5 Sure-Fire Ways to Check the Validity of an Online Program/School

by Online Education Specialist · 1 comment

Diploma mills—simply put, they’re illegitimate online schools that pretend they’re the real deal, but prey on naïve students in search of a flexible online degree program so that they can steal their money. They are the reason why there is such a bad stigma associated with online degrees and programs in the first place; and the reason why some employers are skeptical about hiring online graduates. But credible online programs designed to give you the education you need to launch a successful career do in fact exist—you just need to know how separate the fake ones from the real ones. There are several different ways to do this, to learn some common identifying techniques, continue reading below.

1. Check length to Earn Degree:

While there is in fact some legitimate accelerated online degree programs available, they are very far in between. That said, online programs (while they do provide flexibility) are completed at the same rate as a traditional degree. So for example, a full-time student seeking an associate degree should complete his or her program in about two years; a full-time student seeking a bachelor’s degree in about four years. However, if the online program promises that you can earn a bachelor’s degree in two years or less (or even in a matter of months) you should definitely take this as a warning sign and do some more research and investigate the school’s credentials thoroughly.

2. Check Tuition Costs:

When researching about the online programs’ tuition costs, if the school gives you a price for the entire degree—for example a bachelor’s degree costs $5,000— as opposed to listing the cost of each individual class credit or for each semester, then again proceed with caution and do some more digging. Chances that online school/program is fake are high.checking validity of an online school

3. Confirm Federal Financial Aid:

By law, only legitimate online schools are allowed to distribute Federal Financial Aid to its students. Check to see if Federal Financial Aid is offered to students who qualify.

4. Check Accreditation:

One of the easiest ways to separate the illegitimate online schools from the legitimate ones is to check the school’s accrediting agency. When a school is accredited this means that the school has met a specific bar in terms of education. Online schools can either be regionally or nationally accredited—

Regionally Accredited—Typically reputable traditional and online schools are accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; New England Association of Schools and Colleges; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; and Western Association of Schools & Colleges.
Nationally Accredited—Schools that don’t fit a “traditional mold” (religious schools and trade schools for example) typically seek national accreditation so that they can be evaluated/compared with schools in their caliber.
There are several ways you can check for accreditation. The first is to check the school’s website. But know that some schools blatantly lie about being accredited, so you need to double confirm. There are various reliable sources that can confirm an institution’s national, regional or even “specialized” accreditation: College Navigator, The U.S. Department of Education and The Council for Higher Education Accreditation. *Do note that accreditation is a choice not a requirement and some schools choose not to seek accreditation because they are too new or for some other matter*.

5. Call Appropriate Representatives:

If the school you are considering passes all of the other check points but it’s not accredited and you are still suspicious, it’s recommended that you call both your state attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau and see what complaints have been filed against the school (if any). You may also want to check the school’s federal license to see if it has the right to operate. To give you a source of direction on how to do this, use the contact list to find your appropriate representative on the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private School’s Web page.


This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com.

Related posts:

  1. How To Choose the Best Online Education
  2. A Good Online Degree Program Is Hard to Find?
  3. How to Make Employers Take Your Online Degree Seriously
  4. Accredited Schools For online psychology degree | Earn Degree Online
  5. Enrol Into Online MBA Degree Program & Notice Your Career Growth

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Community magazine November 2, 2011 at 2:58 am

I recently came across your blog and I have been reading post. I thought I would leave a comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog often.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: