A high school diploma is one of the most important documents to have in today’s society. Almost every job will require an individual to have either a high school diploma or a GED and is essential for any college and/or university enrollment. Yet many students drop out each year due to personal responsibilities and/or lack of effort.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) was introduced in the summer of 2012 by President Obama. DACA is a program that gives work authorization to children who were brought to the United States by their parents at a young age and are in the United States illegally. The program provides unrestricted work authorization to individuals who qualify, and also allows young people to obtain a social security number and a driver’s license.
Young adults must meet several criteria to be eligible for the program. One of the criteria is that the applicant must be enrolled in school or a GED program, or have a high school or GED diploma.
DACA has inspired many students to further their education and enroll in an educational program. Unfortunately, many are looking to the internet for an easier way to get a high school diploma instead of enrolling in a credible school or GED program. What many students find are online programs that promise a legitimate high school diploma (equivalent to a real high school diploma or GED)…which ultimately turns out to be an internet “diploma mill”. Diploma mills charge a flat fee for a high school diploma and mislead people into believing that the diplomas are legitimate and accepted by universities and employers across the United States.
Degree mills love to use official-sounding terms to impress potential students. These terms often sound good, yet mean little in terms of educational quality. Be wary of these terms and phrases: “authenticated,” “verifiable,” “licensed,” “internationally approved,” “notarized,” and “accredited by UNESCO.”
Most online programs claim that their diplomas are legitimate but before enrolling in a program that could turn out to be a fake, it is important to review the following:
- Is the school accredited? – The site may contain information and links to the school’s “accreditations”. Unfortunately, the majority of internet degree mills are accredited, but not by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education. The problem is that they are accredited by bogus agencies that they themselves have created.
- Does the school ask for transcripts, academic records or other evidence of the individual’s previous education?
- Does the website over-emphasize the ease and speed of obtaining a high school degree (“To get your high school diploma you only need to pass our high school equivalency test and pay $299.99″)
- Is any attendance required of students, either online or in class?
- Are few assignments required for students to earn credits?
- Is one of the requirements for graduation possession of a valid Visa or MasterCard?
- Does the operation provide any information about a campus or business location or address?
- Does the operation provide a list of its faculty and their qualifications?
- Does the operation have a name similar to other well-known colleges and universities?
If you have suspicions regarding the validity of an online program, you can always contact your local college or university and ask if the program will be accepted by the college as evidence of a high school diploma or GED.
To find legitimate programs in your area, simply contact your local school district and ask about high school completion and GED programs. Most offer day and night classes as well as flexible schedules. If you must use an online program, do your homework and make sure you do not become a victim of a diploma mill.