On the internet dozens of American universities are selling diplomas. You can become a Doctor in Philosophy, get a Bachelor’s diploma in psychology or a Master in International Law without ever seeing a university from inside. And nowadays such fake universities are also cooperating with foundations and institutes in Europe, Africa and Asia to sell their worthless diplomas. Have they also entered Iraq? This mafia is not new but slowly governments are beginning to react.
Rutherford University, a diploma factory first based in Canada, escaped to the American state of Wyoming two years ago, after the Canadian government had taken action against companies selling fake university diplomas. But after Wyoming invoked its higher education laws, the university decided it was better to leave America altogether and it is now selling its diplomas from Swaziland. Its website says the university is “fully accredited” by something called the “International States Parliament” which is also a joke. Other institutes which look like daughters of Rutherford University even claim to be accredited by the “Supreme Council of the Presidency of the International States Parliament” which is three times nothing.
Colby the cat
American higher education is regulated by the laws of its 51 states and these laws often don’t prohibit any organization of calling itself a university. Unlike other countries in America people were free to establish a “University of Love” and a “United Nations University”, both without normal studies and normal diplomas.
Educational institutes and commercial training and education companies need a licence to operate in most American states. That license can be withdrawn if, for example, if they don’t keep records about students and teachers. Selling fake university diplomas however is not a crime.
The American states of Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, Alabama, Wyoming, Mississippi and California are famous for their fake universities, or “diploma mills” as they are known in the States. These states have either no meaningful standards, excessive loopholes in their laws or poor enforcement of regulations owing to local policy or insufficient staff.
One attorney general in the state of Pennsylvania once asked for a bachelor’s degree for Colby, his black cat, declaring Colby had followed some pre-university courses, had worked as a newspaper seller, babysitter and cook in a snackbar. Colby promptly received his Master of Business Administration, for only 299 dollar.
Courts in action
But more and more fake universities in America are brought to court and condemned. A famous case was the Saint Regis University. Police took away the administration with its 6000 names of people who had bought diplomas there, among whom 135 officials, some of them in top jobs. In 2004 three diploma factories were forced to hand over their data to an investigative committee and among the “students” 463 names of officials were found, for whom the government had paid at least 170,000 dollar to ofllow the courses. The Pentagon had the highest number of “students”, 257. Three unnamed National Nuclear Security Administration managers were on the list. They had emergency operations responsibility and top "Q level" security clearance allowing access to sensitive nuclear weapons information. The government later said the revelations would not affect their job status. In three American states it is illegal now to mention fake university diplomas in your CV.
Saint Regis University had acted as if it was based in the African republic of Liberia but in reality it had bribed some Liberian diplomats and was operating from Washington. This mafia had links with dozens of other fake universities. Half of its diplomas it had sold to foreigners, especially Saudis and Pakistanis, which should awake some police around the world.
The whole affair was brought to light by George Collin, a professor of physics in the state of Illinois. He published a critical article on Saint Regis University and started to receive threatening emails, supposedly from the Liberian embassy. Then after a while the police came into action.
According to Collin, around 200,000 fake university diplomas are sold annually in the United States. Some fake universities are so criminal that they hijack internet servers to send millions of people emails offering their diplomas. It really is big business.
Students who want to study online for a real diploma, have to check if the university is officially accredited by a government, but you can recognize easily whether a university is fake or not. Usually the fake universities tell you that your previous diplomas, or your work experience, are enough to obtain a diploma, without any study, exams or having to write a Master’s or doctorate thesis. Just pay a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, and it is done. Nobody in Europe, the Middle East or China knows what is Rutherford University.
To complicate things further, there are American universities like the University of Phoenix, that are officially accredited by some institutions but not by other official agencies in their field, that are more important. These universities are companies that want to make a profit. The University of Phoenix is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Apollo Group, a company publicly traded on NASDAQ, one of the American stock exchanges. It is the biggest university of America!
But also Europe is lax. Like in America, after paying tens of thousands of dollars to a real university, and sweat four to six years to obtain a real diploma, a European can find himself competing for a job with a sociologist or manager who wouldn’t be able to spell the words sociology of management properly.
In Holland European diplomas from “fully accredited universities” are for sale at “DBA Intermediair”, which claims European universities have a right to sell diplomas to anyone they think is good enough to have one. Which is a blatant lie.
