The news has featured many stories lately about for-profit schools recruiting people with dreams of better paying jobs. These schools are aware of the fact that there currently is an even larger amount of federal aid available and people are looking and hoping for better times for themselves. Many of these schools are benefiting from cuts in state-funded and community colleges that have been forced to reduce classes.
So what are some steps you can take to further your education, obtain a legitimate degree and a quality education from a reputable institution? Well the obvious answer is do your homework before you pick a school. The number one thing to do is make sure you are actually enrolling in an accredited institution. Check credentials. There are fake accrediting agencies out there. Remember that if is sounds too good to be true it probably is. Make sure that the university or college you are looking to attend online is accredited, but more importantly make sure it is accredited by a reputable and real accrediting agency. For a list of accrediting agencies visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
Clues that the school you are interested in is a diploma mill include: * You can choose your grade point average when you enroll. * The institution focuses on the speed at which you can earn your degree. A few may even offer to send you a degree overnight. * Their name may sound similar to a reputable university or college. * Frequent location changes. Their contact information even be missing. * There is little to no selection process for admissions. Write a check or provide a credit card number and you are enrolled. * Requirements are vague, there are no class descriptions and no information on how many credit hours are required to obtain the diploma. * “Tuition” is based on the degree selected. So what are a few things you can do to make sure that you are enrolling in a reputable online college or university?
* Check with the accrediting agency. * Check with professional associations that regulate your industry of choice and see if the colleges program will provide you an acceptable training path. * Call the Better Business Bureau and check with the Department of Education. * Inquire about the staff and their academic credentials and background.
Make sure you thoroughly investigate all your options. Don’t rush into a decision that sounds too good to be true. It probably will be true good to be true and you will have wasted your precious time, effort and money into obtaining a degree that’s probably not worth the paper its printed on.