How to Avoid Diploma Mills

The following short article is written to provide general advice about online education and degrees, not just information specific to WGU. If you have specific questions about WGU, feel free to inquire online or speak with an enrollment counselor (1-866-225-5948).

How to Avoid Diploma Mills

The prevalence of online university degree programs makes it easier than ever for an organization to establish itself as a college, take students’ money, and provide them with a degree.

But a degree from a diploma mill will not help someone earn a job or a promotion. In fact, if a potential employer realizes the degree listed on a resume is from a diploma mill, it could mean jail time or heavy fines for the job applicant.

How can you recognize diploma mills and avoid being scammed?

  • Read Carefully: Written materials, including a diploma mill's website, may have spelling and grammatical errors. Would a real school be that sloppy?
  • You Can Obtain a Degree Unbelievably Fast: If an online university boasts that you can earn your degree in less than a month — or even receive it overnight — you’ve stumbled upon a diploma mill. Whether you’re obtaining an online bachelor, master or specialized degree, it takes real study time to obtain a legitimate accredited degree.
  • The School Charges Per Degree: Legitimate, accredited online degree programs charge per hour, per semester or per credit, not per degree.
  • The Website Provides Vague Course Information: If the website doesn’t emphasize the school’s programs, courses, benefits and teacher interaction, instead emphasizing just the degree you’ll earn, it may be a diploma mill.