It may be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate school and a diploma mill. Many fake schools have websites that look like those of well-known schools. Some even have “.edu” web addresses and use phony logos of accreditation and licensure to lure you in. Ask these questions before you sign any paperwork:
- Is the school licensed to operate in Kentucky?
The value of choosing a licensed campus is consumer protection: once a campus receives its license to operate in Kentucky, the Council has the authority to protect you from bad business practices. In addition, the licensure process looks at many factors, from education quality to maintenance of buildings, to ensure you will have a successful experience.
- Is the school accredited by a recognized accrediting agency?
Accredited campuses or programs have met standards of excellence based on the education they provide. Diploma mills tend to cite fake accreditation organizations with “real sounding” names. Make sure the accreditation is genuine.
View the U.S. Department of Education’s list of legitimate accrediting agencies
- Is the school cooperative when you request information?
Under Kentucky law, a school must provide the following to anyone, whether enrolled or not. If the school is reluctant to provide it to you, it may have something to hide.
- Policies on grades, attendance and conduct
- Description of the instructional program
- Detailed schedule of all charges, rentals and deposits
- Student enrollment application, contract or agreement
- Is the school guaranteeing employment?
Do not be fooled: no school can promise employment, whether it is licensed, accredited or supplying “guarantees” on the application. Instead, talk to local employers and review job postings to see how important a certain degree program is to your career. If your dream job involves professional credentials, consult your state’s licensure board to find out the requirements for certification.
- Is the school offering financial help, but not explaining what type?
No matter how much the recruiter is pressuring you, take time to read and comprehend all your financial obligations. If the school is offering tuition assistance, understand whether the assistance is a grant or scholarship (money you do not have to pay back) or a loan (money you must pay back, plus interest). If you have questions about financial aid, contact the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
Visit the KHEAA website
- Is the school promising that all coursework completed there will transfer to another
No matter the accreditation, licensure, location or type of school, a campus cannot promise coursework completed there will transfer to another school. Successful transfer of credit is dependent upon the receiving school’s policies and degree program requirements. If you know you will be eventually transferring to another school, contact that school to learn about their policies and degree requirements.
DISCLAIMER: This office cannot give legal advice to any individual or take any legal action on behalf of any individual.