Questions and Answers
About Online Education
Judging Online Education
Question: I recently saw a well-known online university campus and I was shocked that it looked more like a recruiting office in a strip mall than a college. With so many "Diploma Mills" around, how can I judge the quality of an online education program?
The school facility you saw is not really too surprising. Many "Nationally Accredited" colleges and universities offer only distance learning and online programs. This means they don't need a fancy college campus to deliver a quality education.
Here are couple of quick ways to tell if a school is reputable or not:
1. Is the school accredited by either a Regional or National accreditation association.
These associations include:
DETC - Distance Education and Training Council
MSA - Middle States Association
NEASC - New England Association of Schools and Colleges
NCASC - North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
NWCCU - Northwest Commission on College and Universities
SACS - Southwest Association of Colleges and Schools
WASC - Western Association of Schools and Colleges
2. Is the school a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), listed by the Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), or certified by the VA for use with GI Bill?
If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you can bet they are NOT a diploma mill. In other words, don't judge Distance Learning Colleges and Universities by their covers -- the building or address. Judge them by their associations -- the accreditations they keep.