By Dr. Bradley Carey
From his book
And The Dead Shall Walk The Earth
(c) 2002

There are numerous schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world that have very impressive looking web sites, brochures, and catalogues. They will have impressive sounding curriculum and their faculty list seems to be very top rate. All of this may look and seem good, except for one thing. Many of these organizations are not legally authorized to operate. And the number of these types of "schools" seems to be on the increase.

To protect yourself from this kind of fraud you need to know what to look for when thinking of going to or taking courses from a school. No matter what a school claims it is always best to verify everything that they say. In this highly technological age, it is very easy for someone to make very impressive looking credentials and licenses. Let me give you an example of one such operation that has gone on for several years. None of the names are the correct names for the organizations, which will be described:

Rip-off University, which has been operating for many years in its state, does not have the license to do so nor to award degrees. Yet despite this, has awarded hundreds of degrees in everything from astral nutrition to interstellar navigation. Even though they are not licensed to operate, they do claim accreditation from Worthless Accreditation Society. A look into the background of Worthless Accreditation Society reveals that they are not licensed nor have they ever been. They do claim however, that they are part of Another Name Association. Another Name Association will tell you that they are the oldest association of their type around, and that they were originally incorporated over 100 years ago. They will further go on to tell you all about their founder and his impressive background. Now when it comes to the question, "Are you legally licensed to operate?" there will be no response, or they will tell you again when they were originally incorporated. But this does not answer the question as to if they are currently licensed to operate. If they are not, then they are operating illegally, and so is their accrediting society. And if the accrediting society they run is not a legal organization, then the accreditation that they are issuing is worthless as well. But even if they were a legitimate organization, Rip-Off University is still operating illegally and its degrees are worthless. So in the end, the student in the only one who is losing out, and not just on their money, but their credibility and reputation as well.

Here is another example of a scam school:

Bad University was authorized by its state to award specific degrees. They eventually allowed their licensing to expire and never sought to renew it until very much later. When they received their authorization for degrees, they ignored the limitation in the types of degrees they may award that the state had set upon them, and proceeded to award degrees in anything they wanted. Then they attempted to change their name several times within a one-year period to hide this fact. Again, this makes what the school is doing illegal. This is an example of a once legitimate school becoming a diploma mill.

When checking into a school, ask them about their legal standing in the state in which they exist. Ask them to send you copies of their licensing and credentials. When you receive them, make telephone calls and verify that the school and the credentials are legitimate and that the school is in good standing in their state. Check out the organizations that they claim to be associated and affiliated with and find out if they are operating legally. If they are not, then they may be hiding something else. Bring this fact to their attention and see how they respond. If you are given the runaround about their legal standing and they refuse to send you copies of their licensing and credentials, then what are they hiding that they don't want you to know about? Check with the Secretary of State's office in the state in which they are located and see if they are licensed or incorporated there. Many Secretary of State offices now have online searches you can do on their web site. If they are offering degrees, check with that State's Higher Education Authority, the name of which will vary from state to state, such as Higher Education Coordinating Board, Postsecondary Education Commission, etc., to name a few. In nearly every state in the United States a school must either have either authorization of some kind or religious exemption to operate from them. If a school is in one of the states that requires this, and is not listed with them, then the degrees they issue are worthless. Contact that state and that state's Attorney General's Office and let them know what this school is doing.

In the end, do not take the word or claims of any school or organization. Verify everything they say. Only then will you protect yourself and those around you.

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