Another university in Holland dispensing diplomas is the Intercultural Open University, which is not a diploma factory but neither a normal university. This university is deeply engaged with religious issues, as are many fake universities, and on issues such as peace or the environment. It cooperates with a wide variety of similar institutes in Russia, India, Taiwan, Japan and other countries. Students from poor countries might pay 300 dollars, but Europeans over 10,000 dollars.
When a journalist investigated the issue last year in Holland, he found out that it is not illegal for illiterates in Holland to put “MA” or “PhD” behind their name. Only putting “Dr” in front of your name is a small crime, worth a fine of around 3000 dollar, but the Ministry of Justice confessed it is not actively prosecuting false Doctors. The Ministry of Higher Education has opened a website where students can ask the ministry to check what is the value of their diplomas. But, probably because the Ministry is afraid to be brought to court by the diploma-mafia, it didn’t simply produce a list of the mafia’s many branches. Other governments are also afraid to do this.
On the run
The fake universities, being more and more exposed, seem to be constantly on the run. For example “Trinity International University” has moved from the American state of Delaware to Illinois. Its website has been registered in different names over time, the last one being “Helen’s Motor school” based in Blackpool, England. The same moving around the world with St. Clements University, Queens University of Brighton, the Advanced Studies Institute, and dozens of others. Helen is married with Anthony Gillick, who in 1991 wrote a small booklet called “Diplomas by the Mail”. It seems his wife Helen learned from this how to do it. Gillick now also has a fake church, in which he moves around in bishop’s clothes.
In Iraq, thank God, we are only at the beginning of diploma factories (of course some people will say that Iraqi universities are diploma factories, not even teaching sometimes half of the obligatory curriculum, but they have never been designed as diploma mills, so they can be reformed and improved by the government).
In Hilla a “Holland University” is operating but the Dutch embassy has never heard of it. That doesn’t mean it is doing bad work, we don’t know, but for sure it has nothing to do with any real unversity in Holland. I have met people claiming they are creating branches of British universities in Kurdistan. Let’s see.
Iraqi students should also clearly be told that the project for a private new “American University” in Sulaymania has little to do with the “American University” in Cairo, Beirut, Sjarjah, Puerto Rico, Paris or Washington. These are private universities founded by different people and organizations, with academic and non-academic diplomas. They are not diploma mills but some don’t offer university diplomas.
The American University in Beirut says it has been “registered with and recognized by the Department of Education of New York State since 1863”. How is a student to know what this means?
It is better to put on paper what a degree of any "American University" will be worth in Europe and on other continents. Where are these degrees accepted and recognised? – that is the question.
The main link between American Universities is that they have been accredited recently or decades ago by the “Middle States Commission on Higher Education”, which is an American voluntary, non-governmental, membership association, with over 500 colleges and universities as members. It is one of seven such officially recognized regional organizations in the United States whose official aim is to improve education on all levels.
The Commission’s website does indeed mention among its members the American universities of Cairo, Beirut, Sjarjah, Paris, Puerto Rico and Washington as members. Sulaymania could only become one, if it wanted, after functioning for a few years.
The bad news is that the diploma factories are confusing students by claiming that they are accredited by the "Middle States Accrediting Board", a fraud.
Who thought only Egyptian professors were selling diplomas for a bottle of whisky? Wake up before you spend your money.
(Sources: Skepter magazine, Wikipedia, and other sources on internet)
LIST OF DIPLOMA MILLS WORLDWIDE
All names on this list are:
- diploma mills, or
- they don't have the authority to issue degrees
- they are not officially accredited
- they have already been closed by governments
- they issue degrees that are recognized nowhere, besides one or two exceptions.
Also note: membership of an association is not the same as having an accreditation of that organization.
This list is not complete. We have left out names that could lead to confusion with good universities. Besides, some of these "universities" change their name all the time.
? = location unknown
Académie Européene d'Informatisation, Belgium
Academy for Contemporary Research, ?
Academy of Healing Arts, USA
Academy of Natural Therapies, Hawaii
Academy of Religious & Spiritual Studies, ?
Adam Smith University, Liberia, Saipan
Adams and Washington University
King College of Professional Studies, England
Addison State University, Ottawa, Canada
Advanced Education Trust, ?
