stanton University
more information
http://stantonuniversity-edu.org/. 207.44.238.80
site info (last modified May 8, 2003)
Strassford University
more information
http://www.Strassfordu.org.uk/
(Note that IP addresses are identical for Shaftesbury, Stafford, Strassford, and the mysterious "European Committee for Home and Online Education.")
http://www.strassuniversity.org.uk/
139.81.148.3
site info (last modified April 7, 2003)
66.132.45.177 site info (last modified June, 18 2003)
Suffield College and University
more information
http://www.suffielduniversity.com/. 209.140.192.183
site info (unknown date of last modification)
University of Switzerland
more information
http://www.swissu.org/ 198.69.224.150
site info (last modified May 24, 2003)
Thornewood University
(the FTC shut down
www.thornewooduniversity.org)
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.thornewooduniversity.org)  
Trinity College and University
more information
http://www.trinity-college.edu/. 140.239.119.23
site info (last modified March 12, 2003)
Trinity Southern University
more information
http://trinitysouthernuniversity.org/. 66.241.216.11
site info (last modified April 7, 2003)
United States and International Universities and Colleges Accredited Degrees Program
more information
perhaps several sites mirroring the parent site?
http://globstarclub.net.seanic11.net/.
207.44.156.96
site info (last modified July 11, 2003)
University Consulting, Inc. -also-
Professional Degrees -also-
Life Degree -also-
Degree Assessment -also-
Degree Advisory Group.
more information
several active sites with the same IP but different domain names
http://www.university-consulting.com/
http://www.professionaldegrees.com/
http://www.life-degree.com/
http://www.degreeassessment.com/. http://www.degreeadvisory.net/.
These sites seem to be the parent site for a number of schools.
216.127.74.21
site info (unknown date of last modification)
Verification Services
more information
http://verification-services.org/. 207.44.238.80
site info (last modified April 23, 2003)
Walsh Business College
more information
http://www.walsh-college.net/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 11, 2003)
Westbourne University
(the FTC shut down
www.westbourneuniversity.org)
more information
http://www.uwestbourne.ca/ 162.42.208.252
site info (last modified Feb. 6, 2003)
Western Ohio University
more information
http://www.westernohiouniversity.org/. 216.219.254.22
site info (last modified August 18, 2003)
Westhampton University
more information
http://www.westhamptonuniversity.org/ 64.70.212.249
site info (last modified June 24, 2002)
University of Wexford
(the FTC shut down
www.universityofwexford.org)
more information
apparently defunct (had been www.universityofwexford.org)  
Wiltshire University
more information
http://www.wiltshireuniversity.org/. 64.106.133.95
site info (last modified June 16, 2003)
Wittfield University
more information
http://www.wittfielduniversity.org/. 66.51.168.53
site info (unknown date of last modification)
Xavier Business College
more information
http://www.xb-college.com/. 207.44.230.81
site info (last modified July 11, 2003)


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Screen shots and web site snapshots of various organizations

Adams College

The URL for this site is http://www.adamscollege-edu.us/. Local copies were made 9/2/2003 for most files listed below.

The Adams College "Degree Offerings and Available Majors" page contains a list of "Available Majors" which is a subset of the University of Georgia "Degree Majors" page from UGA's 2001 fact book, with the single exception of "Biblical Studies." Even arcanely named areas ("Communications Sciences & Disorders"; "Conservation Ecology & Sustainable Development"; "Honors Interdisciplinary Studies"; "Life-Span Developmental Psychology"; "Plant Protection & Pest Management") are present in both sites with identical titles.

The "Available Law Majors" on the Adams College page is an alphabetical list of subjects which bears a great deal of resemblance to the Cornell University Law School page listing course titles at Cornell's law school. Again, a number of specialized courses (for example, "Melville and the Law"; "Women and the Law Clinic"; "Law Through Literature") have identical titles.

Adams College says it is accredited by the "Central States Association Council on Distance Education" (CSACDE) whose address is 4401 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 205, Washington, DC 20001. The only other reference to this organization known to Google is on the FAQ page of Hartford University, described elsewhere in this web page. CSACDE seems to have no other web presence.

On its FAQ page, Adams explains that it

is a Vanuatu International Company. For your convenience we list a US mail forwarding address and toll free US telephone and facsimile numbers on all official documents.

Adams is both speedy and inexpensive: "portfolio assesment will take anywhere from 1-3 business days." A PhD costs $699.

Adams assures its clients that

There will be no mention on any documents of how you earned your degree at Adams College. Adams College uses a professional printing firm to prepare our official documents, such as diplomas, transcripts, etc.

It explains its curricular delivery methods this way:

Adams College is a non-traditional, distance learning educational institution. Unlike traditional colleges and universities, we have no residency requirements, no buildings or campus, no full-time faculty, and we do not offer a catalogue of courses. Instead, we use technology to reach students, allowing them to pursue their degree from wherever they are located. We recognize that not everyone has the time or money required to attend a traditional college or university.


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Adams University

The URL for this site is http://www.adamsuniversity.net/.

The course descriptions in the 215 page Adams University course catalogue are identical to those in the accredited University of Maryland University College course catalogue.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are also included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

This enterprise seems to be a University Consulting, Inc. product.


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Table of organizations

All American University

All American University is defunct and seems to have morphed into Farington University. The following files were cached by Google.

The All American, Amstead, and Farington web sites share a large amount of content. In addition, the IP addresses for Amstead and Farington (64.191.16.169 and 64.191.16.164 respectively) are in the same internet domain. As a result, it seems possible that they are managed by the same parent organization.

Given the internet IP numerology of other sites, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, and Farington are also related to Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc.

King's and Lafayette are also included in the UCI web site's list of schools.


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Almeda College and University

The URL for this site is http://www.almedacollege.org/. Copy date: 7/30/2003 for most files listed below.

The courses listed in the transcript are not actually taken by the customer. From the policy-procedure.html file on the site:

No Mention of Life Experience or Distance Learning

The applicant understands that neither the transcript nor the diploma he or she receives will contain any indication that the applicant’s degree was received from a prior learning or life experience program. The applicant’s transcript will contain a list of courses for which our assessment team has deemed he or she has met the equivalency requirements. The methods used to make this determination are proprietary to Almeda and are never disclosed.

Click here to read about an experiment done by one of Almeda's customers who became suspicious that Almeda was nothing more than a diploma mill.


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American Austin University

As of April 27, 2003 the American Austin University site's URL was http://www.aus-edu.org/. It lists its address as 911 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017, with phone and fax numbers 818-475-1824 and 818-688-3247 respectively. Calls during normal business hours reached what was probably a fax machine on both phone numbers.

The American Austin site is fairly complex in structure; its web pages use a large amount of material taken from other sites. Here are some of the site's pages:


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".org site" identifying itself as representing American Coastline University

This one is curious. There is a site with URL http://www.amercoastuniv.org/ showing material corresponding to American Coastline University. Apparently, this site is independent of another site whose domain name ends in .edu (http://www.amercoastuniv.edu/) and whose content also presents information concerning American Coastline University.

The ".org site" instantiation of ACU was contacted by an individual in order to have his experiences in an unrelated field evaluated as possible qualifications for a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. The results were described in a message posted to an internet discussion board.

A few days after the post, email from the ".edu site" expressed a great deal of surprise over the existence of a second web site for American Coastline University, and a good deal of concern that the ".org site's" method of evaluating life experiences would mistakenly be attributed to the ".edu site." Now, it would be natural to assume that ACU had chosen to maintain sites on two different domains to better reach its intended audience. (For example, Saint Regis does this with http://saintregis.edu.lr/ and http://saintregis.ac/.) The two ACU sites contained a large amount of identical content, as well as describing accreditation from identical accrediting organizations (as is done by the two Saint Regis sites). Apparently the two ACU sites really were independent, in spite of their seeming representations of the same university with the same set of accreditations, so an evaluation of a client by the ".org site" conveys no information about the practices of the ".edu site."

It is instructive to compare various aspects of the two sites.

Both sites state that "ACU is an agent of and branch division of the International University Of Fundamental Studies (IUFS)." Email was sent to IUFS asking for clarification of its relationship with the two ACU's. It is to be noted that the IUFS site's front page contains a link to http://www.amercoastuniv.edu/homeland.html (which is on the ".edu site") but has no links to the ".org site."

The ACU seal is the same on both sites.

The main text in the ".org site's" "about us" page is the same as the text on the ".edu site's" front page. In addition, the list of accreditations which ACU holds is the same in both sites' web pages.

The IP address of the ".org site" is 66.96.82.254. Here is some of the SamSpade information for this domain:

Registrant:
 R.J.H admissions@amercoastuniv.org +1.22289000
 American Coastline Univ
 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 xxxxxxx,xxxx,US 72310

Record last updated at 2003-08-18 03:45:52
Record created on 2003/8/18
Record expired on 2004/8/18

Note that almost no information is available about the registrant; the zip code 72310 is in Armorel, Arkansas. Also note the recent creation date for the domain information record.

It is possible that someone intends for the registrant ("R.J.H") to be taken to be Dr. Richard J. Hoyer, the President and CEO of Global Capital LLC. However, it seems unlikely that someone choosing to withold information about the domain registrant's identity would use his/her true initials. (Dr. Hoyer is well known for his work on non-CHEA accredited distance learning programs. He is the author of A College Degree in Your Spare Time Through Distance Learning and his curriculum vita describes his association with a number of schools which offer distance learning programs. His cv lists six doctoral degrees and states that he has "written the entire degree curricula for the environmental science, environmental engineering, occupational safety and health, and health science degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels for three universities." He is also the "Chief Accrediting Commissioner" for the Accreditation Governing Commission-USA and a "Commission Member" for the Educational Quality Accrediting Commission; both accrediting organizations include a number of distance learning efforts in their member lists. As a result, someone seeing the registrant's initials might naturally assume that the R.J.H. who had registered the distance learning site amercoastuniv.org would be Dr. Hoyer.) Dr. Hoyer can be very forthcoming about the registration of his sites. For example, the State Duma Committee on Foreign Relations site at the (apparently Russian) domain http://www.stateduma.ru/ (with IP address 66.150.0.108) is openly registered to Dr. Hoyer. As a result, the true identity of the registrant for the ".org instantiation" of ACU is unclear.

The IP address of ACU's .edu site is 216.171.74.182, identical to that of Heritage University. Here is some of the SamSpade information for this domain:

Registrant:
   American Coastline University
   5000 West Esplanade Ave., #197
   Metairie, LA 70006
   UNITED STATES

Domain record activated:    04-Jan-1996
Domain record last updated: 24-Dec-2002

The address agrees with the ACU incorporation information available on the Louisiana Secretary of State's web site at http://www.sec.state.la.us/cgibin?rqstyp=crpdtl&rqsdta=34470521N. According to the State of Louisiana, the corporation's "Registered Agent" is Daniel Taylor, appointed 7/30/01; the corporation's address is 5000 W. Esplanade, #197, Metairie, LA 70007. This address is (or was, in 2001) a Mailboxes Etc. franchise.

The accrediting organizations and recognitions mentioned in the sites are these:

Email to each accrediting organization with available contact information requesting clarification concerning the two ACU sites was answered only by EQAC. A Dr. Samuel Murinda, EQAC Secretary, replied on 8 September, 2003. His email included the information that "The only official web site for ACU is www.amercoastuniv.edu...." NBOE does not list its members on its web site so it is not possible to find a link to one (or both) sites on its web page. EQAC lists the ".edu site" on its web site, as does AGC-USA. There is no list of institutions on the CCL site.

Neither of the two instantiations of ACU list courses anywhere on their sites; the catalogue in the ".edu site" does not list courses.

The person who contacted the ".org site" concerning a PhD in Aerospace Engineering submitted his full cv (including an accurate employment history and publication list). The cv included the fact of his PhD in a technical field rather different from Aerospace Engineering. A careful evaluation of his "life experiences" should have revealed that he needed to complete perhaps a dozen courses before being thought qualified to pursue thesis research in Aerospace Engineering.

Here's email from the ".org site" instantiation of ACU after processing his evaluation form.

Dear ----------
Hello
 
Thanks for showing interest in American Coastline University’s Doctoral 
level degree program. We have evaluated your prior academics and experience; 
found suitable candidate for Doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering. You 
have to follow the given below steps to earn your degree.
 
Now you have to follow the given below steps to get your degree.
 
01: Select the thesis topic which must be relevant with your  
major / specialization.
 
02: Once you select the topic that would be submitted to dissertation  
committee for approval on the prescribed form of dissertation / thesis 
topic approval.
 
03:At this stage you also need to send an email of your prior academic 
transcript and work experience reference letter from your current employer 
and senior colleague to process your case.
 
04: Dissertation / Thesis committee will approve or refuse or modify the 
topic within one week time from the submission date.
 
05: If the committee approves the topic, you will be requested to deposit 
the tuition fee of US$1195 and shipping charges within 7 days from the 
approval date. There is no hidden fee.
 
05: You will be having flexible time frame to complete your thesis research 
work but should not be more than two years.
 
06: You will submit your research work to thesis committee in the form of 
functional web site for approval.
 
07: Committee will register the comments within two weeks time from the submission 
date of research work. If the project/ research work is approved, University 
will confer the degrees within 4 to 8 weeks.
 
University will provide you following documents.
 
a) Degree with embossed seal of university
 
b): Official transcript indicating grades, credit hours and course taken at
    university ( You may send us the course list that you want to mention)
 
c): Graduation Letter
 
In case of any written inquiry all the information will be verified and 
validated by the university concern department.
 
We have enclosed the following documents for your additional information.
 
a):          Choosing A Thesis Topic
 
b):          Thesis Topic Approval Form
 
c):          Thesis Procedure
 
If you have any further questions please let us know.
 
