3 Steps to Background Check Applicants for Diploma Mills
1.) Being Accredited by a Governing Body
Being accredited by a governing body is one of the requirements that educational institutions must achieve in order to be able to provide services. The governing body usually consists of industry related associations like the American Dental Association or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Fraudulent educational institutions or “diploma mills” will claim they have accreditation through certain agencies; however, these diploma mills posing as legitimate agencies are actually as fake as the university selling the degree.
Here is a list of a few unaccredited agencies:
- American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
- American Association for Higher Education and Accreditation (AAHEA)
- Accreditation Council for Distance Education (ACTDE)
- Accreditation Council for Online Academia (ACOHE)
- Accreditation Panel for Online Colleges and Universities (APTEC)
- Accrediting Commission International (ACI)
- American Accrediting Association of Theological Institutions
- American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
- American Association of Drugless Practitioners (ADP)
- Association of Accredited Bible Schools
2.) Verification Conducted Through the University
The majority of accredited institutions will use a third-party organization called the National Student Clearinghouse to provide educational verification to outside entities (background screening companies, private employers, mortgage companies, etc.) There are still other institutions that will verify education “in-house.” This is usually done through the registrar’s office, and is accompanied by a signed release form from the subject of the verification. Fake institutions will usually have a one page website where they ask you to fax your request for verification. This is your first red flag that the institution is diploma mill; accredited universities will always have an extensive website on verification.
3.) Copy of the Degree or Enrollment Records
Many international educational institutions will need a copy of the degree or transcripts before they attempt to verify the degree. Although this is a result of poor record keeping, it also aids in determining fraudulent educational activity. This practice can also be done for domestic verification, especially if further research needs to be done for enrollment verification. Although these fake institutions do a very skilful job in trying to make these paper degrees seem legitimate, they are not worth the paper they are printed on.