Advanced Learning Network, Vermont, USA
African Distributed University (AIDP)
Akamai University, Hawaii
Al Qasim University, Pakistan
Alberdeen University, New Mexico, USA
Albert University, Delaware, USA
Alexandria University, ?
All Saints American University, Liberia
Almeda College (University), Florida, Idaho, USA
Ambai University, Massachusetts, USA
Ambassador University Corporation, ?
American Capital University, Liberia
American Central University, Wyoming, USA
American City University, Wyoming, USA
American Coastline University, Hawaii, California, New York, Russia
American Columbus University, California
American Global University, Wyoming
American Independent International University
American International University, Belize
American International University of Management and Technology, Hawaii
American Liberty University, USA and other countries
American Pacific University, Hawaii
American PacWest International University, Hawaii
American State University, Hawaii
Hamilton University. Richardson University.
American University for Humanities, Mississippi
American University of Asturias, Spain
American University of Hawaii, various countries
American University of London, St. Kitts/Nevis, UK, Sri Lanka
American World University, Mississippi, California
Americana University, Liberia
Americus University, Washington DC
Ameritech University, Monrovia
Amstead University, US
Anacrusis Institute, Greece, UK
Anaheim University, California
Anderson University, California
Anglo American University, Hawaii
Aristotle University, California
College of LawAshbourne University, Great Britain
Ashford University, Great Britain
Ashington University, British Virgin Islands, Louisiana, USA
Athenaeum University, Panama, UK
Atlantic International University, Hawaii, Florida
Atlantic National University, California
Auberdeen University, Idaho, USA
Bangalore Inst of Science, Tech. and Mgt, India
Barrington University, Alabama, USA
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Global Education, ?
Bircham International University, UK, Spain, Bahamas, a.o.
Blackstone University, ?
Brantridge University, Hawaii
Breyer State University, Alabama, Idaho, USA
Bridgewater University, UK, Seychelles
Brighton University, Missouri, Hawaii
Britain College of Management and Science, UK
British American Business Institute
Bronte International University, ?
Burnell College, Great Britain
Business and Computer University College, Lebanon
Buxton University, UK
Cal Southern University, Texas
Calamus International University, British West Indies
California Miramar University,California
California Pacific University, California
Calvary University, Virginia, Oregon, UK, Netherlands, a.o.
Cambridge International University, South Africa
Cambridge State University, Hawaii, Mississippi
Campile University, UK and Belize
Canadian School of Management, Canada
Canbourne University, UK
Canyon College, Idaho
Capital American University, Liberia
Caribbean Medical University, Curacao
Carrington University, ?
Center College of Executive & Professional Development, India
Central Pacific University, Hawaii, Delaware, Dubai
Central State University, California, Canada
Century University, New Mexico, USA
Chadwick University, Alabama
Chase University, ?
Chelsea University, United Kingdom
University of L.A., California
Clayton College of Natural Health, Alabama
Clayton University, Hong Kong
Clermont College of Business, Montana, USA
College of Medical & Health Sciences, St. Lucia
Colony University, Liberia
Columbia Commonwealth University, Wyoming
Columbia Pacific U., California
Columbia State University, Louisiana
Columbus University, Louisiana, Mississippi
Commonwealth Open University, Virgin Islands
Communion of Saints Seminary, Oregon, USA
Continental University, Liberia, Phillipines
Cosmopolitan University, ?
Cranston University online, Singapore
Cromwell College of IT and Management, Great Britain
Crossworld Institute of Professional Studies, Kenya
Crown Church College & University, ?
Denmark College of Management and IT, Copenhagen, Denmark
DiUlus Institute and University, Seborga, Italy, New Mexico
Donsbach University, California
Dublin Metropolitan University, Ireland
Earlscroft University, Great Britain, Commonwealth, Seychelles
Earthnet Institute, Hawaii
East Point University, ?
Edenvale University, Texas, Great Britain, New York
Ellington University, ?
Euclid University, Central African Republic, Chad
European Carolus Magnus University, Europe
European College of Medicine, UK
European Graduate School, New York, Switzerland
European University of Ireland, Ireland
Fairfax University, Louisiana, Montana, S. Dakota, U.K.
Farington University, ?
Felton University, ?
Firelake University, Finland
Fort Young University, Liberia
Foundation University, Holland
Frederick Taylor International University, Hawaii, California
Glencullen University, UK
Glenford University, Louisiana
Glenndale University, UK
Golden State University, Hawaii
Grandview International University, Missouri
Greenleaf University, Missouri
Greenwich University, Hawaii, Norfolk Island, California
Halifax University, Wyoming
Hampton Bay University, Liberia
Harrington University, Great Britain
Hartford University, Vanatu
Hartland University, Liberia
Hartley University, Great Britain
Hawaii American University, Hawaii
Heed University, Wisconsin, Florida, Caribbean
Hegel International University, California, Hawaii, Japan
Holos University, Missouri, Norfolk Island and South Dakota
Honolulu University of the Arts Sciences & Humanities, Hawaii.
Illawarra College, New Hampshire, Virginia, Australia
Information University of America, Hawaii
Institute for the Management of Information Systems, Great Britain
Institute of Executive & Professional Development, Liberia
Institute of Global Education, Oregon
Institute of New Media & Technology, ?
InTech University, Liberia
International Academy of Education University, New York, Japan
International Earth Environment University, Japan, Delaware, USA
International Graduate Center, Vermont, St. Croix USA
International Medical School of America, Texas
International Mid Pac College, Hawaii
International Theological University, California
International University, Vienna, Austria
International University for Graduate Studies, St. Kitts
International University of Nursing, St. Kitts
IOND University, Hawaii, Japan, Philippines
Irish International University, Malaysia, Switzerland
Irish University Business School, Ireland
Ivory Carlson University, Minnesota
James Cook Medical School, Cook Islands
James Monroe University, Liberia
Johnson Daves University, Liberia
Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara Medical School, Texas
Kalinga University, India
Kensington University, Hawaii, California
Keystone University, Florida
Kingdom College of Natural Health, Louisiana, Russia
Kingsfield University, Great Britain
Knightsbridge University, Denmark
LaCrosse University, Mississippi
Landsfield University, Seychelles
Lansbridge University, British Columbia
LaSalle University, Louisiana
Lee Community College, Singapore, Leibniz, New Mexico, Italy
Leugenia University, South Carolina
Lexington University, ?
Lincoln International University Inc., Hawaii
London College of Technology, UK
Madison University, Mississippi
Management Institute of Canada, Ontario/Quebec
Manhattan University, Hawaii, British Columbia
Marlborough University, Hawaii
Medical College of London, UK, Montserrat
Midwest Missouri University, Missouri, USA
Miranda International University, Tennessee, Washington, Seborga (Italy)
Monterrey Institute for Graduate Studies, Texas
Monticello University/Thomas Jefferson University, Kansas, Hawaii
Nation State University, ?
Nation University, Hawaii
National Consortium Staff College, Missouri
New Manhattan University, ?
Newport University, Hawaii, Lebanon
Newton University, Vancouver BC, Hawaii
Nobel University, South Korea
North United University, ?
Northwestern International University, Ltd.Cyprus/Denmark
Novus University, Mississippi
Oaklands University, ?
Oceania University of Medicine, Samoa
Open Institute of Law, Russia
Open University of America, Puerto Rico
Open University of Lincoln, Nebraska
Oxford International University, Great Britain
Oxford Trent University, Texas
Pacific Basin University, Texas, Mexico, Micronesia
Pacific Buddhist University, Hawaii, Japan
Pacific Coast University, California
Pacific Southern University, Hawaii
Pacific Western University, California
Panama Canal University, ?
PanAmerican University, Liberia
Paramount University of Technology, Wyoming
Parkwood University, U.S., Great Britain
Pebble Hills University, Italy (Seborga), Australia
Pickering University, Hawaii
Port Rhode University, ?
Prescott College of Business and Leadership Studies, Hawaii
Preston University, Wyoming, Pakistan, Dubai
Promis University of London, UK and Belize
Queens University of Brighton, California, Missouri, others
Queenston University, Utah, Vanuatu, Australia
Randford University, Virginia
Randford University, Florida
Redding University, U.S.