Regards,
 
L. Keller
Advisor

No courses were thought necessary to be prepare for thesis research.

The next step involved submission of a PhD thesis proposal. Rather than a topic in Aerospace Engineering, ACU was offered the title and partial abstract of the potential customer's original PhD thesis, in an unrelated field. The proposal was favorably received:

Hello

We are pleased to inform you that your dissertation topic has been approved
by the dissertation committee. Please  make the payment of US$1235 by using
this secure payment link.
http://www.amercoastuniv.org/secure_payment_form.asp

Once you makes the transaction please send an email and also mention your
order #  to follow up your case on priority. After this you will start your
doctoral dissertation.  ACU will also provide you useful links on this
topic.

If you have any questions please let us know.

Regards

L. Keller
Advisor


There was a surprising comment concerning regional accreditation on page 9 of the ".edu site" instantiation of ACU's catalogue:

In the United States there are six Regional accrediting associations. Membership in one of these sic constitutes "real" accreditation as the word is used in the United States. The technical meaning is supposed to mean that these six should recognize the degrees and credits of one another. We all know that this is in fact not true and a bachelor's degree regionally accredited on one coast may well not be accepted as the qualification for acceptance into a graduate program on the other.

This is not true.

Local copies were made 8/28/2003 for most files listed below.


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Amstead University

The URL for this site is http://www.amsteaduniversity.org/. The front pages for Amstead and Ellington are nearly identical.

The All American, Amstead, and Farington web sites share a large amount of content. In addition, the IP addresses for Amstead and Farington (64.191.16.169 and 64.191.16.164 respectively) are in the same internet domain. As a result, it seems possible that they are managed by the same parent organization.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology of other sites, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, and Farington are also related to Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc.

Here are two questions/answers from the site's FAQ page:

6. What can I use my degree for?
Almost anything you’d like except applying to an educational institution. Many colleges and universities are particular in the types of degrees they accept as credit toward a higher degree. Naturally, should you decide to pursue a higher degree, Amstead University will give you full credit for the degree that you already have, whether it was obtained from us or from another educational institution.

7. How long before I receive my diploma?
In most cases you will receive your degree within 7 days of receipt of your approved application and payment for your graduation package.

With such a short delay between ordering and receiving a "degree" one might be curious about how the transcript would look: would it actually list courses that a customer had never taken? Here is email sent to Amstead to ask about this.

------------------------------------

Name: ---------
Option: general
Question: 

A question about the transcript: will it show courses (course names and grades) that are equivalent to the things I've learned as part of life experience, or do I actually have to enroll in the courses to have them appear on the transcript? thanks- ---------- ------------------------------------ Hello! Your transcripts will show general classes compared to your life experience as well as classes relevant to your degree. No courses are taken. Thank you ------------------------------------

Ashford university

As of April 12, 2003 there were at least two active Ashford University sites. One uses the URL http://www.ashford-university.org/. This particular incarnation of Ashford lists its address as 5-7 Singer Street in London. For amusing photographs of its "campus" see the presentation Unconventional University Diplomas from Online Vendors. The IP address for the site is 63.241.136.202; notice that the IP address for the University of Bedford site is 63.241.136.203, so that these two sites live on computers in the same subdomain, with consecutive IP addresses.

The other Ashford site uses the URL http://www.ashforduniversity.net/. A comment in the html for one of the frames identifies the "Web Designer" as "Aaron B. Case" and specifies a date "07312001". However, Netscape's information about the current pages specifies February 16, 2003 as their most recent modification date. (Here's a screen shot of the info windows.)

Ashford had disappeared for a few months, and had been using the now-defunct URL http://www.ashforduniversity.org/. (The site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.)

The new sites use frames, which are more difficult for search engines to index effectively. This makes it harder to track down new UDP sites, in spite of the continued presence of an atrocious grammatical mistake in the president's message: "Those of you whom are already with us at Ashford..."

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Ashwood University

The URL for this site is http://www.ashwooduniversity.net/.

The list of majors in the file majors.html is VERY similar (but not identical) to the list of "degree programs" in the Amstead and Farington sites. In addition, the textual content of many other pages in the site is nearly the same as in the Amstead and Farington sites.


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Atlantic International University

The URL for this site is http://www.aiu.edu/. Local copies were made 7/30/2003 for most files listed below.

AIU claims accreditation by an organization calling itself "Accrediting Commission International" (ACI), located in Beebe, Arkansas. ACI does not publish its list of members, and describes itself as "...primarily a religious school accrediting agency."

Atlantic International University claims it will grant BS, MS, PhD, and DSc degrees in physics. A call to the school for more information revealed that they ask students to find a standard curriculum online at another university and work through the courses there. They are to submit their assignments to their faculty advisors who will grade them. It is expected that work submitted will be of A quality. The course work is only required to the extent that the student's life experience does not satisfy all the credits required for a degree. (Life experience might count for typically 50% of the requirements for a degree.) The AIU representative used MIT as the example university whose curriculum could be followed.

The typical undergraduate curriculum in physics involves a series of challenging problems which are too difficult to be evaluated by someone not professionally involved in physics education. It is difficult to belive that an advisor with, for example, an EdD, can provide sensible guidance, grading, and advising services for a physics student following (via online access) the MIT curriculum.


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University of Bedford

Note that the Bedford site is/was still active as of 4/9/03. The URL for it is http://www.uofbedford.org/. Netscape's information about the current front page specifies February 27, 2003 as its most recent modification date. (Here's a screen shot of the info window.) The IP address for the site is 63.241.136.203; notice that the IP address for one of the Ashford the University sites is 63.241.136.202. These two sites live on computers in the same subdomain, with consecutive IP addresses.

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Berkeley International University

The URL for this site is http://www.berkeleyuniversity.net/.

Much of the material in the description of the Bachelor of Psychology program is copied from the accredited Lincoln University's web page describing its Business and Psychology major. The "module descriptions" in the Bachelor of Psychology" program are copied from Lincoln University's course descriptions" in its Business Administration-Undergraduate Courses list.


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Branford Academy Preparatory High School

This is a high school-diploma-by-exam venture which seems to be run by Saint Regis University. The URL for the site is http://www.branfordacademy.com/. Local copies were made 8/21/2003 for many of the files listed below.

Saint Regis and Robertstown (among other vendors) offer high school diplomas through something identified as the "Branford Academy Preparatory High School." Their sites present (identical) 100-question multiple choice tests on a web page in order to evaluate the high school diploma customer's level of knowledge.

Before being shown the test, the potential client is asked to enter a name and email address; an address ending in ".edu" or ".gov" is rejected by the site. No confidentiality arrangement is shown to the customer, either when requesting the test or submitting it for analysis. Here is (a local copy of) the test.

Since there are four choices for each answer, someone guessing randomly would be expected to select the right answer about a quarter of the time. The grading scheme applied in August, 2003 was not particularly demanding: here is Branford's response to submission of an exam (through Robertstown) in which only 26 of 100 questions were answered correctly.

We are pleased to inform you that you have completed all of the requirements
for the adult high school diploma program
of the Branford Academy Preparatory High School Program.

Based on your score, qualification for the certification(s) and/or degree(s)
below has/have been
approved, authorized and registered.


                High School Diploma  GPA 2.8
   Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies  GPA  2.7


Documents will be prepared for your approval upon acceptance and payment of
appropriate fees.

A GPA of 2.8 corresponds to a B- average. Here's what it would cost:


$450 High School Diploma

$625 Associate Degree

$1000 Combination High School Diploma AND Associate Degree (2 separate sets
of documents)


The above fees cover evaluation, document production and archive
verification service. There are no fees other than shipping.

Shipping
  + $40.00 for one diploma or degree
  + $20.00 for each additional degree

Using Saint Regis as a conduit for the test produced a similar outcome. Submission of an exam in which only 21 of the 100 questions were answered correctly brought the following response:

Dear ----------

We are pleased to inform you that you have completed all of the requirements
for the adult high school diploma program
of the Branford Academy Preparatory High School Program.

Based on your score, qualification for the certification(s) and/or degree(s)
below has/have been
approved, authorized and registered.


                High School Diploma  GPA 2.9
   Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies  GPA  2.8


Documents will be prepared for your approval upon acceptance and payment of
appropriate fees.

As before, the price for the two degrees would be $1000.

Even though the Saint Regis test score was lower than the Robertstown test score, a B/B- GPA and an Associate of Arts degree were offered in addition to a high school diploma.

Another enterprise offering the Branford Academy test is the "Interfaith Association of Ministries." IEM provides a number of different flavors of doctoral degree for $750, as well as "professorships" for $500. Their version of the test is the same as the others. However, in response to an exam with only 14 of the 100 questions answered correctly, IEM indicated that it would not award degrees:

Dear -------

We regret to inform you that your test score was too low to be awarded the
Branford Academy Preparatory High School Diploma. We invite you to study
and take the test again at your convenience. You can retake the exam at
http://www.university-services.net/iem_exams/high_school/test.html.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Respectfully,

Advisor Randall Lake
iem_exams@university-services.net

Retaking the test immediately, but submitting correct answers, brought this response from IEM:


Dear ----------

It appears that you have scored 100% on the Branford Academy online exam. 
However, this was your second attempt, with your first score being 14%.

Because there is such a discrepancy in the scores, we cannot accept the 
results of your second exam.

If you wish to retest a new exam must be taken in the presence of an 
approved proctor. You may ask your local library if they offer proctoring 
(most do).

You must email us your full name, address, phone number, social security 
number and a clear copy of your driver's license or passport.

You will then need to have the proctor email to us his/her name, phone 
number, fax number and mailing information. Once we have approved your 
proctor,  we will mail the new exam to the proctor's location.

Your proctor will notify you when your exam arrives to schedule your 
appointed time.

Once you have completed this new exam, it must be signed and notarized by 
the approved proctor and mailed back to us by certified mail. Your proctor 
will be given mailing instructions.

Respectfully,

Ken Jones
Branford Academy

So they smelled a rat.

There are a few minor errors in the test. One question asks

Q18. Which is NOT a reptile?
A.  alligator
B.  lizard
C.  mouse
D.  frog.

A mouse is a mammal, of course, but frogs and toads are amphibians, members of the class Lissamphibia in the order Anura. Reptiles are in the class Reptilia. Perhaps both answers are accepted as correct?

Another question asks

Q23. Which is correct?
A.  The earth revolves around the sun.
B.  The sun revolves around the earth.
C.  The sun revolves around the moon.
D.  The moon rotates as it revolves around the earth.

Yes, the earth revolves around the sun, but the moon also rotates as it revolves around the earth. It has to do that in order to keep the same "face" turned towards the earth: it must rotate one full turn for every orbit it makes. (The presence [or absence] of rotation is described as measured in an inertial reference frame.) Again, perhaps both answers are accepted.

A third quesion about oceans offers "Artic" as a possible wrong answer. Perhaps the intended answer is "Arctic?" The etymology of the word is pretty neat: it comes from the Greek arktos [bear], through the Greek arktikos, the Latin arcticus, the Medieval Latin articus, the Middle English artik. The "c" reappeared in 1556, eventually yielding the Modern English arctic. From this association between bears and the polar regions we also have the name of the northern constellation Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), and, in similar fashion the infrequently-used French adjective septentrionale (northern), from another name for the same constellation, les sept boeufs de labour (the seven oxen, septem triones in Latin).

Is there really a "Branford Academy" somewhere? Well yes, there is at least one, but it has nothing to do with Saint Regis. The town of Branford is on the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound, and is home to the Branford Academy of Hair and Cosmetology, a real school which is licensed by the State of Connecticut to train students in hairdressing and cosmetology. The owner was surprised to learn that there's another Branford Academy out there, at least in an abstract sense.


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Brentwick university

This is a defunct University Degree Program operation (or clone). The site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Breyer State University

The URL for this site is http://www.breyerstate.com/. Local copies were made 7/31/2003 for most files listed below.

Breyer State provides degrees "through Experiential Learning & Life Experience Credits" as well as an "Online Degree Program." The web site points out that "Breyer State University is not a state specific University and not a State University of Idaho. Breyer State University is a virtual University with headquaters located in Kamiah, Idaho. Not available to Idaho residents." Breyer State is affiliated with Saint Regis University (students are issued diplomas from both Breyer State and Saint Regis).

It is possible to receive credit for all but 6 of the 120 credit hours required for an experiential learning bachelors degree through "life experience." Transcripts do not indicate that "course equivalents" are "experiential." The online degree program (distinct from the "experiential..." program) comprises several hundred courses described in the web site.

Breyer State is accredited by the "Central States Consortium of Colleges and Schools" (CSCCS); the executive director of the parent organization of CSCCS is also the president of Breyer State as well as a professor with Saint Regis University and Dean of Nursing and Alternative Health Care Programs (and professor) at Canyon College. Other entities which accredit Breyer State are the "Accreditation Governing Commission-USA" and Liberia's "National Commission for Higher Education."

CSCCS accreditation

The web sites for Breyer State (www.breyerstate.com with IP address 209.235.192.243), the Central States Consortium of Colleges & Schools (CSCCS; www.aihcp.org/csccs.htm with IP address 209.235.198.88), and Canyon College (www.canyoncollege.edu with IP address 209.235.192.213) all reside on servers in the address space (209.235.192.0 - 209.235.255.255) assigned to the single internet service provider INetU, Inc., which is based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. CSCCS is an organization which accredits Breyer State and Canyon College. From the Breyer State web site:

We are pleased to announce that Breyer State University has been granted institutional accreditation by the Central States Consortium of Colleges and Schools. This accreditation means that after a comprehensive review of all standards, by an outside team of surveyors, Breyer State University was found to be in full compliance.

