Beware of Accreditation Mills

Some unaccredited universities and colleges, including a few that enroll Vietnamese students, claim to be accredited.  This is an attempt to persuade prospective students that they are legitimate, thereby increasing their enrollment and revenue. 

One example is Atlantic International University (AIU) in Hawaii, which states on its website that it is “accredited” by Accrediting Commission International (ACI).  In fact, ACI is an unrecognized accreditor, otherwise known as an accreditation mill, that will “accredit” schools for “around $2,300.00 from start to finish.”  Other schools simply create their own accrediting agencies and “accredit” themselves.  Both are clear-cut cases of fraud.   (Photo courtesy of the Detroit, MI Better Business Bureau.) 

ACI claims to have a membership “of over 320 schools, colleges, universities, and theological seminaries in 39 United States and 8 countries of the world.” 

For information about ACI’s less than distinguished past, check out this article entitled Great Moments in Accreditation: The Case of IAC, ACI, and The Three Stooges by John Bear.  Dr. Bear is an author based in El Cerrito, California. For 12 years he was the FBI’s principal consultant and expert witness on diploma mills and fake degrees. His books include Bear’s Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning and College Degrees by Mail and Internet.

Dr. Bear concludes the article with this comment and sage advice: 

Meanwhile, well-meaning consumers, who have been trained to ask, “Is it accredited,” reach for their checkbooks, because they don’t know that they must ask the essential second question: “And is the accrediting agency recognized by the (U.S.) Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation?”

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