Regent International University, Australia, Switzerland
Richardson University, Bahamas, Wyoming
Robert de Sorbon, France, Maine, Switzerland, Florida and the Comoro Islands
Robertstown University, Liberia, Washington state, Idaho and Arizona
Rochville University, ?
Rocklands University, ?
Royal Canadian Institute of Technology, British Columbia
Rushmore University, Cayman Is., Georgia, USA
Rutherford University, Wyoming, British Columbia, Swaziland
Sacramento International University, ?
Sacramento Regent University, California
Saint Augustin University, Florida
San Diego Pacific University, ?
San Francisco International University, California
Scarsdale University, California, UK
Shaftsbury University, ?
Shelbourne University, Pennsylvania, USA
Shepperton University, ?
Solsbury University, Ontario, Canada
South Atlantic University, ?
South Pacific School of Medicine, Texas
Southern Graduate Institute, Kentucky, USA
Southern Pacific University, Malaysia, Hawaii
Southwest International University, Bayside, NY
St Mary's School of Medicine, Cook Islands
St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants, State of Georgia, USA
St. Augustine University, ?
St. Christopher's College of Medicine, Senegal, UK, Belize
St. Clements University, Great Britain, Niue, Turks and Caicos Islands
St. George University International, St. Kitts, Grenada
St. John's University College of Medicine, Montserrat
St. Lourdes University, ?
St. Lucia College of Medicine, St. Lucia
St. Luke School of Medicine, California, Ghana, Liberia
St. Mary's College of Medicine, Hawaii
St. Regis University, Dominica, Liberia, Washington D.C., State of Washington
St. Renoir University, ?
Theresa Medical School, St. Kitts
St. Thomas Institute, India
Standford University, Florida, Texas,
Stanley State University, ?
Stanton University, Hawaii
Stefan International University, Inc., California
Stensan International Univ, California
Strassford University, Great Britain
Suffield University, Connecticut
Summerset University, UK
Summit University, Louisiana
Tecana International Universita, South America
Templeton University online, Singapore
The Gemini College, Great Britain
The Thornwood University, UK, Holland
Thornhill University, UK
Trident University of Technology, Singapore
Trinity College and University, various locations
Universite de Wallis, Wallis and Fortuna Islands
South Pacific, London
Universiteit Russell Hobbes,?
University College for Advanced Studies, India
University de la Romande, UK
University for Integrative Learning, California
University of Advanced Research, California
University of Berkley, Pennsylvania
University of Devonshire, UK
University of Doncaster, England
University of Dorchester, ?
University of Dublin, California
University of Dunham, ?
University of Ecoforum for Peace, Switzerland
University of Health Science, Hawaii
University of Honiara, Solomon Islands
University of Honolulu USA, Utah, Thailand & Pakistan
University of New Castle/Newcastle, Oregon, Ireland, UK, Washington DC, South Pacific islands
University of Newlands, New Zealand
University of Northern Washington, Vancouver B.C.
University of NorthWest, USA, Pakistan, India
University of Palmers Green, UK
University of Ravenhurst, Great Britain
University of San Moritz, Great Britain, Cyprus
University of Science at Berkeley, Japan
University of Science, Arts and Technology (USAT), Montserrat
University of Sint Eustatius, Caribbean
University of Wexford, Great Britain
Valde University, Illinois
Van Ives University, ?
Vancouver University Worldwide, British Columbia
Vernell University, ?
Virginia International University, Virginia
Wakefield International University, St. Kitts/Nevis
Warnborough University/Warnborough College, Republic of Ireland, Great Britain
Warren National University, Wyoming
Washington International University, Pennsylvania, Brit. Virgin Isl.
West Coast University, Panama, Western Australia, UK
Westbourne University, Great Britain
Westbrook University, New Mexico, New York, California
Western States University for Professional Studies, Missouri
Westgate University, Delaware corporation
Westhampton University, Great Britain
Westmore University/Westmore College, Singapore
Weston Reserve University,Seychelles, Kuwait, Canada, a.o.
William Tucker University, Seborga (Italy), District of Columbia
Wilson State University, Inc., Hawaii, New Jersey
Wisconsin International University,Ghana, Ukraine and others
Wittfield University, Hawaii
World Information Distributed University, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland
Yorker International University, South Dakota, New York
YUIN/American University, Hawaii
Zenith University, Hawaii
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