The CSCCS describes itself as

...an affiliate branch of the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals, Inc. Its purpose is to create, publish, and provide for comprehensive standards for the accreditation of bona fide institutions providing a non-traditional approach to secondary education. The CSCCS is dedicated to the process of institutional accreditation and works with candidate organizations to fulfill the requirements of the standards for accreditation. Standards have been developed, based on extensive research and current trends related to non-traditional educational institutions. An advisory board of professionals oversees the process of development and accreditation review of candidate institutions.

The names of universities it accredits, as well as the identities of members of its advisory board do not appear on the CSCCS web page.

The AIHCP home page lists "Professional Advisory Boards" for "The American College Of Hypnotherapy," "The American Academy of Grief Counseling," "The American Academy of Case Management," "The American College of Legal Nurse Consulting," and "The Center for Continuing Professional Education" but these all seem to relate to medical/clinical fields and would not be expected to evaluate a general university program.

There are more connections between Breyer State, Canyon College, and their accrediting agency than just a common ISP. The CSCCS web page resides in a subdirectory of the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals, Inc (AIHCP) site. The "administrative contact" for the AIHCP site is Dominick Flarey, who is also the president of Breyer State University, as well as Dean and Professor at Canyon College. The AIHCP site lists Dr. Flarey as the Executive Director of the AIHCP; at least one other member of the Breyer State faculty is also included in the AIHCP advisory boards.

The AIHCP web site gives a Niles, Ohio address for the organization. With the help of a site like http://www.phonenumber.com/ it is possible to run a "reverse address search" to learn what (or who) might actually be located at a particular street address. A search on the AIHCP address indicates that it is listed under the name of Dr. Flarey, rather than AIHCP. Neither PhoneNumber.com nor SmartPages.com has ever heard of an organization in Niles with the words "American" and "Institute" in its name.

The phone number that PhoneNumber.com associates with the AIHCP's Niles address is not the same as the phone number listed on the AIHCP site. Using PhoneNumber.com to run a reverse phone directory search in order to see who actually owns the AIHCP phone number yields the result "Dominick L. Flarey & Associates, Inc." The street address associated with this number is in Howland, Ohio.

It appears that there are close ties between Breyer State and an organization that accredits it.

Another accrediting organization which Breyer State mentions is the "Accreditation Governing Commission-USA" (AGC). The list of AGC-accredited schools is short, including Saint Regis University among other organizations.

Degree via experiential learning and life experiences

According to Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning 15th ed.: Breyer State "awards degrees at all levels and for most fields, mostly by life experience and learning." It is natural to wonder how "academic credit for life experience" is represented on the Breyer State transcript. From the Breyer State web site:

You will also receive one copy of official transcripts detailing all of the courses/credits received as well as degree awarded, and major and minor concentrated areas of study. Experiential credits are by semester hours with accompanying course equivalents assigned.

also from the site:

Will my degree diploma and/or transcripts say "experiential"?
No. Your diploma will state the degree awarded. Your official transcripts will detail course equivalents and credits ( semester hour) awarded. There are no letter grades assigned for an awarded course equivalent. The transcript reflects the course and credits awarded.

The previous question seems intended to reassure clients that someone reading the transcript will not realize that some amount of academic credit has been awarded for life experiences, rather than formal course work.

The site's online application form requests a copy of a transcript (if credit for previous academic work is desired) and a cv. The "service agreement" on the form explains that it is possible that additional work will be asked of the client, and that the credentials to be issued will include a diploma and transcript:

3. Purpose.
The applicant understands that the purpose of the assessment, and other additional study if required, is for the purpose of issuing a degree as requested by the applicant.

4. Assessment Out-Come.
Applicant understands that the applicant may be required to do additional reading, projects or course work if, after an assessment performed by Breyer State University, the applicant fails to achieve enough academic credits to fulfill the degree requirements.

5. Additional Studies.
Both parties agree that, pursuant provision 3 as stated above, the selection of additional reading materials, project(s) or course work, while primarily left up to the student, must be mutually agreed to by both parties prior to the commencement of any additional reading, studies, projects or course work. The objective is to assist the applicant in choosing a guided self study program which will fulfill the Breyer State Universities requirements for the award of academic credit and henceforth the award of a degree.

6. Award of Academic Credits.
The School warrants to provide an assessment of life experience credits as an instrument used by the School to assess and award academic credit to the applicant. Upon completion of an assessment performed by the School and the award of an appropriate number of life experience, transferable, and other credits as determined by the School, the School will issue a degree and transcripts to the applicant via U.S. mail. The School further agrees to assist the applicant with the selection of additional reading materials, project(s) or courses if required by the School before the award of a degree. The applicant is responsible for the purchase of any reading materials, cost of project(s), additional course work or any materials involved in additional required study.

The steps to be followed after submission of the online application form are described in a question-and-answer format:

What must I do to have my free assessment completed?
You must first complete the online enrollment form. Upon receipt of your online enrollment, you will receive a comprehensive e-mail with instructions for providing us with responses to a short set of "key" questions. Once you email back your responses to our questions, the academic faculty reviews this and will prepare a written assessment for you. You will receive your written assessment within 10 business days. Your written assessment will give you an excellent overview of the academic commitees decision as to full requirements needed to complete your degree program.

Based on item 4 in the service agreement, those whose life experiences and responses to the "short set of 'key' questions" are well received seem to be awarded degrees after completing (for a 120 semester-hour Bachelor's degree) a 3 semester-hour "Life Profile Assessment" and 3 semester-hour "Life Strategies & Goal Setting Course." All but 6 of the required 120 semester-hours can be satisfied through life experiences. A 36 semester-hour Masters degree requires a 3 semester-hour "Philosophy of Self Course" in place of the "Life Strategies & Goal Setting Course." The "Life Profile Assessment" course carries 6 semester-hours credit. All but 9 of the required 36 semester-hours can be satisfied through life experiences. A 48 semester-hour PhD adds a 3 semester-hour "Research Methodology" course and a 3 semester-hour credit "Doctoral Dissertation or Project" to the masters requirement. All but 15 of the required 48 semester-hours can be satisfied through life experiences.

The site's FAQ section seems to reassure clients that someone reading the transcript will not realize that academic credit has been awarded for life experiences. In this case, it seems likely that transcript entries are formatted so that they appear to be courses, rather than the outcomes of portfolio assesments.

Linkage with Saint Regis University

Breyer State is listed in the "Other Schools with Nonresidential Programs" chapter of Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning 15th ed., and not in the "Degree Mills" chapter. However, Breyer State maintains an affiliation with Saint Regis University:

Breyer State University is pleased to announce its affiliation with Saint Regis University, which is accredited by the National Board of Education, Inc. [This is an agency connected with the government of Liberia, not the United States.] As such, our graduates enjoy the many benefits of this accreditation.

Besides accrediting Saint Regis, the National Board of Education apparently runs it: Saint Regis displays a certificate which says

This is to certify that Saint Regis University Operated by the National board of education, Inc., an International Business Corporation with branch campuses in Liberia, has met the criteria set forth by the National Commission of Higher Education to operate an institution of higher learning in the Republic of Liberia, is hereby granted this accreditation.

Breyer State students receive diplomas from both schools:

Breyer State University graduates receive their degree from Breyer State University. Also, at the time of graduation, our graduates receive a companion degree from St. Regis University as an affiliate.

Also, in the catalogue it states that

All Degrees will be granted by Breyer State University & St. Regis University.

Bear's Guide... lists Saint Regis in its "Degree Mills" chapter as a "Dominica-based Internet degree mill." [Bear and Bear 2003] Dominick Flarey is listed as a Professor on the Saint Regis University faculty roster.

Linkage with James Monroe University and Robertstown University

Apparently Breyer State University and James Monroe University are twin organizations, listing the same Idaho address and phone number on their home pages. Dominick L. Flarey is the president of both schools. Graduates of James Monroe University are told that they will receive a Breyer State diploma (here's a local copy of the page.)

The present domain for James Monroe University is www.jmuniversity.com, but the school also seems to have registered the domain name www.jmuniversity.ac for itself. Here is the contact information included with the registration information for www.jmuniversity.ac:

Admin Contact
=============
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669

Technical Contact
=================
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669

It is interesting to compare the address and phone numbers for www.jmuniversity.ac with contact information for Robertstown University and Saint Regis University. Robertstown's contact page lists its address and phone numbers as

Robertstown University Monrovia
University Services
73 Carey Street
S&G Building East Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: +377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966.

Compare this with the contact information for Saint Regis University:

St. Regis University
Dr. Jallah Faciann, Director
73 Carey Street
S&G Building West Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: 377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966

University Services Administration
(independently owned verification/archive service)
611 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 211
Washington DC 20003-4303
202-478-0699.


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Buy A Degree

The URL for this site is http://www.buyadegree.com/. Local copies were made 7/31/2003 for most files listed below.

Buyadegree.com is quite clear about things: its home page features the message "No coursework, no attendance required!" in blinking red letters. The steps necessary to acquire a degree, as explained by the Buyadegree.com, are these:

Simple Steps to getting your degree

1. Be sure that you meet the requirements for the degree(s) you apply
2. Decide on the level of your degree - Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate
3. Decide on your major
4. Have your Credit Card ready

That's it; you are now ready to proceed to getting your degree!

The assertion that a customer meets the "requirements for the degree(s)" is indicated by a check box on the order form. No cv is submitted by the customer.

The question of the identity of the degree-granting university is amusing, and described in the FAQ section:

Q: Can you give me some details of the institutions that will be granting my degree?

A: No! To protect the institutions and also to protect YOU, the name of the University or College will only be revealed after you have graduated. This is to ensure that no one else would be able to know how you obtained your degree and also to avoid negative publicity to the institutions. For that very same reason, you do not have a choice of which Institution you will be graduating from or in which country the institution is located. Many loophole institutions operate legally by the clever use of jurisdictions (this is done for your benefit). We offer our services to an international client base without preference to any particular country. We guarantee that all the institutions we represent are legally formed and operating tertiary level institutions in ENGLISH SPEAKING jurisdictions that have English as the institutional language of operation.

It is probable that your degree will come from a country other than the country of your residence. If you feel that the degree you seek must come from a location near you or that you cannot explain your degree thru distance programs then you should not apply.


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Columbus University

The URL for this site is http://www.columbusu.com/. Local copies were made 8/4/2003 for most files listed below.

There is no mention of faculty on the site, or how academic credit for "life experience" is handled by Columbus. A call to ask if they "award academic credit for life experience," and how such information might be presented on a transcript revealed that Columbus does award academic credit for life experience, and that "only a letter grade, course name, and course number" would appear on the transcript. There'd be no indication that the customer had never actually taken the courses so listed, or that they had been placed there to represent equivalent life experiences.

In short, the transcript is a fake, and includes courses which are never taken by the Columbus customer.

Columbus states that it is accredited by the World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)." You can find WAUC on the Quackwatch list of "Questionable Organizations." More information about WAUC is given in information concerning Madison University elsewhere on this page.


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Concordia College and University

The URL for this site is http://www.concordia-college.net/.

Here are a few items from the Concordia College and University FAQ page.

Do my Concordia College & University degree or transcripts mention that I gained them through experience?
There is no mention of experience or of a non-traditional approach on Concordia diplomas or transcripts.

Do Concordia transcripts differ from transcripts issued by other schools?

Your sealed and embossed transcripts reflect our generic conversion of your existing competencies to all traditionally required + a number of elective courses in your major. All courses show letter grades, percentages, credits and a conclusive GPA of no less than 3.4. These are not necessarily the courses which you have taken during your prior studies, but they are the traditional university courses in your major.

What is the exact portfolio assessment and conversion methodology used by Concordia College?

Our assessor starts from an existing (traditional) distance learning transcript, compiled by himself for an adult distance learning student who was under the assessor's control during the time of his studies and whose transcript now serves as a 'model' for comparison. The Concordia C&U assessor then makes a general assessment of your knowledgeability, as demonstrated in your verifiable resume (the synopsis of your portfolio). He decides whether or not the model student's courses and grade structure are comparable to your own general knowledgeability. If they are, Concordia College awards the model student's transcript to you obviously without any mention of the initial student's identity. In other words, our assessor's overall evaluation is converted to generic transcripts originally compiled for traditional adult distance learning students. Our methodology implies that your transcripts will show generic curricula and generic grades. Your transcript may, consequently, contain courses in your major which you did not actually take. The model student took these classes. Your overall knowledgeability is declared equivalent to his, and the entire model student's transcript will be awarded in your name as a result of your academic equivalency determined by the assessor.

We obviously do not allow our students to have their own list of "preferred" or "must have" courses and grades pasted into our institution's transcripts.


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Custom Degrees

The URL for this site is http://www.customdegrees.com/. Copy date: 7/30/2003 for most files listed below.

The site uses IP addresses in the address space of www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com. Another "university" with these IP addresses is Hartford University.

The title of the home page (specified in the page's HTML code) is "Online Degree, fake diploma, accredited college online."

From the FAQ page, concerning transcripts:

1. How does the program work?

Custom Degrees represents a small group of colleges and universities that are authorized to grant high school diplomas and college degrees. You will submit an application to our company, and we will match your experience to the appropriate degree granting institution; and send your application to that university or college for review. If you are accepted to the degree for which you applied, you will pay for our services through our secure website Click Here. At this time, the university or college that accepted your degree application will send you your degree and transcripts within 7-10 days....

7. How long will it take to get my degree?

In most cases the whole process can be completed within 30-days, usually less.

13. Do I get transcripts?

Yes, official transcripts are included with your graduation package granted by the college or university that accepted your application and issued your degree. The transcripts will show a full course of study to meet the requirements of your degree. The schools we represent operate on a 4.0 grade scale. The grades will consist of A,B,C, D, etc.


