List of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations

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This is a list of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations, as identified by the organizations themselves, government authorities in their respective countries or other independent authorities. These are entities that are engaged in higher education accreditation or have been identified as being accreditors, but that lack appropriate recognition or authorization.

Prerequisites and rules for higher education accreditation vary from country to country. In most countries, the function of quality assurance for higher education institutions is conducted by a government ministry of education.[1] In the United States, educational accreditation is performed primarily by private nonprofit membership associations,[2] the legitimacy of which is validated through recognition by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or both.[3] USDE and CHEA recognize many of the accrediting organizations, but not all. Accreditors seek USDE or CHEA recognition for different reasons: USDE recognition is required for accreditors whose institutions or programs seek eligibility for federal student aid funds. CHEA recognition confers an academic legitimacy on accrediting organizations, helping to solidify the place of these organizations and their institutions and programs in the national higher education community.[4] Often a school claiming accreditation from an unrecognized accrediting body will not be viewed as legitimate in the academic community.[5] Institutional accreditation is usually required by U.S. institutions to receive federal government funds.[1] Also, students who attend institutions of higher education that are accredited through organizations not recognized by the USDE or CHEA do not qualify for U.S. government financial aid.[1] Similarly, employers or graduate programs cannot be confident that graduates of an unaccredited institution or program will be appropriately prepared.[6]

To assist consumers, several national and international bodies publish lists of recognized accreditation bodies and accredited educational institutions, as well as accreditors that are known to lack the necessary legal authority or recognition, and higher education providers known to lack accreditation.[7] The United States organization CHEA maintains an international directory of education ministries and other recognized higher education quality assurance bodies worldwide. The 2007 version of that directory lists 467 recognized bodies in 175 countries.[8]

Many, but not all, of the entities in the list below are considered to be fraudulent accreditation mills that were set up to help diploma mills lure students and whose "accreditation" has no legal or academic value. Some other listed entities are religious accreditation bodies, whose accreditation may have doctrinal significance but lacks recognized academic value.[9] Also included are some organizations that do not offer educational accreditation but have been falsely identified as accrediting bodies by organizations that claim to have been accredited by them. A notable example of this last type is UNESCO. UNESCO has no authority to recognize or accredit higher education institutions or agencies.[7] Nonetheless, because diploma mills have claimed false UNESCO accreditation, UNESCO itself has published warnings against education organizations that claim UNESCO recognition or affiliation.[7][10]

