Online colleges are everywhere, and they’re becoming a more legitimate way to get educated every day. However, there are still plenty of online “schools” that are nothing more than scams to get students to hand over their money. The difference between a legitimate school and a scam school is whether or not that school has been accredited.
What accreditation means?
Accreditation means that a professional educational body responsible for assessing colleges has decreed that the college in question meets all of the expectations required. If a college has regional accreditation then it’s generally considered to be a non-profit institution such as a private or state college. National accreditation implies that the university is for-profit, like many trade schools or two year colleges who make a profit off the education they offer students.
Is accreditation a guarantee?
Accreditation is not a guarantee that a university, online or offline, is one the up and up. It’s a good sign to look for, and students should not attend a university that isn’t accredited, but just because a school has accreditation doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate place to get a degree from.
The reason for this is because accreditation is only reviewed and checked so often. Additionally, if an accredited university is bought up by another company then the accreditation doesn’t automatically expire. So many times an accredited college, online or offline will be bought up by a scam corporation when the college starts struggling. The scam company can then wrap the former school’s accreditation around itself like a cloak, making it look like a real college. It’s only after students have realized they’re being scammed and they report the college as a phony and a review of the accreditation starts, that the cloak gets pulled away. When that happens, the scam company closes the institution and moves onto another struggling college, performing the same operation again and again. So no, just because a college is accredited right now is no guarantee that it’s a good school.
What to look for?
Accreditation is the first thing to look for when it comes to picking an online college. Students also need to look and see if that accreditation is connected to a legitimate, offline university. This offers an extra bona fide, and it makes the online college that much safer. Students need to look and see how long the school has been accredited for as well; the longer a school has been accredited, the more faith a student can have in it. Lastly, students need to look and see if there were any recent changes of ownership. If there have been then students need to see who bought the school, and what the reputation of that new owner is.
Online colleges are a great way to get an education. They offer traditional classes in more flexible ways, so that more students can come and better themselves to participate in the job market as well as in the world at large. However, students need to use a critical eye to make sure that what they’re told they’re buying is what they’re actually going to get.
Peter L. is a professional blogger for www.GetAPhD.org. Peter is an avid writer with a keen attention to detail. His academic background is science, with a bachelors degree in Molecular and Microbiology/Biomedical Sciences from the University of Central Florida.