DATE: October 2010 - Degree Mills
Perhaps no other place in the world places a higher value on education than the United States. Every year hundreds of thousands of
graduates receive their degrees and move on to exciting careers in their respective fields. The process seems simple; 2 years of
college, 4 years, 5, maybe more, studying, working hard and graduating, then moving into the job market ending up in your office a
job? Seems impossible…Hardly.
As a result of a recent study conducted by Verifile Limited (2010), the United States was awarded the honor of degree mill capital of the
world. It seems no other nation issues as many fraudulent college degrees as our very own homeland. But what is a Degree Mill?
Essentially, a Degree Mill is a "school" that issues "degrees" of all levels and in all fields typically for a one-time payment. These
"degrees" carry no weight and have no more value than the paper they are printed on. But why are degree mills so common? The
answer is simple; the product they produce is in demand. Imagine a 4-year college degree obtained immediately and for a fraction of
the cost. In addition, most degree mills offer degree verification services as well adding an element of perceived legitimacy to the
A conversation between a CI Investigator and a degree mill representative illustrates exactly how determined these mills are to get their "graduates" into a position with your company:
Degree Mill Rep: "I can start your process for your Bachelor's Degree and within the next 5-7 days your degree and your documents
will be there in your hands."
CI Investigator: "How much does it cost?"
Degree Mill Rep: "Total fees for a Bachelor's Degree is $479.00 but if you start your process today we can offer you a 15% scholarship
CI Investigator: "Is it going to work with all companies?"
Degree Mill Rep: "Yes"
CI Investigator: "I know a lot of people check now."
Degree Mill Rep: "They can and they will. They can call us 24/7 to verify your credentials from us for your life time as all your
documents are 100% verifiable."
Degree Mill Rep: "You can also provide your employers the toll-free number of the school with your resume; they will call right away to
verify your credentials."
But how can your hiring managers differentiate a degree mill from an accredited college or university? Well, it is difficult but there are a
few points that could prove valuable in assessing the validity of a degree:
1. Does the school’s website have a .com or .org domain extension rather than a .edu?
2. Does the school’s website reference key phrases like “life experience” or “no classroom time.”
3. Does the school’s website indicate a degree can be received in a length of time inconsistent with a traditional college degree?
While the above points are valuable in assessing the validity of a degree, by no means is the list all encompassing in revealing a
degree mill. These mills have been very successful for decades in placing “graduates” in positions with your organization and
recognizing their harmful potential is key in the hiring process.
If you are currently conducting your education verifications in house, don’t hesitate to contact a CI representative to discuss Degree
Mills and their potential impact on your organization. And, for our current clients, rest assured that CI is well versed in identifying and
mitigating the impact of fraudulent degrees in your organization. As always, we look forward to serving your needs and look forward to
speaking with you soon!