ERIC Number: ED483251
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May-11
Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense. Testimony before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate. GAO-04-771T
Cramer, Robert J.
US Government Accountability Office
This testimony discusses issues related to degrees from "diploma mills" and other unaccredited postsecondary schools, also noting whether federal employees who held senior level positions had degrees from such schools. From February 2003-February 2004, researchers searched the Internet for nontraditional, unaccredited, postsecondary schools that offered degrees for a relatively low flat fee, promoted the award of academic credits based on life experience, and did not require any classroom instruction. They had four such schools provide information on number of current and former students identified in their records as federal employees and payment of fees for such federal employees by the federal government. Posing as a prospective student employed by a federal agency, one researcher contacted three unaccredited schools to obtain information on how he might have a federal agency pay for a degree. The study also requested that eight federal agencies provide a list of senior employees and the names of any postsecondary institutions from which they had reported receiving degrees. Researchers compared the names of the schools on the lists with those that were accredited by accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education. They had the agencies examine their financial records to determine if they had paid for degrees from such schools, and they interviewed six federal employees who had obtained degrees from unaccredited schools. Overall, three of the four unaccredited schools responded to requests for information and provided records identifying 463 students employed by the federal government. Two of the four schools provided records that federal agencies paid them $150,387.80 for the fees of federal employee students (as well as other payments for expenses associated with degrees from those two schools). Data from the eight agencies indicated that 28 senior level employees had degrees from diploma mills and unaccredited schools. Interview data and promons regarding these employees.
Descriptors: Federal Government, Public Agencies, Credentials, College Graduates, Accreditation (Institutions), Employees, Hearings
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; TDD: 202-512-2537; Fax: 202-512-6061.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.