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Special Warning

Institutional Fraud

It has come to USDLA’s attention that unscrupulous institutions were misrepresenting their membership with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). USDLA has received complaints and concerns from prospective and past students who indicate that they have been stalked and defrauded by a number of foreign universities. They are specifically targeting students in the Middle East claiming that they are American Universities. These institutions sell their diplomas by giving students credit for life experience. Their degrees are worthless.

Therefore, USDLA has terminated the memberships of these institutions. Please check the following page on the USDLA website for a list of reputable USDLA members.http://www.usdla.org/for-profit- organizations/

USDLA recommends that a student attend a University that is accredited by a national accrediting agency or one of the regional accrediting associations. If a college/university is accredited by one of the following six regional accrediting agencies, a prospective student can be assured that the institution is eligible for federal student loans and that credits are transferable among institutions.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement(NCA)

Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)

Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)

To research the accreditation status of an academic institution, please visit the Department of Education site at: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation.

USDLA suggests that students beware of institutions that claim any of the following:

It asserts its academic legitimacy on claims of affiliation with respected organizations that are not engaged in school licensure, certification or accreditation.

Promotional materials use words denoting a legal status such as "licensed", "state authorized", or "state-approved" to suggest an equivalence to accreditation or advertise other indicators of authenticity that are not relevant to academic credentials.

It has no teaching facilities — the address is a postal box or mail forwarding service or suite numbers.

It has little or no interaction with professors. Comments and corrections to coursework are given, but do not affect getting the degree. Professors serve only to write compliments to the "student" that can be given as references.

The name of institution is deceptively similar to well known reputable universities.

Degrees can be obtained within a few days, weeks or months from the time of enrollment, and back-dating is possible.

Either there are no faculty members or they hold advanced degrees from a diploma mill or hold degrees unrelated to the subject they teach.

Academic credit is offered for "life experience," and this is featured heavily in the selling points of the institution.

Tuition and fees are charged on a per-degree basis rather than on a per-term orper-course basis.

Prospective students are encouraged to "enroll now" before tuition or fees are increased, or they qualify for a "fellowship", "scholarship" or "grant" or they're offered deals to sign up for multiple degrees at the same time.

The institution has no library, personnel, publication or research. There is very little that is tangible.

Doctoral theses and dissertations are not available from a national repository or even the institution's own library.

Promotional literature contains grammatical and spelling errors, words in Latin, extravagant or pretentious language, and sample diplomas. The school's website looks amateurish or unprofessionally made.

The school is advertised using unsolicited electronic mail or other questionable methods.

The school is situated in another country or legal jurisdiction, where running diploma mills is legal, standards are lax or prosecution is unlikely. Despite being situated in such a diploma mill- friendly country, the school has no students from that country, and is run entirely bynon-native staff.

Through personal communication and marketing materials it purposely misrepresents its educational licensure, certification or accreditation and refers to itself as "fully accredited" which it is not.

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