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Degree Assessment

The URL for this site is http://www.degreeconsultant.com/inde.html. Local copies were made 7/30/2003 for most files listed below.

The IP address is in the same domain as the IP for the University of Switzerland.

Here's something from the site's FAQ section concerning the technique used to generate fake transcripts:

Can we choose the classes on our transcript?

No, the institutions use a proprietary process based on your prior experience to determine the classes that will be listed on your transcript. All transcripts will list courses necessary to the core and elective requirements of your degree as well as any additional course requirements that have been established by the issuing institution.

The "Terms of Use Agreement" page gives a customer service phone number (800) 704-6510. The page also shows a fair amount of concern over the release of details concerning the business to law enforcement officers or journalists. Customers are required to

...agree and certify that all the following are true:
  • You agree that you will not obtain information, documents, or products for the purpose of publishing a news story in any form of media whatsoever without prior written permission from Degree Assessment.
  • You agree that you are not obtaining information, documents, or products to use as evidence in any type of civil or criminal investigation.
  • You agree that all information, documents, or products obtained through Degree Assessment are for your own personal use.
  • You agree that you will not publish the names of any individuals associated with Degree Assessment (regardless of the type of association) in any form of media whatsoever without prior written permission from Degree Assessment.
  • (there are more points in the list)


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University of Devonshire

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Diplomas For Less

The URL for this site is http://diplomasforless.com/. Local copies were made 8/27/2003 for most files listed below.

Diplomas For Less explains itself this way:

We offer diplomas and transcripts from most US high schools as well as the colleges and universities on our list. We offer replacement diplomas and transcripts. While we don't require proof that you actually graduated, we will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that we abide by all applicable state and federal laws. If you obtain a diploma from us and didn't actually graduate, then the document will obviously be a "fake diploma."

In its "terms an conditions" statement it requires customers to agree to statements like the following:

The FAQ section is interesting: here are some selections from it.

Do you offer a verification service?
No, but we can point you in the right direction. Visit Verification Services. They're the only document verification site we could locate that will verify your diploma and transcripts, regardless of where and how you obtained them.

Do you offer GED certificates?
No. The government agency that monitors GEDs has politely asked us to not offer them "or else."

What do the signatures look like on the diplomas?
We print all signatures directly on the diploma. We won’t hand produce anyone’s signature - - - as this is forgery. You may select to have the signature lines on your diploma left blank and you should indicate this desire on your order form.

Can I customize my transcripts to include particular or transfer courses?
Maybe, depending on your request, we may be able to provide the specific coursework your request however, there is an additional minimum $99.00 fee such orders.

Illinois Public Act 93-0239 probably makes it illegal to sell these sorts of documents in Illinois. Diplomas For Less seems to be aware of this:

Schools Not Offered:
  • Any State of Illinois, Illinois State or other institution in the State or Illinois, or any customer in the State of Illinois
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California
  • University of Houston
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Phoenix
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Toledo
  • Syracuse University
  • Louisiana State University

The Diplomas For Less "novelty diploma" printing site's IP address is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP address for the sites of Ellington University, Lexington University, Stanton University, the Higher Education Services Association, and Verification Services.


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University of Dorchester

This site was defunct, and seemed to have turned into Strassford; some of the Strassford pages contain graphics files with names indicating they came from the Dorchester site. The site has been revived (8/03) with URL http://www.uoduk.co.uk/. Local copies were made 8/21/2003 for most files listed below.

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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University of Dunham

Note that the Dunham site is/was still active as of 5/21/03. The URL for it is http://www.universityofdunham.org.uk/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was April 28, 2003. The Dunham, Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury sites are nearly identical. (The Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury IP addresses are the same, and are the same as that of the "European Committee for Home and Online Education.") Dunham claims its address to be University of Dunham, Old Shire Hall, Dunham DH1 3HP, England, with Telephone: 00 44-795-797-2093 and (US) Fax number: 309-422-6641. A call to the UK phone number was answered by someone named "George" who confirmed that his phone number really was 44-795-797-2093 but that he had never heard of the University of Dunham.

It is amusing to see where they got the name "Old Shire Hall" from: it's where the Director of Personnel for the (real) University of Durham has his/her office. Take a look here! In addition, some of the text on the front page for Dunham and its UDP clones is also taken from a real university. Compare "The [University of Dunham | Strassford University | Shaftesbury University] aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence." with the University of Aberdeen Mission Statement: "The University of Aberdeen aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence."

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Earlscroft University

The URL for this site is http://www.earlscroft.com/. Local copies were made 8/3/2003 for most files listed below.

Earlscroft says that its UK office is here:

Earlscroft University Administration Building
11A Turney Road
Dulwich, London, SE21 8LX
United Kingdom

The Royal Mail says that's the address of "February Automation." On the web, February Automation describes itself as "London's leading data capture and response handling company providing a full in house and secure service for all your organisation's needs."

Earlscroft claims it is accredited by the (apparently imaginary) "United Congress of Colleges" (UCC). According to Google, UCC has no significant presence on the web.

Earlscroft points out that the enterprise is "on the run," in a sense: "Due to recent changes in fiscal legislation in Eire, which had nothing to do with Earlscroft University's degree granting status, the decision was made to register Earlscroft University in the Seychelles."

The Earlscroft web site is considerably more primitive in presentation than the sites of many other schools.


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Ellington University

The URL for this site is http://www.ellingtonuniversity-edu.org/. The front pages for Amstead and Ellington are nearly identical.

Ellington also sells high school diplomas.

The IP address (207.44.238.80) for Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are identical.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

Email asking how they generate the content of the transcript (does a customer actually take the courses?) yielded the following reply.

------------------------------------

A question about the transcript: will it show courses (course
names and grades) that are equivalent to the things I've learned as part
of life experience, or do I actually have to enroll in the courses to
have them appear on the transcript?

thanks-
------

------------------------------------

They will contain actual course titles typically taken in the chosen field
of your degree - if you qualify for the program.

------------------------------------
That means the cutomer doesn't actually take the courses which appear on the transcript.


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Epictetus College

The URL for this site is http://www.epictetus-college.org/. Local copies were made 7/31/2003 for most files listed below.

Epictetus does not seem to provide any academic material to its customers. It says:

Epictetus College is dedicated to the recognition and promotion of life experience competencies....

The college's intent is not to create competencies; it is to make them visible, to help in identifying them, as unrevealed life experience competency identification is one of the top concerns of most companies at the beginning of the 21st century, and untapped human resources is one of the biggest challenges to knowledge management.


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Farington University

The URL for this site is http://faringtonuniversity.org/. Farington seems to be a reincarnation of All American University.

The All American, Amstead, and Farington web sites share a large amount of content. In addition, the IP addresses for Amstead and Farington (64.191.16.169 and 64.191.16.164 respectively) are in the same internet domain. As a result, it seems possible that they are managed by the same parent organization.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology of other sites, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, and Farington are also related to Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc.

Here are two questions/answers from the site's FAQ page:

6. What can I use my degree for?
Almost anything you’d like except applying to an educational institution. Many colleges and universities are particular in the types of degrees they accept as credit toward a higher degree. Naturally, should you decide to pursue a higher degree, Farington University will give you full credit for the degree that you already have, whether it was obtained from us or from another educational institution.

7. How long before I receive my diploma?
In most cases you will receive your degree within 7 days of receipt of your approved application and payment for your graduation package.


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Glencullen university

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Hamilton University

The URL for this site is http://www.hamilton-university.edu/. Hamilton is the alma mater of Laura Callahan, an official in the Homeland Security Department and president of The Association for Federal Information Resources Management. Quoting from the GCN.com story in the link below,

A high-ranking career official in the Homeland Security Department apparently obtained her doctorate from a Wyoming diploma mill.

Laura L. Callahan, now senior director in the office of department CIO Steven Cooper, states on her professional biography that she “holds a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems from Hamilton University.” Callahan, who is also president of the Association for Federal IRM and a member of the CIO Council, is commonly called by the title “Dr.”

Callahan’s resume says she began her civil service career in 1984. Before joining HSD, she was deputy CIO at the Labor Department.

Hamilton University, according to an Internet search, is located in Evanston, Wyo. It is affiliated with and supported by Faith in the Order of Nature Fellowship Church, also in Evanston. The state of Wyoming does not license Hamilton because it claims a religious exemption. Oregon has identified Hamilton University as a diploma mill unaccredited by any organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. [Wait & Dizard 2003]

The Hamilton site contains no mention of any programs of study. It states that Hamilton is accredited by the "American Council of Private Colleges and Universities" (ACPCU). The ACPU web site's domain www.acpcu.org has IP address 216.167.68.234, in the same internet domain as Hamilton's www.hamilton-university.edu whose IP address is 216.167.68.239.


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Harrington university

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Hartford university (note: this is NOT the University of Hartford.)

Hartford University should not be confused with the University of Hartford. The web site for Hartford University is http://www.hartforduniversity-edu.org/. According to Netscape, the front page was last modified March 6, 2003. This site has taken a considerable amount of content from other institutions' web sites.

As of 4/22/03, the IP address for www.hartforduniversity-edu.org is 207.155.248.14, which is the same as one of the IP addresses for the domain www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com. (www.henryheston.com.cnchost.com had been ordered closed by the FTC in January, 2003.)

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).

Here are local copies of the Hartford pages:


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Hartley university

This is a defunct University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Heritage University

The URL for this site is http://heritageuniversity.com/. Local copies were made 7/31/2003 for most files listed below.

They explain that their transcripts are fake:

Heritage University transcripts show a traditional curriculum of required and elective distance learning courses that are the equivalent of the skills you have acquired as though you attended. There is no mention of “equivalency,” “evaluation,” “untraditional,” “distance learning,” or similar expression on any of your credentials. Credits, percentages, grades and GPA will appear [the text ends abruptly here]


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Instant Degrees

The URL for this site is http://www.instantdegrees.com/. Local copies were made 8/10/2003 for most files listed below. The URL http://www.onlineunivesity.com yields another Instant Degrees site which uses the same email contact address. (The site URL really does omit the "r" in "onlineunivesity.")

As explained in the site's FAQ section, "new institutions" represented by Instant Degrees will not provide email contact information or maintain web sites. It seems that it is not possible for clients receiving credentials from these institutions to contact the institution directly.

Here are various questions and answers from the site's FAQ page:

Can anybody get an Instant Degree?
Yes! Providing you are over the age of 18, you can use this LEGAL loophole to get an Instant Degree.

...

Can you tell me the Names and Addresses of the Colleges and Universities that grant the degrees before I graduate?
No! (see below)

Why can't you tell me the Names and Addresses of the Colleges and Universities that grant the degrees before I graduate?
As we explain clearly on the site, our service ensures that the confidentiality of the Institutions and the security of YOU the client and your Credit Card payment. Only those who graduate learn the name of the Institution they graduate from, this is to prevent negative publicity being directed towards the Institution or the graduates. Instantdegrees.com offers further security to the you by not releasing your payment to the Institution UNTIL they have sent to us your qualifications. We then forward them on to you.

Can I see a sample degree certificate?
No! First of all, we represent so many different institutions that this would be pointless anyway. Secondly, to do so would violate our Confidentiality Contract and lay us open to prosecution. We have strict guidelines on Degree certificate quality and we only deal with Institutions that conform to ISO Standards....

Can I choose which University or College the degree is awarded by?
No! The choice of Institution is made by us based on your choice of DEGREE and SUBJECT.

Can I specify the country, region or zone of the University or College that I graduate from?
No! Many loophole institutions operate legally by the clever use of jurisdictions (this is done for your benefit). We offer our services to an international client base without preference to any particular country. We guarantee that all the institutions we represent are legally formed and operating tertiary level institutions in ENGLISH SPEAKING jurisdictions that have English as the institutional language of operation. It is probable that your degree will come from a country other than the country of your residence. If you feel that the degree you seek must come from a location near you or that you cannot explain your degree thru distance programs then you should not apply.

Do I have any obligations.?
Yes! The act of making payment is a declaration that the person named on the diploma has sufficient Life/Work Experience or Prior Study to justify the award. We then make an application to the College or University on your behalf in a way we know will be accepted. We do not require a CV or any documentary evidence to back up your declaration. You also agree to the legally binding Confidentiality Contract which prevents your or anybody else from directly or indirectly disclosing the link between the awarding institution and instantdegrees.com This is designed to protect the interests of both our clients and the institutions we represent. (see http://www.instantdegrees.com/tos.htm. for further details)

...

Will the institution have an email contact?
Up until October 28 2002 all institutions represented by us operated an email contact for Graduate Affairs. Despite having their administration directed entirely off-line, they did so at OUR insistence as we believed that this would be convenient for our clients who come exclusively thru the Internet.

We provided clear explanations that for legal reasons email verification was not possible and that verification had to be presented by mail, in writing and accompanied by the written, signed consent of the graduate. Despite this, large numbers of our clients nevertheless attempted illegal verification requests, along with directing miscellaneous questions about InstantDegrees.com and posing questions answered either in our FAQ or in the Graduation Package. The volume of these emails rendered the email contacts almost useless for genuine Graduate Affairs questions.

Effective October 28 2002, no new institution represented by us will operate an email contact and those existing institutions that have operated email contacts at our insistence will no longer be required to do so. Most have indicated that they will decommission their email contacts immediately....

Will the institution have a website?
Generally, no! There is a good reason for this as private non-traditional Colleges and Universities that run websites are easily branded as "Virtual Universities" which is not the case. This can be a source of negative publicity which is best avoided.


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Interfaith Education Ministries (IEM)

The URL for this site is http://www.interfaithedu.org/. Local copies were made 8/26/2003 for most files listed below.