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  1. ^ a b c An Overview of U.S. Accreditation, by Judith S. Eaton, CHEA. Archived August 4, 2007.
  2. ^ Diploma mills provide phony credentials, By Helena Andrews, The Capital Times/Medill News Service, February 14, 2005
  3. ^ Recognized Accrediting Organizations (as of August 2010), lists accreditation organizations recognized by CHEA and/or USDE (accessed October 9, 2010)
  4. ^ "An Overview of U.S. Accreditation". p. 7. 
  5. ^ Important Questions about "Diploma Mills" and "Accreditation Mills", Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Fact Sheet 6, May 2003. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  6. ^ "CHEA - Value of US Accreditation (FAQ)". p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Luca Lantero, Degree Mills: non-accredited and irregular higher education institutions, Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA), Italy. "On Unesco's website a warning has also been published regarding all institutions that claim to be recognized by them, but which are actually not. As Unesco make clear in their communiqué, they do not have the power to accredit any higher education institutions or agencies; as a consequence, institutions or agencies claiming to be recognized by Unesco has to be looked upon with suspicion."
  8. ^ CHEA International Directory introduction, accessed November 21, 2010
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Accrediting Agencies Not Recognized Under GAAP (website recommended by U.S. Department of Education; both websites accessed October 21, 2007)
  10. ^ UNESCO "Alert: Misuse of UNESCO Name by Bogus Institutions", UNESCO website, accessed 30 November 2011
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq Ezell, Allen; Bear, John (2012). Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616145088. 
  12. ^ Bear, John; Bear, Mariah (2003-01-01). Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance. Ten Speed Press. p. 215. ISBN 1-58008-431-1. Retrieved 2009-04-16. "Claims accreditation from the International States Parliament for Safety and Peace; in the past has claimed accreditation from the Academy for the Promotion of International Culture and Scientific Exchange (APICS), an unrecognized agency." 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Accrediting" entities not recognized by the State of Oregon, Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization (accessed March 17, 2009)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fiocchetti, C., Checcacci, C. & Lantero, L., "How to spot and counter diploma mills", Chapter 4 (November, 2010) Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA) [1]
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Ezell, Allen (2009), Recent Developments with Degree Mills: Accreditation Mills and Counterfeit Diploma and Transcript Operations, College and University 85(2): 40–50. Accessed on website of MACRAO, the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, October 19, 2010.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Unrecognized and Fake Agencies for Online College Accreditation". GetEducated.com. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Bear, John, and Bear, Mariah P.: Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Ten Speed Press, 2003, pages 51–61. ISBN 1-58008-431-1
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch "Colleges and Universities not Accredited by CHEA; Unapproved Accrediting Bodies". State of Michigan Civil Service Commission. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011.  (list is no longer being maintained)
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs Stephen Barrett, Be Wary of Nonrecognized Accreditation Agencies, dated November 20, 2008, Credential Watch website, accessed October 7, 2010
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board List of Fraudulent or Unrecognized Accreditors (archived February 17, 2007)
  21. ^ Information concerning unaccredited universities
  22. ^ a b c d Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning by John Bear, Mariah P. Bear (2003), page 61
  23. ^ Thomas Bartlett, ""Inquiry Into Higher-Education Group Reveals Odd Connections," Chronicle of Higher Education, Monday, August 25, 2008
  24. ^ See American Communication Association accreditation webpage; ACA is an organization of communication scholars and practitioners. It offers accreditation of a wide variety of communication programs. It is not currently endorsed by EAES or CHEA.
  25. ^ a b c States Struggle to Regulate Online Colleges That Lack Accreditation by Sarah Carr and Andrea L. Foster, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2001
  26. ^ a b c Canyon College lists accreditation through the Nevada based ANMAB and the New York based ACPSA. "Canyon College Accreditation". Canyon College website. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2010. .[not in citation given]
  27. ^ Registrars’ Group Takes On Diploma Mills, Inside Higher Ed, February 10, 2006.
  28. ^ The University of Northern Virginia, which claims accreditation from the American University Accreditation Council (formerly identified as the American Council of University Accreditation), states on its website that "AUAC is not recognized by the US Department of Education as an accrediting body and is a non-CHEA accreditation agency for the U.S. schools with international programs." (Accessed October 10, 2010)
  29. ^ Tom Bartlett, Karin Fischer, and Josh Keller, Little-Known Colleges Exploit Visa Loopholes to Make Millions Off Foreign Students, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 20, 2011. Identifies the organization as "not recognized by the Department of Education." "Drive to the address on the contact page and ... you'll find a bustling auto-body repair shop. That shop, it turns out, is owned by Gary Zhu, acting chairman of the board at UNVA."
