Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has resolved the State’s enforcement action against a purported diploma mill that falsely claimed to be an accredited educational institution, according to a press release on the Texas Attorney General website. The final judgment in State of Texas vs. Lincoln Academy is available at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/LincolnAcademyFinalJudgment.pdf.
The final judgment issued by a Harris County state district court against the purported diploma mill – Houston-based Lincoln Academy – requires the Academy to permanently shut down and pay all costs associated with the shutdown. The agreement also requires the diploma mill to take the following actions:
- Cease advertising.
- Shut down the Lincoln Academy website, social media page, and affiliated websites.
- Decline to accept new students.
- Wind down all operations.
The court-restricted assets of the purported diploma mill will provide more than $1.4 million in compensation to deceived customers. The Office of the Attorney General will review consumer complaints and other data to determine how it will administer the resources available for consumer restitution. Consumers with questions or who wish to file a complaint may call (800) 252-8011 (in Texas) or (512) 463-2100 (outside Texas). Complaint forms are also available at http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office urges all educational institutions – especially community colleges and universities – to be diligent in reviewing high school transcripts that may be issued by a diploma mill more interested in making money than preparing students for higher education. In addition, community colleges and universities should be aware that a student receiving a high school diploma and transcript from a diploma mill is possibly ineligible for Texas and federal financial aid.
A diploma mill is usually only available online, lacks nationally-recognized regional accreditation, and permits students to complete degrees in hours or days with minimal coursework. To combat diploma mills in the United States, schools are generally accredited by private organizations recognized as legitimate accreditors by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The U.S. Department of Education has also created a website with a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
“A diploma mill creates a danger to employers since educational achievements can tell a great deal about a job applicant’s ability, qualifications, and motivation,” says Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’ Rosen suggests employers check the education credentials of all job applicants to ensure they have obtained degrees from legitimate educational institutions and has written an article on the topic titled ‘The Basics of Education Verifications.’
More Diploma Mill News from ESR
For more diploma mill news from Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/diploma-mills/.