Magazine article Techniques

GAO Issues Report on Diploma Mills

Magazine article Techniques

GAO Issues Report on Diploma Mills

Article excerpt

In response to a request from Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) conducted an investigation into the proliferation of diploma mills, which sell what the GAO describes as "bogus academic degrees based upon 'life experience' or substandard or negligible academic work."

The GAO conducted the investigation from May 14, 2001, through May 8, 2002, "in accordance with investigative standards established by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency."

After searching the Internet and identifying Degrees-R-Us as a diploma mill, a GAO investigator posed as an individual working in the biology and medical technology field. The investigator was then able to purchase a bachelor's and a master's degree, as well as a one-year "degree verification service" from Degrees-R-Us.

The GAO also obtained a list of individuals who have purchased degrees from Degrees-R-Us and interviewed several. According to the report, those interviewed "were not candid in discussing why they purchased the degrees or how they used them."

The GAO also obtained a list from the Oregon State Office of Degree

Authorization of 43 institutions the Oregon office had identified as diploma mills or unaccredited institutions. …

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