IEM is one of the enterprises offering a Branford Academy Preparatory High School diploma and Associate of Arts degree in exchange for completion of a 100-question multiple choice test. (See more about adventures in test-taking here.)


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James Monroe University

The URLs for this site are http://www.jmuniversity.com/ and http://www.jmuniversity.ac/. Local copies were made 8/16/2003 for many files listed below. (Most files named ac_... date from 8/23/03.)

Linkage with Breyer State, Saint Regis, and Robertstown Universities

Apparently Breyer State University and James Monroe University are twin organizations, listing the same Idaho address and phone number on their home pages. Dominick L. Flarey is the president of both schools. Graduates of James Monroe University are told that they will receive a Breyer State diploma (here's a local copy of the page.)

The present domains for James Monroe University are www.jmuniversity.com and www.jmuniversity.ac. Here is the contact information included with the registration information for www.jmuniversity.ac:

Admin Contact
=============
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669

Technical Contact
=================
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669
The James Monroe "Service Agreement" on the Application Form page says the "principal place of business" of James Monroe University is "located at 73 Carey Street, Monrovia Liberia," the same as Mr. Dunbar's address.

It is interesting to compare the address and phone numbers for www.jmuniversity.ac with contact information for Robertstown University and Saint Regis University. Robertstown's contact page lists its address and phone numbers as

Robertstown University Monrovia
University Services
73 Carey Street
S&G Building East Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: +377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966.

Compare this with the contact information for Saint Regis University:

St. Regis University
Dr. Jallah Faciann, Director
73 Carey Street
S&G Building West Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: 377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966

University Services Administration
(independently owned verification/archive service)
611 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 211
Washington DC 20003-4303
202-478-0699.

James Monroe University and Concordia College and University share some graphics.


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Kendall University

The URL for this site is http://www.kendall-u.net/.

Kendall displays an "orientation demonstration course" in its web site. The course, ENMT 301 (Environmental and Ecosystems Management), is copied from the University of Maryland University College site. (UMUC is an accredited part of the University of Maryland system.)

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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King's University

The URL for this site is http://kings.uni-edu.org/.

The site IP address (66.28.33.41) is identical for King's and Lafayette.

The King's site has copied research desriptions in its school of science page from the Astrophysics Research Institute of the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the LJMU School of Psychology. Other parts of the King's site use material copied from elsewhere in the LJMU site.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

This enterprise seems to be a University Consulting, Inc. product.


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Kingsfield university

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Lacrosse University

The URL for this site is http://www.lacrosseuniversity.com/. Local copies were made 8/4/2003 for most files listed below.

Here is information from the Lacrosse web site. Lacrosse awards credit for "life experience" among other things:

"LIFE AND WORK EXPERIENCE-(Challenge) Granting of University level credit for life and work experience simply means that the sum of your life experience is evaluated, and credits are granted for each course based on those things that you have already learned or experienced. The primary source of credit for many candidates is work, occupation or professional activities (past and present).

It is natural to wonder how the "official transcript" will reflect academic credit awarded for "professional experience."

Diplomas granted by Lacrosse University do not reflect how the degree requirements were met (traditionally or externally). This means you decide if you wish to divulge how you earned your degree. Diplomas are of typical university style. The University maintains a complete and permanent record on each graduate, and responds promptly to requests for transcripts when authorized by a graduate.

What about the grades that appear on the transcript for "life experience" work?

Transcripts
After completion of a course, a grade report is mailed. Most students wait until their degree program is completed before ordering a transcript. Transcripts and student records for distance education degree programs are identical to those of any university. No distinction or notation is made on transcripts indicating the method of course delivery.

In short, the transcript is a fake, and includes courses which were never taken by the Lacrosse customer.

Lacrosse states that it is accredited by the World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)." You can find WAUC on the Quackwatch list of "Questionable Organizations." More information about WAUC is given in information concerning Madison University elsewhere on this page.


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Lafayette University

The URL for this site is http://lafayette.uni-edu.org/.

The site IP address (66.28.33.41) is identical for King's and Lafayette.

The Lafayette home page includes a window in which "campus events" scroll. Here is a screen shot made 7/22/03 which shows the contents of the window at two different times. The left image announces that "Roger Newcomb" has been appointed an associate professor of biology. A google search for the four words Roger, Newcomb, biology, lafayette does not yield any hits to someone named "Roger Newcomb." The right image mentions that the "Classical, guitarist Frank Lasitter performs next month in Webster Hall." Google has never heard of anyone named "Frank Lasitter." In addition, it is surprising to see a concert announcement which does not specify the date for the event. A return visit to the Lafayette home page on 10/5/03 still reveals the same messages, including "Classical, guitarist Frank Lasitter performs next month in Webster Hall."

The Lafayette courses.html page states that "One example of our coursework acceptance can be found at Washington State University's School of Engineering and Applied Science: "Outside Course Evaluation." In reality, it's Washington University (in St. Louis) which does this; their page perhaps mistakenly refers to the unsavory Lafayette University while intending to refer to (the real) Lafayette College. Lafayette College's chemistry department offers Chem 221 (Organic Chemistry I) and Chem 222 (Organic Chemistry II).

The application form for Lafayette does not include a postal address, even though customers are asked to enclose a $50. application fee.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

This "school" seems to be a University Consulting, Inc. product.


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Landford university

Note that the Landford site was reactiviated in March, 2003 after disappearing for about a month. Its old (now-defunct) URL was http://www.landforduniversity.org/; it is now using the URL http://www.landfordu.org/. According to Netscape, the front page was last modified March 5, 2003. (Here's a screen shot of the info window.)

The list of study opportunities in the site is identical to that of the now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.) The Landford University web site has been named in a second amended FTC injunction and ordered closed.

An amusing piece of borrowing: the two square red bullets to the left of the "A Message From Our President" and "Our History" links use GIF files which live in Ithaca. The bullet graphics load from http://www.info.cornell.edu/CUHomePage/images/redbox.gif when you open the Landford home page.

This is/was a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Legal College Degrees

The URL for this site is http://www.legalcollegedegrees.com/.

This site sells diplomas for the defunct All American University. (This is similar to the way in which "Speedy Degrees" sells degrees for Ashwood.)


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Lexington University

The URL for this site is http://www.Lexingtonuniversity.com/.

Lexington's order form includes the disclaimer "...I further understand that Lexington University offers no classes, no curriculum, no lectures, no staff or faculty, no literature, learning materials, testing, or thesis or dissertation review."

Lexington also sells high school diplomas.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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MacArther University

The URL for this site is http://www.macarther.net/.

MacArther has taken its course catalogue's course descriptions from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) catalogue. Compare them here:

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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Madison University

The URL for this site is http://www.madisonu.com/. Local copies were made 8/3/2003 for most files listed below.

Madison awards credit for "life experience" (although it also lists a set of courses in its catalogue): "Credit for Professional/Occupational Experience may be used to satisfy degree requirements on a course by course basis." It is natural to wonder how the "official transcript" will reflect academic credit awarded for "professional experience." The answer is simple: courses which are never actually taken (and grades for those courses!) are inserted into the transcript so that it is not readily apparent that the credits are awarded for "life experience" rather than formal academic work. From page 4 of the Madison Catalogue:

How much credit can I receive for my work and life experience?

There is no limit to the amount of college credit a student may receive for work and life experience. Students who possess knowledge and professional training in their field of study may be exempt from academic course requirements.

How will my work/life experience be reflected on my transcripts?

Students will receive a letter grade for each course completed. The method of completion is not disclosed on Official Transcripts.

In short, the transcript is a fake, and includes courses which were never taken by the Madison customer.

Madison states that it "is fully accredited by the World Association of Universities and Colleges (WAUC)." You can find WAUC on the Quackwatch list of "Questionable Organizations."

The conference paper Competing for the Cyber-Savvy; challenging the competitor you never knew you had (by George M. Brown; paper presented at the 16th Australian International Education Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 2002) contains more information about the WAUC:

The World Association of Universities and Colleges (www.web-hed.com/wauc), is an unrecognized accrediting agency run out of a secretarial service in Nevada, USA. The WAUC claims to accredit over twenty-two universities worldwide, including the universities owned and managed by the founder of the WAUC. In 1999, one of its members, Taft, sued the WAUC as it alleged the WAUC had not performed a site visit upon its organization order to establish its bona-fides. During discovery part of the lawsuit, the WAUC was unable to provide any evidence suggesting it had conducted a site visit on any of its member institutions. With this type of case, one would have thought that the agency would not be permitted to operate. Unfortunately, due to the ease of online communication and the increase in globalization, organizations such as the WAUC are able to accredit operations throughout the world.


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National Board of Education, Inc. (NBOE claims to have some kind of connection to the Liberian government.)

The URL for this site is http://www.nationalboardedu.com/. Local copies were made 8/13/2003 for most files listed below.

Saint Regis University displays a certificate which says

This is to certify that Saint Regis University Operated by the National board of education, Inc., an International Business Corporation with branch campuses in Liberia, has met the criteria set forth by the National Commission of Higher Education to operate an institution of higher learning in the Republic of Liberia, is hereby granted this accreditation.

The NBOE contact page gives the NBOE phone number as (202) 478-1779; a call placed to this number reaches an answering machine which does not identify the organization. The number's routing system allows the caller to leave a voice message or send a fax.

This phone number is also listed on the MarkeTrends Productions website ("a web hosting and site developing company. [Their] home office and server are located in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra's in Auburn, CA, about 30 miles East of Sacramento on Interstate 80."). See their web page https://www.marketrends.net/advanced/OTAC.htm. (Here's a local copy.)

The Robertstown University site http://www.robertstownuniversity.ac/ also lists the number (202) 478-1779. It appears on the school's FAQ page:

Can I call and ask more questions?
Please feel free to email a description of any concern, and we will be happy to forward it on to the proper advisor. If you have read the entire content of this website and have not found any instance of your concern, and if your question is relevant to earning a degree you may call (202) 478 1779.

Robertstown displays an accreditation certificate from Liberia's National Commission for Higher Education which does not mention NBOE.

The NBOE services concerning degree attestation for customers do not even require submission of a cv.

A number of organizations displaying NBOE credentials on their web sites include text similar to that found on the "Advanced Education Development" page http://www.advancedu.org/accreditation.htm:

The National Board of Education, Inc. is a legal, valid and authentic higher education accreditation organization, operating under the authority and in conformity with all current laws and regulations ruling educational competency certification of the country of Liberia, and meets all legal qualifications to establish and operate online and virtual universities to grant college level degrees, based on assessment of prior learning, experiential learning, testing, independent study or coursework.

For verification of accreditation of The National Board of Education, Inc contact:

The Embassy of Liberia
First Secretary & Consul
Abdulah K. Dunbar
5201 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 723-0437

A call to the Liberian Embassy to learn more about NBOE in August, 2003 revealed that Mr Dunbar was no longer working there; in response to a request for information one is referred to Aaron B. Kollie, Liberian chargé d'affaires. (Mr Kollie was unavailable at the time. At the moment there is no ambassador assigned to the embassy; Mr. Kollie is the embassy's senior diplomatic official.)

The embassy looked into the matter of NBOE and Saint Regis and eventually posted an announcement 9/25/03 on the entry page to the embassy's site. (The statement remained in place for about a week before being replaced by other matters.) Click here for a screen-shot of the page containing the announcement. Here is the text of the statement:

The Embassy of Liberia in Washington, DC wishes to dissociate itself and to announce that it has no official dealings with the online St. Regis University. The Embassy of Liberia is not a source to verify or authenticate the accreditation status of St. Regis University, and would as such assume no responsibility for any reference to the Embassy. Anyone seeking clarification should channel same directly to St. Regis.
Sgd: Aaron Kollie, Charge d'Affaires

The Embassy's web site is contained in the commercial site http://www.liberian-connection.com/, and the site is mirrored at http://www.tlcafrica.com/. The fact that these are the correct sites for the embassy is verified by embassy staff, as well as the webmaster for the sites. The official email address for the embassy listed on these sites is liberianembassy@urbanafricaweb.com.

In spite of the statement by the Embassy, as of 10/5/03 Saint Regis continues to claim its accreditation status can be verified through various Liberian embassies, including the embassy in Washington. Note that the contact information for the Washington embassy has changed in an interesting fashion: before the statment from the Embassy, the Saint Regis accreditation page listed the URL www.liberianembassy.com below the correct postal address for the embassy. (Here's a local copy of this page.) This site is NOT the real embassy site, though it purported to be. Further, an earlier version of the page www.liberianembassy.com/education.html informed the public that "To inquire as to the legal status of Liberian educational institutions contact gov@liberiaembassy.com".


It seems that NBOE actively solicits the business of legal, unaccredited schools. Here is the text of a post from John Bear on the subject. The posts which follow are also relevant.

Liberian accreditation for sale, $50,000 + $20,000/year

St. Regis and a few others have been claiming accreditation from Liberia. Here's the rather amazing letter passed on to me by someone involved with a legal unaccredited school:
--------------------------------------------------

Dear Dr. ----

The U.S. Office of Education is not the agency that gives, (or needs to give) recognition of your accreditation. However, your school would benefit greatly if foreign evaluation agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Office of Education will attest that ---- degrees are equivalent to US regionally accredited degrees.

This can only be done if the school accreditation meets the requirements of the U.S. Office of Education, one of which is that the university hold the recognition of its homeland's Education Minister. NBOE can secure for your school full government recognition that can be verified through the M.O.E. office or WA DC Embassy.

The following may be of help. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Why do we need government accreditation?
Every college or university needs accreditation from either a US approved accreditor, OR a government Education Minister. "Unknown", "unrecognized, "non-US Dept of Ed approved" or other "dubious" accreditations are actually damaging to the reputation of the school and should never be used. The Internet makes this information available to potential students and using non-credible accreditation agencies results in a negative image.

