Avoiding Diploma Mills

Is This University Legitimate?

It's one of the most common questions that I receive. Someone does a Google search and finds a free or extremely low cost college or seminary that offers life experience degrees or other academic credentials with minimal effort and they want to know if the school is legitimate.

Tip #1: Look in the Christian Distance Learning Degree and Program Directory

  • I only list accredited (U.S.) or government-approved (international) colleges, universities, and seminaries in the Christian Distance Learning Degree and Program Directory. (I do include some unaccredited private K-12 schools and programs geared toward homeschoolers, but that's a significantly different situation.) If the Christian school you're considering is not listed there, you have good reason to be cautious.


Tip #2: Learn about Accreditation.

  • Pursuing a degree is a significant investment of time and money and accreditation affects how that degree will be received in the marketplace. Take a few minutes to review some FAQs About Accreditation from the Baker's Guide Knowledgebase. You'll find the names of the legitimate accrediting agencies, searchable databases of schools, and other useful information about institutional quality. The more you know about legitimate schools, the less likely you are to be duped by questionable ones.


Tip #3: Search the Institution Accreditation Database or ask the Diploma Mill Police.

  • You can find a listing of recognized accreditation agencies and accredited schools by searching the Institution Accreditation database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, GetEducated.com offers a Diploma Mill Police service where you can inquire about the accreditation status of any online college operating from the United States.


Tip #4: Request an Email Consultation.

  • If you have questions about finding Christian distance education and online learning programs, please don't hesitate to contact me. I offer free personal consultation as time permits; visit the Email Consultation page for details.

My desire is that you make a well-informed decision before enrolling in an online degree program, regardless of which institution you choose, and I hope that this site assists in that effort. Please note that I do not label schools as degree mills or diploma mills, I do not think that accreditation is the only measure of educational quality, and I do not think all unaccredited schools are bad. However, I do believe that it's prudent to stick with properly accredited schools to ensure that your degree is recognized in the marketplace, so I limit Baker's Guide to accredited higher education institutions.

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