Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
A newly hired principal at Pittsburg High School in Kansas resigned from her job after student journalists uncovered some questionable credentials from an alleged “diploma mill” where people could purchase a degree, diploma, or certificates, according to an article in The Kansas City Star.
The Star reports student journalists published a story questioning the legitimacy of the private college – Corllins University – where the new principal, Amy Robertson, claimed she had received her master’s and doctorate degrees after finding articles referring to Corllins as a diploma mill.
The Star contacted U.S. Department of Education (ED) officials who confirmed the student reports about Corllins being a diploma mill. The ED also “could not find evidence of Corllins in operation” and the “school wasn’t included among the agency’s list of schools closed since 1986.”
“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials,” Trina Paul, an editor of the school newspaper ‘Booster Redux,’ stated in the article. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”
The students began looking into Robertson’s background after finding articles published by Gulf News about an English language school connected to Robertson in Dubai that was an alleged diploma mill. The article from The Kansas City Star is at www.kansascity.com/news/local/article142682464.html.
Diploma mill providers that sell worthless degrees without requiring academic achievement make an estimated $200 million annually, according to College Choice. Warning signs of a diploma mill include no exams, instant degrees in exchange for money, and no faculty listed on the school’s website.
To combat the diploma mill problem in the U.S., the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) created a Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations. ED also provides a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
Employers Should Know How to Avoid a Diploma Mill
“A diploma mill creates a danger to employers since educational achievements tell a great deal about a job applicant’s ability, qualifications, and motivation,” explains Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’
Rosen has written an article entitled “The Basics of Education Verifications” to explain how employers can avoid being tricked by a diploma mill that offers worthless degrees for a price. This article is available at www.esrcheck.com/Articles/The-Basics-of-Education-Verifications/188/.
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