Why should "private" or "unknown" or "self created" accreditation agencies be avoided?
No approved evaluation agency will attest that any degree earned at an institution that is not fully recognized by an Education Minister is equivalent to US RA degree, When degree holders require an evaluation of their degree to prove equivalency, they will turned down if their degree is from a school without government recognition. These types of “accreditations” are harmful to your school's reputation and destroy credibility.

Why do I need NBOE to gain this recognition?
NBOE is fully accredited and recognized by the Education Ministry of Liberia as the only legal, valid and authentic accrediting agency, operating under the authority and in conformity with all current laws and regulations ruling educational competency certification of the Republic of Liberia, and meets all legal qualifications to establish virtual universities to grant college level degrees.

ONLY through NBOE channels, can you be guaranteed the acceptance of our university for full recognition by the Minister of Education.

But, what if our university wishes to be accredited or recognized in another country?
Liberia's educational laws allow for great flexibility, making it an ideal homeland for online and nontraditional programs. However, some universities wish to have recognition of other countries. Once your university has been fully recognized by our Minister of Education, gaining additional recognitions through other countries becomes much easier.

NBOE is in the process of adding additional countries, but only existing accredited members will be allowed access to these in the future.

What is the fee for accreditations?
Your school will receive a Certificate of Recognition directly from the Minster of Education of the Republic of Liberia, valid for two years. The fee to NBOE covers ALL costs involved and comes with a guaranty of acceptance. The fee is $50,000 US. (Annual renewal: $20,000 per year)

Once your university can legitimately claim full government recognized and accreditation your school will enjoy greater strength and credibility, and the value and the demand for your degrees will soar.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely, L. L. McKee
NBOE Accreditation Officer
http://www.nationalboardedu.com


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Northfield university

Note that the Northfield site is/was still active as of 4/15/03. The URL for it is http://www.Northfield-university.net/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was March 30, 2003. The Northfield and Parkhurst sites are nearly identical. (As of 4/15/03, both "universities" have a "Dr. Harold P. Caldwell" serving as president.)

The list of study opportunities in the site is identical to that of now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.) The Northfield University web site has been named in a second amended FTC injunction and ordered closed.

This is/was a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Panamerican Seminary

The URL for this site is http://www.pansem.hpg.ig.com.br. Local copies were made 8/21/2003 for most files listed below.

There is something surreal about this site. From the methods page:

Although you will not receive theological information, you will receive the theological formation that you need. How? Proving that you know what you know.

The 45 subjects of the curriculum are covered in their entirety in a 104-page booklet of true/false and multiple-choice questions.

The program costs $300; a "Bachelor of Ministerial Theology" is conferred.

According to the owner of the building at the address given in the web site, there's no Panamerican Seminary there. The phone number does not work.

Here is an email exchange with the Panamerican Seminary.

OK- I am curious. What ever should make me think that your website at
http://www.pansem.hpg.ig.com.br
is anything more than a scheme to take money from people in exchange for
nothing of value?

Half the phone  numbers at the address 4081 N. Federal Highway, Pompano
Beach, FL have been disconnected. Apparently there is no "Panamerican
Seminary" there.

---------

-----------------------

Dear ----, thank you for your concern about our work. We are a new 
theological school in the USA, but we have worked in theological education 
for 15 years in Brazil. Through our former schools we have reached about 
30.000 people, most of them students of ours. We had the pleasure to enroll 
students in Japan, Swiss, Romenia, Russia and many countries in Africa and 
Europe. Our method is really something very valuable for people that are 
already working in the missionary or pastoral field because it's only a way 
to systematize the knowledge that he(she) already have. Of course we need to 
receive some money to repay our work, because we are not sponsored by a rich 
mission, you know, we need to raise funds to pay the bills. As a matter of 
fact many telephone numbers were cut of this adress because there was 
formerly a company of credit cards functioning here. They had a lot of 
telephone numbers, but they moved and we are occupying two of the rooms that 
they occupied. We are working only with distance courses, but we intend to 
open a seminary with class rooms here at South Florida. Glad to hear from 
you.

May the Lord bless you and your family and beloved friends.

Pr. Paulo Lins


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Parkhurst university

Note that the Parkhurst site is/was still active as of 4/14/03. The URL for it is http://www.parkhurstuniversity.org/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was March 12, 2003. The contact information for Parkhurst claims its address is 23 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DZ. However, a search of addresses in this postal code (using the Royal Mail's web site) shows no 23 Guilford Street. The only address in WC1N 1DZ they list is the University of London computer center at 20 Guilford Street. The Northfield and Parkhurst sites are nearly identical. (As of 4/15/03, both "universities" have a "Dr. Harold P. Caldwell" serving as president.)

The list of study opportunities in the site is identical to that of now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.)


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Parkwood university

The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003. It was a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Ratchford University

The URL for this site is http://www.ratchfordu.com/.

The site has copied significant amounts of material from other sites. Compare, for example, the following two files:

Also compare these:

An online orientation available on the site is a Powerpoint presentation which contains the name "Judson College" in the "Company" field of the File->Properties dialog box. (Judson is a four-year Christian college in Elgin, Illinois.) The author named in the "Author" field is Judson's "Director of Customized Learning" in their Continuing Education department. It is possible that Ratchford has modified the Judson presentation to present as their own (without attribution to Judson for the original) with the author's permission. It might be the case, however, that they've taken it without permission.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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University of Ravenhurst

The list of study opportunities in the site was identical to that of the now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood and Ravenhurst sites were ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.)

This was a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Robertstown University

The URL for this site is http://www.robertstownuniversity.ac/. Local copies were made 8/14/2003 for most files listed below.

Linkage with Saint Regis, James Monroe, and Breyer State Universities as well as the National Board of Education (Liberia)

Robertstown University has close ties to its accrediting body and to Saint Regis University and James Monroe University (Bear's Guide... lists Saint Regis in its "Degree Mills" chapter as a "Dominica-based Internet degree mill" [Bear and Bear 2003]): Robertstown's contact page lists its address and phone numbers as

Robertstown University Monrovia
University Services
73 Carey Street
S&G Building East Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: +377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966.

Compare this with the contact information for Saint Regis University:

St. Regis University
Dr. Jallah Faciann, Director
73 Carey Street
S&G Building West Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: 377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966

University Services Administration
(independently owned verification/archive service)
611 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 211
Washington DC 20003-4303
202-478-0699.

Also compare this with the registration information for www.jmuniversity.ac, the short-lived domain for James Monroe University:

Admin Contact
=============
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669

Technical Contact
=================
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669
(James Monroe now uses the domain www.jmuniversity.com. It appears that the school is a conjoined twin of Breyer State: both list the address P.O. Box 1144, Kamiah, Idaho 83536, Tel: 208.935.0233, Fax: 208-935-0392 on their home pages. In addition both schools list Dr. Dominick L. Flarey as president.)

Besides sharing a phone and office with Saint Regis, Robertstown also says it is accredited by the "Higher Education Accrediting Authority of the Ministry of Education in the Government of Liberia." Robertstown displays an accreditation certificate from Liberia's National Commission for Higher Education which does not mention NBOE.

The Robertstown University FAQ page lists the number (202) 478-1779 as one of its contact numbers:

Can I call and ask more questions?
Please feel free to email a description of any concern, and we will be happy to forward it on to the proper advisor. If you have read the entire content of this website and have not found any instance of your concern, and if your question is relevant to earning a degree you may call (202) 478 1779.

The NBOE contact page gives the NBOE phone number as (202) 478-1779 too; a call placed to this number reaches an answering machine which does not identify the organization. The number's routing system allows the caller to leave a voice message or send a fax.

This phone number is also listed on the MarkeTrends Productions website. See their web page https://www.marketrends.net/advanced/OTAC.htm. (Here's a local copy.)

High school diplomas are available through Robertstown

Robertstown offers high school and Associate of Arts diplomas through the "Branford Academy Preparatory High School," in addition to university degrees. The site presents a 100-question multiple choice test on a web page in order to evaluate the high school diploma customer's level of knowledge. Please look here for a description of the high school program.

Campus photos do not seem to show local residents

Here's another of the site's unusual features. Its front page presents a slide show of university-style images: groups of young adults sitting in front of personal computers, university buildings on a campus quadrangle, individuals working on laptop computers, and so forth. Since Robertstown gives its address to be in Liberia, it is curious that none of the people in any of the images have dark skin.

Isn't that Blenheim Palace?

The slide show includes an image of an impressive, columned building. It bears a striking resemblance to Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, seen from its south front side. Here is an image showing both buildings.

Clustered IP addresses for Robertstown, Saint Regis, and James Monroe

The IP addresses for a number of schools with Liberian National Board of Education recognition are closely clustered. Here is a table:

Organization
IP address (as of 8/16/03)
domain
University Services 216.171.216.121 university-services.net
National Board of Education 216.171.216.167 nationalboardedu.com
American Capital University 216.171.216.169 americancapitalu.com.
Saint Regis University 216.171.217.118 saintregis.edu.lr
Robertstown University 216.171.217.187 robertstownuniversity.ac
Saint Regis University 216.171.217.188 stregis.ac
Distance Education Discussion Forum 216.171.217.190 distancedegree.edu.pk
James Monroe University 216.171.217.191 jmuniversity.ac


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Table of organizations

Ross College

The URL for this site is http://www.rosseducation.net/.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

On its FAQ page, Ross College mistakenly refers to itself as Kendall University in a question about transfer of its credits to other institutions.


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Saint Regis University

The URL for this site is http://saintregis.edu.lr/. Local copies were made 8/16/2003 for most files listed below.

Bear's Guide... lists Saint Regis in its "Degree Mills" chapter as a "Dominica-based Internet degree mill." [Bear and Bear 2003]

Linkage between Saint Regis, Robertstown, James Monroe, and Breyer State Universities as well as the National Board of Education (Liberia)

Saint Regis University, Robertstown University, Breyer State University, James Monroe University, and the Liberian National Board of Education are closely tied. Breyer State maintains an affiliation with Saint Regis University:

Breyer State University is pleased to announce its affiliation with Saint Regis University, which is accredited by the National Board of Education, Inc. [This is an agency connected with the government of Liberia, not the United States.] As such, our graduates enjoy the many benefits of this accreditation.

Breyer State students receive diplomas from both schools:

Breyer State University graduates receive their degree from Breyer State University. Also, at the time of graduation, our graduates receive a companion degree from St. Regis University as an affiliate.

Also, in the Breyer State catalogue it states that

All Degrees will be granted by Breyer State University & St. Regis University.

Robertstown's contact page lists its address and phone numbers as

Robertstown University Monrovia
University Services
73 Carey Street
S&G Building East Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: +377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966.

Compare this with the contact information for Saint Regis University:

St. Regis University
Dr. Jallah Faciann, Director
73 Carey Street
S&G Building West Wing
1000 Monrovia 10, Liberia
West Africa
Phone: 377 47 528-637
Fax/Voicemail: 309 412 1966

University Services Administration
(independently owned verification/archive service)
611 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite 211
Washington DC 20003-4303
202-478-0699.

Also compare this with the registration information for www.jmuniversity.ac, the short-lived domain for James Monroe University:

Admin Contact
=============
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669

Technical Contact
=================
(NIC-63525)
Dr. Michael Dunbar (info@jamesmonroeunversity.ac)
James Monroe University (JMU)
73 Carey St SOUTH WING monrovia na na Lr
Phone : 011 377 47 528-637, Fax : 1 202 478 0669
(James Monroe now uses the domain www.jmuniversity.com.)

On its accreditation page Saint Regis explains its credentials:

St. Regis is Chartered (1984) by the National Legislature, the Board of Directors having been appointed under the terms of its charter and ACCREDITED by the Higher Education Commission of the Education Ministry of Liberia, which grants recognition to post-secondary education institutions in Liberia including University of Liberia and Cuttington University College.

The Republic of Liberia is one of the earliest United Nations Educational Organization UNESCO Higher Education Partners, and a historical American Colony. St. Regis University is listed at UNESCO and is scheduled for print in their upcoming handbook edition 2005.

Apparently, UNESCO has decided not to list Saint Regis in its 2005 handbook after all. See this link for more information. Further, the "American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers" does not consider Saint Regis' Liberian credentials to be on a par with US regional accreditation. Here is the text of a post on this subject, written by Dr. Bear:

AACRAO takes a stand on St. Regis University

AACRAO, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, is widely regarded as the ultimate arbiter on the acceptability of non-US degrees in the US. They were asked by a client about the equivalency of Saint Regis, and this is their formal response.

From AACRAO, www.aacrao.org:

"Saint Regis University" is a virtual university claiming recognition by the Ministry of Education of Liberia. Recently, the Ministry of Education in Liberia has recognized a number of virtual universities, few of which have any actual physical entity in Liberia. Most of these virtual universities use the same address in Monrovia. Recognition of an institution by the appropriate educational authority of a country is usually strong evidence of the credibility of its issued academic awards as comparable to similar awards in the United States. However, as the standards of recognition of institutions in some countries may vary due to local conditions such as civil war and economic hardship, simple recognition by a foreign government alone cannot be considered an automatic guarantee of comparability to a United States academic award and each country's system must be judged on its own merits in this regard. Therefore, while we acknowledge previous recognition by the Ministry of Education of Liberia of the following universities - the University of Liberia, Cuttington University College, and the African Methodist Episcopal University - we do not accept the recognition of Saint Regis University by the Ministry of Education on Liberia as comparable with the recognition afforded the three above referenced universities and AACRAO considers Saint Regis University to be comparable to an entity in the United States that does not have regional academic accreditation.

