Strap on your seat belts! Yes, dear readers and blog followers, here’s yet another story about “university” that supports my statement, The US exports some of the world’s best and worst higher education. I know it’s been a long time and that some of you are probably chomping at the bit waiting for another one to get your fix. These stories definitely fall into the category of “Intrigue.”
Introducing American University… No, not THAT American University, silly – you know the regionally accredited one in Washington, D.C. that has an international reputation. This AU, registered to someone who presumably lives at an address in a not so tony neighborhood in Herminie, PA, about a 30-minute drive from Pittsburgh, mentions the following on its website:
- Offers online college degrees on the basis of work/life experience and online equivalency test.
- American University Fully accredited by the Education Accreditation Council of America
- 72,000 students have graduated from American University so far with fully accredited degrees.
- Offers a diverse range of majors to choose from under each of its online university degree programs.
Here you have a “university” that works from the same playbook as other rogue providers. It essentially sells diplomas, creates an accrediting agency to “accredit” itself (how convenient), claims to have tens of thousands of happy alumni and, of course, “offers a diverse range of majors…”
In addition to the prices listed below, you can get a “package deal”, for example, if you want a high school diploma and associate degree.
High School Diploma $499
Associate Degree $749
Bachelor’s Degree $949
Master’s Degree $999
Doctorate Degree $1199
Like any business worth its weight in salt, AU accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
Bonus: AU provides “swift verification of your credentials over phone by your employer or educational institution.” Of course it does; the inmates are running the asylum. Like many companies, AU believes in efficiency and convenience: buy a degree, get it “verified” by the same people who sold you said degree and reassure the customer, uhh, student that AU is accredited by its very own accreditation mill.
Below are the registrant, administrative contact, billing contact names:
Administrative Contact Name: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
Administrative Contact Organization: American University
Administrative Contact Address1: 112 Sewickley Ave
Administrative Contact City: Herminie
Administrative Contact State/Province: PA
Administrative Contact Postal Code: 15637
Administrative Contact Country: United States
Administrative Contact Country Code: US
Administrative Contact Phone Number: +1.9519684574
Administrative Contact Email: email@example.com
The address at which AU is registered is for sale, by the way. Here’s a real estate come-on written by an agent who’s probably just starting out (or at least I hope so): Wow…wow…and Double wow! 5 apartments, 1st floor commercial needs to go. 5 Rentals several occupied. Commercial is vacant. Obviously building needs some work. Great deal for somebody with construction talent. I can only wonder if AU is included in the deal. I also wonder what the rent is for the “rentals” that are occupied. (Oh, to be poor in America.) But I digress…
- Why doesn’t the real AU sue the faux AU?
- Why do the US federal government and the various state governments allow these diploma mills to exist? They tarnish legitimate US higher education.
- Could the owner be the same person who owns another rogue provider company in California and originally hails from Pakistan?
Hint: The smoking gun is the email contact for the accrediting agency, firstname.lastname@example.org. The answer is a resounding YES. Check out these posts about the great California South University:
Mystery solved. Finding and dealing with these diploma mills is a bit like playing Whac-A-Mole. Never boring but not always gratifying. If they are permitted to continue doing business as usual, words alone are useful but, at the end of the day, so much spitting in the wind.