Thirty years ago, one of my clients told me that she had gotten her Ph.D from a university correspondence course specializing in holistic medicine. She was hired by a local college and, for a short time, enjoyed hearing her students call her Doctor.
A few months later, the college did a background check and determined that the correspondence course she took was not from an accredited university and couldn’t award her a Ph.D, The college demoted her and her paycheck was reduced by $10,000. But, just as embarrassing, her students could no longer call her Doctor.
Over the years, there has been a demand for online degrees and it has answered the needs of a lot of students who have daytime jobs or who have responsibilities at home that prevent them from attending classes.
But, as with all things that have become popular, the scam artists come out of the woodwork to cash in on it. The latest one is about an online university that awarded a Master’s Degree to a dog named Pete Smith.
Thanks to a BBC news team that filled out the dog’s application with bogus information, Pete Smith’s application was accepted and he was promised an MBA as soon as $7,300 was paid to the university. All the school asked for was money; no coursework had to be completed to receive the degree.
Nine years ago, a cat graduated with honors with a Master’s Degree in business administration and a 3.5 GPA. Not bad for a cat that never attended a single class or sat for a single exam. And it only cost $299.
A deputy Attorney General wanted to prove that a particular university was giving diplomas to anyone who paid a fee. He filled out an application on behalf of his cat and invented a phony background of work experience in babysitting and retail management. After paying the $299 fee, his cat was awarded a degree and the deputy Attorney General had his case.
Not all online universities are diploma mills but, since your career could be adversely affected, it pays to have the university investigated before you make out an application and part with your money.