Saint Regis is run by the National Board of Education: Saint Regis displays a certificate which says

This is to certify that Saint Regis University Operated by the National board of education, Inc., an International Business Corporation with branch campuses in Liberia, has met the criteria set forth by the National Commission of Higher Education to operate an institution of higher learning in the Republic of Liberia, is hereby granted this accreditation.

High school diplomas are available through Saint Regis (as well as Robertstown)

Saint Regis and Robertstown offer high school and Associate of Arts diplomas through the "Branford Academy Preparatory High School," in addition to university degrees. The site presents a 100-question multiple choice test on a web page in order to evaluate the high school diploma customer's level of knowledge. Please look here for a description of the high school program.


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Table of organizations

Shaftesbury university

Note that the Shaftesbury site is/was still active as of 5/1/03. The URL for it is http://www.Shaftesburyu.org.uk/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was Feb. 26, 2003. The Dunham, Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury sites are nearly identical. (The Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury IP addresses are the same, and are the same as that of the "European Committee for Home and Online Education." In addition, though Strassford and Shaftesbury claim to be located at different addresses in different postal codes in London, they both list the same phone number: 00 44 (798) 516-8717. Dialing this number after hours yields the following message, delivered first in Hebrew, and then in English: "Hello, the cellcom subscriber you have reached is not available. Please try again later.")

Some of the text on the front page for Shaftesbury and its UDP clones is also taken from a real university. Compare "The [University of Dunham | Strassford University | Shaftesbury University] aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence." with the University of Aberdeen Mission Statement: "The University of Aberdeen aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence."

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Shelbourne university

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Table of organizations

Shepperton University

The URL for this site is http://www.sheppertonu.org.uk/. Local copies were made 8/17/2003 for most files listed below.

Shepperton University is a revived version of the Westhampton University site. The site graphics are identical; the names of the two academic officers listed in the site (Allan Ward, President; Laura Forbes, Academic Services Manager) are the same.

That awful grammatical mistake present in the "President's Message" on a number of University Degree Program sites ("For those of you whom are already with us at...") has been removed. Most of the remaining text on the Shepperton site is identical to the text on the defunct Westhampton site.

Shepperton's IP address is 66.132.45.177, identical to the IP for the Strassford University domain www.strassuniversity.org.uk.

Shepperton's fax number is 309 422 6641, the same as that for Dunham and Strassford Universities.

The Shepperton phone number is 44 207 071 5610, the same as that for Shaftesbury University as well as Strassford's other site, www.strassfordu.org.uk.

Shepperton's "course listing" is taken from the (real, regionally accredited) University of Central Florida's site.


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Table of organizations

Speedy Degrees

The URL for this site is http://www.speedydegrees.com/.

The site's IP address is the same as that for the Ashwood site; the pages are used to present Ashwood to potential customers. Most are nearly identical to the corresponding Ashwood pages.


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Table of organizations

Stafford university

Note that the Stafford site is/was still active as of 5/1/03. The URL for it is http://www.Stafford.ac/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was April 29, 2003. The Dunham, Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury sites are nearly identical. (The Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury IP addresses are the same, and are the same as that of the "European Committee for Home and Online Education." In addition, though Strassford and Shaftesbury claim to be located at different addresses in different postal codes in London, they both list the same phone number: 00 44 (798) 516-8717. Stafford has a different phone U.K. number: +44 20 8458 1529.

A call placed to Stafford's London number on a Thursday evening (the time corresponded to 12:30 am in London) reached not an answering machine but someone with an English accent who said "University" upon lifting the phone. A request to speak to the registrar for Stafford University (to check on the accreditation status of Stafford since it does not appear on the list of legitimate degree-granting institutions maintained by the British government's Department for Education and Skills) was met with the excuse that the registrar was actually on the other line and would call back later.

The "later" was about two weeks later. It seemed likely that the degree that Stafford issues is in violation of the UK's Education Reform Act of 1988. The "registrar" explained that Stafford is "not a traditional university and doesn't pretend to be." They're giving people an "honorary diploma" and not a degree: they are "trying to complement a person's career" so "it's not a degree in that sense." With respect to the Education Reform Act... the registrar said that "it's not clear ground here." (It is not legal to offer a document that could reasonably be taken to be a university degree from an institution based in the UK without government approval.)

A query concerning a possible connection between Stafford and the University Degree Program's set of enterprises was met with indignation. He said "absolutely not" and then complained that Strassford University was stealing content from Stafford to use in the Strassford web site. This seemed amusing-- the IP addresses are identical for the Shaftesbury, Stafford, and Strassford sites so they all live inside the same web server.

The registrar complained that there's too much emphasis on the "document" and not enough on the actual level of accomplishment and expertise.

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Stanton University

The URL for this site is http://stantonuniversity-edu.org/.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.

Here is a quote from the school's "Certification of Understanding" on the order form. Customers must agree to it when purchasing a diploma.

I further understand that The University offers no classes, no curriculum, no lectures, no staff or faculty, no literature, learning materials, testing, or thesis or dissertation review.


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Strassford university

Note that the Strassford site is/was still active as of 5/1/03. The URL for it is http://www.strassfordu.org.uk/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was April 7, 2003. The Dunham, Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury sites are nearly identical. (The Stafford, Strassford, and Shaftesbury IP addresses are the same, and are the same as that of the "European Committee for Home and Online Education." In addition, though Strassford and Shaftesbury claim to be located at different addresses in different postal codes in London, they both list the same phone number: 00 44 (798) 516-8717. Dialing this number after hours yields the following message, delivered first in Hebrew, and then in English: "Hello, the cellcom subscriber you have reached is not available. Please try again later.")

A message on a University Degree Program answering machine in mid-April, 2003 yielded a call from "Douglas Abbott." Mr. Abbott said that a "second PhD" could be obtained from Strassford University (based in London) with the one-time registration fee of $1,360 covering all costs, including unlimited transcripts and lifetime verification of credentials in response to sanctioned queries. "General type letters" of recommendation would be included in the transaction.

Strassford would require a one-page synopsis of a thesis that could be written at some later time; there would be no requirements on completion date of the actual thesis, and the new PhD would be delivered within ten days, before the thesis was written. (In fact it could be delivered before preparation of the synopsis of the planned thesis.)

Mr. Abbott described the generation of a transcript. "Professors" on the UDP staff would invent a sequence of courses that they would expect to be similar in content to the things the customer had learned through "life experience." The course names (and grades) might mislead someone into thinking that the client had actually been enrolled in those courses, since the transcript would not explain that these were fabricated to give a sense of what might reasonably be expected to have been learned independently. It would be up to the customer to clarify this to a prospective employer as the customer saw fit.

Some of the text on the front page for Strassford and its UDP clones is also taken from a real university. Compare "The [University of Dunham | Strassford University | Shaftesbury University] aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence." with the University of Aberdeen Mission Statement: "The University of Aberdeen aims to create, develop, apply, and transmit, through the work of all its members, knowledge, skills and understanding at the highest levels of excellence."

This seems to be a University Degree Program operation (or clone).


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Suffield College and University

The URL for this site is http://www.suffielduniversity.com/.

Here are two questions/answers from the site's FAQ page:

8. How, or for what can I use my degree?
Some people want the degree to assist them in getting a better job. You might have the experience and the knowledge to do the job, but often times the person with the degree will be picked over the person without it. Getting your degree will level the playing field and improve your prospects considerably. Of course, there are those who aren't concerned about employment prospects. They might be self employed, retired, or, happy being at their current employment level. But they want the personal satisfaction of knowing that their knowledge can be transferred to a degree. They want to hang their diploma on the wall and feel proud of their accomplishment.

9. How long will it take to get my degree?
In most cases the whole process can be completed within 14 days.


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University of Switzerland

Note that the university of Switzerland site is/was still active as of 5/30/03. The URL for it is http://www.swissu.org/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was May 24, 2003.

Some of the text in the University of Switzerland site is taken from other sites, including those of real universities. A number of the site's pages present a commercial site in a frame in the center of the page as the main substance of the page. This is rather strange, to see advertising presented in a "university" web page.


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Thornewood university

This was a University Degree Program operation (or clone). The list of study opportunities in the site is identical to that of the now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.)


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Trinity College and University

The URL for this site is http://www.trinity-college.edu/.

TCU's course descriptions are copied from the (accredited) Thomas Edison State College list of courses offered. The order in which the courses are listed is different on the two sites, but many (most? all?) of the course descriptions are not.


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Trinity Southern University

The URL for this site is http://trinitysouthernuniversity.org/.

Here are some questions/answers from the site's FAQ page:

Q. Will my transcript be based on my prior learning, job, or resume?
A. No. Your transcript will show the required courses for the particular degree you are qualified for including basic electives. You may request to have specific courses listed on your transcript when you order.

Q. What is the difference between Trinity Southern and other prior learning colleges that charge $700-$1500?
A. Nothing, the process is exactly the same. We evaluate your previous academic, work and extracurricular activities to determine if you have the same functional knowledge as someone with a traditional degree. Some others also provide student ID's and other information but we perfer to let you keep the extra $500 -$1000.


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United States and International Universities and Colleges Accredited Degrees Program

The URL for this site is http://globstarclub.net.seanic11.net/.

Here's an email exchange concerning how they generate the content of the transcript: does a customer actually take the courses?

------------------------------------

> A question about the PUSUIC transcript: will it show courses (course
> names and grades) that are equivalent to the things I've learned as part
> of life experience, or do I actually have to enroll in the courses and 
> take them to have them appear on the transcript?

> thanks-

--------------

Hi

We know how to make for you THE BEST TRANSCRIPT. You must not to do
NOTHING...

With warm regards, Oleh Zhurin, PhD
Washington College & University
Polish Branch


Hello -----

-- 
Best regards,
 International                            mailto:degree@globstarclub.net
------------------------------------
The double-negative in the reply made the answer unclear so clarification was requested:
------------------------------------

> Just to make sure that I understand: if I participate in your degree
> program, you will design a transcript for me that will be effective at
> impressing other people, and I will never have to take the courses listed on
> the transcript. (I'm sure it would be a lot of work to take all those
> courses.)

> thanks,

--------------

Dear -----------

Your understanding is 100% correct !!!

With warm regards,
Oleh Zhurin, PhD
------------------------------------
The exchange was unnecessary: here is a more detailed description from their FAQ page.
Q.13. What is the exact portfolio assessment and conversion methodology used by PUSIUC?

A. Our assessor starts from an existing (traditional) distance learning transcript, compiled by himself for an adult distance learning student who was under the assessor's control during the time of his studies and whose transcript now serves as a 'model' for comparison. The PUSIUC assessor then makes a general assessment of your knowledgeability, as demonstrated in your verifiable resume (the synopsis of your portfolio). He decides whether or not the model student's courses and grade structure are comparable to your own general knowledgeability. If they are, PUSIUC awards the model student's transcript to you obviously without any mention of the initial student's identity. In other words, our assessor's overall evaluation is converted to generic transcripts originally compiled for traditional adult distance learning students. Our methodology implies that your transcripts will show generic curricula and generic grades. Your transcript may, consequently, contain courses in your major which you did not actually take. The model student took these classes. Your overall knowledgeability is declared equivalent to his, and the entire model student's transcript will be awarded in your name as a result of your academic equivalency determined by the assessor.

We do not allow our students to have their own list of "preferred" or "must have" courses and grades pasted into our institution's transcripts.


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University Consulting, Inc. with similar sites sharing the same IP address named Professional Degrees, Life Degree, Degree Assessment, Degree Advisory Group.

The URL for the Professional Degree site is http://www.professionaldegrees.com/. (Other URLs are listed in the table of organizations, above.) UCI may be the parent organization for a number of schools as well as a credentials verification service, one (or more) non-CHEA-recognized accrediting agencies, and another entity that assesses the qualifications of potential students.

A Google search for pages which contain the domain names www.university-consulting.com, www.professionaldegrees.com, www.life-degree.com, www.degreeassessment.com, and www.degreeadvisory.net yields hits to the sites' pages which may be accessed directly through Google.

The UCI sites' IP address is 216.127.74.21, identical to the site IP addresses for "The National Academic Archive Registrar" (a credentials verification service with site URL http://www.academic-archive.com/) and "The Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (a non-CHEA-recognized accrediting organization with site URL http://www.aoaa.org/).

The "keywords" listed header section for the page shown when requesting http://www.university-consulting.com/ are interesting. Here's the html which defines the keyword list (8/12/03):

<meta content=
  "Fake degrees,
   Free Degree templates,
   College credits,
   Fake college degree,
   Fake transcripts,
   Distance learning,
   College degree,
   Jobs,
   Job reference,
   Employment,
   Fake ids,
   Fake college ids,
   Associates,
   Bachelors,
   Masters,
   PHD,
   Online degrees,
   Free fake degrees,
   Free resumes" 
name=keywords>

The UCI home page explains that

Professional Degrees is an assessment and consulting service that helps individuals turn their past life experience into college level credits. We are authorized by many colleges and universities to assess possible candidates for degree awards. Our assessment may reward you with an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Doctorate level degree based only on the Life Experience that you already have.

They offer a "four week degree program" and describe it on the site's home page:

Each college provides a website for their students. Once you are approved for the program and have paid processing costs you will receive your degree packet in the mail four weeks from your confirmation date. This packet will include your diploma, transcripts, letter of recommendation, college web address, and verification instructions and number, plus information about your registration with the National Academic Archive Registrar in Washington DC. Please view our sample degree and university websites by clicking here.

A visitor clicking the link to view the list of universities is shown a confidentiality agreement which must be accepted before the participating universities will be revealed. The agreement suggests that UCI is reluctant to have details of its procedures made public. Here is a selection from the agreement:

I agree not to disclose or discuss publicly , on the internet, or with the media the list of names being released to me. I agree that if I am a member of the press or media that I will not release this information publicly and that I will hold it in strict confidence from any negative public scrutiny. I understand that this agreement is a contract.

Neither I nor any associated person is a journalist or media professional acting in that capacity. Neither I nor any associated person is going to obtain an award or awards through University Consulting to publish a news story or article of any sort in any media whatsoever, specifically including but not limited to printed matter, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, television, radio, multimedia, Internet, websites, Chat Rooms, Newsgroups, Forums, Usenet, telephone, mobile telephone, Wireless Access Protocol, FAX (facsimile transmissions) or emails.

Neither I the nor any associated person is a law enforcement officer or investigator acting in that capacity, nor acting on behalf of a law enforcement agency. Neither the nor any associated person is obtaining documents or products to use as evidence in any type of civil or criminal investigation.

Confidentiality

By making a purchase, the Client and any associated person agree to be irrevocably bound by this Confidentiality Contract.

I and any associated person agree in perpetuity never to reveal by act or omission of action, directly or indirectly, information that could draw or could be construed as drawing a connection between University Consulting and the Institution by any means. This includes, but is not limited to publication in printed matter, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, television, radio, multimedia, Internet, websites, Chat Rooms, Newsgroups, Forums, Usenet, telephone, mobile telephone, Wireless Access Protocol, FAX (facsimile transmissions) or emails.

In the event that the I or any associated person reveals by act or omission of action, directly or indirectly, information that could draw or could be construed as drawing a connection between University Consulting and the Institutions by any means, including but is limited to information published in printed matter, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, television, radio, multimedia, Internet, websites, Chat Rooms, Newsgroups, Forums, Usenet, telephone, mobile telephone, Wireless Access Protocol, FAX (facsimile transmissions) or emails, then they shall be guilty of Breach of Contract according to the terms of this Confidentiality Contract.

In the event that the Client or any associated person breaches or causes to be breached the Confidentiality Contract, they shall be liable and agree jointly and severally to pay restitution to University Consulting, on demand, the sum of $100,000 U.S. (One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) for Breach of Contract.

Any act of bad faith by the Client in not obeying and respecting the Terms of Service, Acceptable Use Policy, Disclaimer and Confidentiality Contract, as outlined in this website will be deemed to be an act of bad faith. Any Client deemed guilty of an act of bad faith, agrees to pay restitution to University Consulting, on demand, the sum of $100,000 U.S. (One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) for an act of bad faith.

Before the name used in the site was changed from "University Consulting, Inc." to "Professional Degrees" (and the site's page structure was changed), a Google search would deliver directly (without display of a confidentiality agreement) a page listing participating schools. The institution names on the page offered by Google were Adams University, Divinity University of the Americas, Imperial university College, Kendall University, Kings University, Lafayette University, MacArther University (MacArther really is spelled with an "e"), Ratchford University, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) is identical for the sites of Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College. Many of the schools use the "National Academic Archive Registrar" to provide credential verification. All of them are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA) whose site IP adress (216.127.74.21) is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc. site.

The IP address (207.44.238.80) is identical for the sites of Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, and the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA), the body which accredits Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton. Note that this IP address differs by one unit from the IP address of the Adams, etc. sites.

Given the internet IP details and presence of large amounts of identical content on some of the sites (see elsewhere in this page), it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are related organizations.


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Verification Services

The URL for this site is http://verification-services.org/. Local copies were made 8/27/2003 for most files listed below.

Verification Services explains itself this way:

Regardless of where you graduated and how you obtained your diploma, we will verify your educational documents. You sign the request form, and we'll fax the documents directly to anyone you request. You sign the form, we fax the verification. Nothing could be more simple or effective.

Illinois Public Act 93-0239 probably makes it illegal to verify "novelty diplomas" in Illinois. Verification Services seems to be aware of this:

Do you offer verification services for any institution?
We can verify credentials from any educational institution, except the following schools which have opted out of our program:
  • Any State of Illinois, Illinois State or other institution in the State or Illinois, or any customer in the State of Illinois
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California
  • University of Houston
  • University of New Orleans
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Phoenix
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Toledo
  • Syracuse University
  • Louisiana State University

Here's another interesting question/answer:

Can you verify that I graduated even if I don't send you a copy of my diploma or transcripts?
Yes, but we should mention what could happen. If the verifying party asks for a copy of your diploma or transcripts, we could verify only that you graduated on the specific date with whatever type of degree it happened to be. We would have no choice but to inform the verifying party that "a copy of the graduate's diploma and academic transcript is unavailable."

But how can they be sure that a customer is telling the truth? The answer is quite simple: they can't. The order page explains this in red, uppercase text:

****AS A CUSTOMER OF OUR SERVICE, YOU WILL ATTEST
TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE EDUCATIONAL RECORDS
AND RELEASE OUR SERVICE FROM ANY ALL CLAIMS,
NOTICES OR LIABILTIES ASSOCIATED WITH PROVIDING THE
INFORMATION TO THIRD PARTIES. OUR SERVICE IS IN
PROVIDING ACADEMIC RECORDS VERIFICATION UPON THE
REQUEST OF THE RECORD HOLDER, AND BASED UPON
THEIR ATTESTATION OF AUTHENTICITY.

The Diplomas For Less "novelty diploma" printing site's IP address is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP address for the sites of Ellington University, Lexington University, Stanton University, the Higher Education Services Association, and Verification Services.


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Walsh Business College

The URL for this site is http://www.walsh-college.net/.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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Westbourne university

Westbourne University had disappeared some time ago to be reborn as Ashford University. (Take a look at Unconventional University Diplomas from Online Vendors) It can also be found in two other incarnations: as a Google-cached site claiming to represent a school in Toronto (which was using material on the Athabasca University site in Canada) and an active (as of April 13, 2003) site. The active site is http://www.uwestbourne.ca/ and it seems to be using material from Bristol University in the U.K. According to Netscape, this site's front page was last modified February 6, 2003. (Here's a screen shot of the info window.)

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Western Ohio University

The URL for this site is http://www.westernohiouniversity.org/. Local copies were made 9/3/2003 for most files listed below.

Western Ohio uses some of the graphics from the now-defunct Brentwick and Shelbourne sites. Compare the Western Ohio front page with the Brentwick "contact us" page and the Shelbourne "contact us" page.

On a sponsored link presented by a Google search for "life epxerience degree" the Western Ohio ad displays the message "goto www.WesternOhioUniversity.edu" at the bottom of a Netscape browser window. This is where we would normally see the URL of a link. However, the actual target URL of the ad's link is http://www.westernohiouniversity.org/.

The site contains the names of no faculty or administrative officers. There is no email or postal address displayed on the site.


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Westhampton university

Note that the Westhampton site is/was still active as of 4/9/03. The URL for it is http://www.westhamptonuniversity.org/. According to Netscape, the front page's date of last modification was June 24, 2002.

This is a University Degree Program product. It includes the useful grammatical error in the president's message: "Those of you whom are already with us at..."

The list of study opportunities in the site is identical to that of the now-defunct Parkwood University. (The Parkwood site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commission in January, 2003.)


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University of Wexford

A University Degree Program operation (or clone), the site was ordered closed by the US Federal Trade Commision in January, 2003.


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Wiltshire University

The URL for this site is http://www.wiltshireuniversity.org/. Local copies were made 8/28/2003 for most files listed below.

This is a University Degree Program clone. A message left on a UDP answering machine yielded a call from a "David Miller" who described Wiltshire, and what would be involved in acquiring a PhD in the field of Aeronautical Engineering. Mr. Miller said that Wiltshire was founded in 1983, and that it is based in London. When asked if it appeared in the British government's list of recognized/approved universities he said that it "might or might not." He made sure to explain that Wiltshire was unaccredited.

The customer performs the evaluation of his/her own credentials, and Wiltshire would accept the customer's judgement regarding their own qualifications. They would not attempt to verify any of the client's assertions. There would, of course, be a "certified transcript" available: "certified" means that it would be stamped by a notary public. The transcript would contain course numbers, course titles, and grades. Naturally, the customer would never have to take the courses so listed. The transcript and diploma could be backdated as necessary. The diploma would resemble the UCLA diploma.

The day of his call was "a sale day," according to Mr. Miller: instead of the usual $3000, the PhD could be acquired at a discount, costing $2060 if the order were placed that day.

When asked about the Wiltshire web site (it won't stand up to close inspection), Mr. Miller explained it's "purely for show." When asked why it doesn't show Wiltshire's academic officers, he explained that there aren't any. (Perhaps that's why the president's message on the site doesn't close with the name of the president.)


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Wittfield University

The URL for this site is http://www.wittfielduniversity.org/.

Wittfield has no faculty. From their web site: "Wittfield University does not retain full-time or adjunct faculty. Programme Advisors are arranged for in conjunction with other institutions, professional organisations and not-for-profit groups. The University makes every effort to discover and introduce qualified mentors based on students' needs and objectives as well as the requirements of the University."

The site contains no information about courses.


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Xavier Business College

The URL for this site is http://www.xb-college.com/.

The IP address (207.44.238.81) for Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are identical, and in the same internet domain as Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton.

Ellington, Lexington, and Stanton are accredited by the "Higher Education Services Association" (HESA). The IP address for the HESA domain www.hesa-edu.org is 207.44.238.80, the same as the IP addresses for Ellington, et al.

Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, and Xavier Business College are accredited by the "Association for Online Academic Accreditation" (AOAA). The IP address for the AOAA domain www.aoaa.org is 216.127.74.21, which is the same as the IP address for the University Consultants, Inc domain www.professionaldegrees.com.

King's and Lafayette are included in the UCI web site's list of schools.

Given the internet IP numerology and so on, it seems possible that Amstead, All American, Farington, Kings, Lafayette, Ellington, Lexington, Stanton, Adams, Kendall, MacArther, Ratchford, Ross College, Walsh Business College, Xavier Business College, AOAA, HESA, and University Consultants, Inc. are all related.


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References

BBC (2003): Bogus degree sites shut down, available online at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/2829237.stm (2003).

Bear & Bear (2003): Bear, J.B. & Bear, M.A., Bear's Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley (2003).

Brown (2002): Brown, George M., Competing for the Cyber-Savvy; challenging the competitor you never knew you had, paper presented at the 16th Australian International Education Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (2002), available online at http://www.idp.com/idpconference/GeorgeBrown.pdf.

CBP (2002): California Board of Psychology, An Overview of Licensure as a Psychologist, http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/licensing/license.html (2002).

CHEA (2003): CHEA at a Glance, available online at http://www.chea.org/pdf/CHEA At A Glance 202-10-03.pdf (2003).

Contreras (2003): Contreras, Alan L., A Case Study in Foreign Degree (Dis)approval, International Higher Education: The Boston College Center for International Higher Education 32, 7-9, available online at http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/soe/cihe/newsletter/News32/text004.htm (Summer, 2003).

DETC (2003a): 2003 Accreditation Handbook, http://www.detc.org/content/acredditHandbk.html (2003).

DETC (2003b): Davis, Lisa J., DETC Occasional Paper Number 17:How to Assess Experiential Learning, http://www.detc.org/downloads/No17HowtoAssessExperientialLearning.pdf (2003).

DFES (2002a): Department for Education and Skills, UK Legislation: The Education Reform Act 1988, http://www.dfes.gov.uk/recognisedukdegrees/ukl.shtml (2002).

DFES (2002b): Department for Education and Skills, Bogus Degrees Warning, http://www.dfes.gov.uk/recognisedukdegrees/bdw.shtml (2002).

FTC (2003a): Preliminary Injunction, Case No. 1:03-CV-OOO21-RMC (filed by the Federal Trade Commission on January 24, 2003), available online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/01/unknownpi.pdf (2003).

FTC (2003b): Amended Complain for Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief, Case No. 1:03-CV-OOO21-RMC (filed by the Federal Trade Commission on February 21, 2003), available online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/02/mvslamdcmp.htm (2003).

FTC (2003c): Second Amended Complain for Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief, Case No. 1:03-CV-OOO21-RMC (filed by the Federal Trade Commission, dated May 1, 2003), scanned copy of the document is available here (2003). The text of 15 U.S.C. § 45 is available online at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/15/45.html.

FTC (2003d): United States Federal Trade Commission, Announced Actions for May 2, 2003, available online at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2003/05/fyi0331.htm (2003).

Idaho BOE: Idaho State Board of Education, Private In-State, Out-of-State, Non-Accredited Institutions, and Other Educational Source Offerings, available online at http://www.idahoboardofed.org/proprietary/index.asp (2003).

Idaho 33_1: Idaho Statutes, title 33, Chapter 1, available online at http://www3.state.id.us/cgi-bin/newidst?sctid=330010007.K

Idaho 33_24: Idaho Statutes, title 33, Chapter 24, available online at http://www3.state.id.us/cgi-bin/newidst?sctid=330240001.K

Levicoff (2000): Levicoff, S., Distance Education: The Unofficial FAQ, possibly available online (2000).

ODA (2003): Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, http://www.osac.state.or.us/oda/ (2003).

Penmann (2000): Penman, Doris T., Approval and Accreditation of Doctoral Programs in Clinical, Counseling, Educational and School Psychology, California Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Psychology Update, Issue No. 7, available online at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/pubs/01-2000.pdf (2000).

USDOE (2003): College Accreditation in the United States, available online at http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/ (2003).

Wait & Dizard (2003): Wait, Patience and Dizard, Wilson P. III, HSD official obtained Ph.D. from diploma mill, Government Computer News (GCN.com), available online at http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/22294-1.html (May 30, 2003, updated June 2, 2003).

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© Copyright 2003 by OSAC, all rights reserved.
Material has been reviewed by ODA, and includes contributions from George Gollin.