  30. ^ a b Associated Press, Cheyenne police chief defends distance-learning degree, April 23, 2005.
  31. ^ Association for Innovation in Distance Education website (accessed July 20, 2008): "AIDE is not an accrediting agency approved/recognized by the U.S. Department of Education."
  32. ^ "AICCS Disclaimer". Association of Independent Christian Colleges & Seminaries. Retrieved 30 January 2011.  "Because of the AICCS Board of Directors' convictions in support of religious freedom, Christian liberty, and the separation of church and state, AICCS has never applied for affiliation with any federal government agency. AICCS, therefore, is not recognized by the United States Department of Education."
  33. ^ a b Association of International Education Assessors and its affiliate, the Council for Distance Education Accreditation, are based in the United States (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), but their website states that the organization "is not listed with any government agency or the U.S. Department of Education."
  34. ^ a b c Gene Trainor, Diploma mills keep churning out bogus degrees, Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas), March 27, 2010
  35. ^ Bear, John; Bear, Mariah P. (2003). Bears' Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1580084311. 
  36. ^ a b "Minutes, CHEA Board of Directors Meeting, January 22, 2001". CHEA. Archived from the original on June 18, 2006. "At its September 25, 2000 meeting, the board of directors accepted the committee on recognition's recommendation that the American Denturitry Association Council on Denturitry Education Commission on Denturitry Accreditation be deemed ineligible to be considered for CHEA recognition." 
  37. ^ "Recognitions", Educational Accreditation Association website, accessed September 26, 2009, indicates an intention to request recognition
  38. ^ About Us, Accreditedu.org, accessed August 6, 2012. States "Education International is applying for recognition and/or listing with" several governments.
  39. ^ Bogus university boasts web of institutes from Kenya to Malaysia, Independent.ie, November 13, 2005. The newspaper phoned the EQAC; the call was answered on a mobile phone in Spain by a respondent who could not answer the questions. The University of Aberdeen is listed on the EQAC website as an accredited institution, but a university spokesperson said: "We have never heard of that commission. They may have listed us on their website, but we certainly haven't gone through any formal process to gain accreditation."
  40. ^ Marsha Forys, Children's counselor charged with fraud, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 26, 2005
  41. ^ Although based in the United States (Helena, Montana), the Hygienic Doctors Association official website states (in an FAQ) as its response to the question "Is The H.D.A. recognized by the Department of Education?" that "Current laws in the United States of America prohibit the recognition of global accreditation of associations and organizations," indicating its acknowledgment that it lacks recognition.
  42. ^ First-Degree Fraud Houston Press July 20, 2006
  43. ^ Paul Fain (October 19, 2012). "Startup University's Phantom Faculty". Inside HigherEd. "International Accreditation Organization (IAO), [is] a self-described "secondary" accrediting body that seeks to "recognize and accredit education providers on an international scale," according to its website. The Texas-based accreditor said its seal of approval is not to be claimed as a primary accreditation, which is how Cambridge Graduate is using it. [George] Gollin questioned relying on the accreditor in any capacity. He cited bogus degree providers on IAO’s list of accredited institutions, including one with ties to a known degree mill operator. ... Gollin notes that one of IAO’s fully accredited institutions is the University of Antarctica (motto: "Big Continent, Big Opportunities"), which the accreditor recently removed from its website. ... Accrediting the University of Antarctica should be a "one-strike-you're-out disqualification," Gollin said. And any institution that "describes its couplings with IAO as a positive attribute is not to be taken seriously."" 
  44. ^ Arne J Almquist (2011). "Academic Libraries, Marketing, Accreditation, and Support". In Sharon G. Almquist. Distributed Learning and Virtual Librarianship. ABC-CLIO. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-59158-906-8. 
  45. ^ IARC website states that its recognition "does not guarantee any sort of acceptance by any particular country or government" and its February 2008 newsletter states that IARC "derives it's authority from it’s membership rather than government or any one particular industry body". (Website accessed March 11, 2008; spelling and punctuation are those used in the source.)
  46. ^ http://www.iadl.org.uk/accredited_membership.htm
  47. ^ "Legal notices". International Association for Distance Learning. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  48. ^ Psst. Wanna Buy a Ph.D.? Chronicle for Higher Education by Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, June 25, 2004
  49. ^ According to the recognition page of the Calamus International University [2], the IIAA is closing down operations at the end of May 2007.
  50. ^ Ezell, Allen; Bear, John (2005). "Appendix E: Accreditation". Degree Mills: The Billion-dollar Industry That Has Sold Over A Million Fake Diplomas. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-238-1. "Here is a list of more than two hundred accrediting agencies that, as of late 2004, are not recognized by either CHEA or the US Department of Education. Inclusion on this list does not mean the accreditor is good or bad, real or fake, but only that it [is] not recognized by either of these two agencies. [...] Parlamento Mondiale per la Sicurazza e la Pace. Accreditor claimed by Senior University, Wyoming. It awards titles of nobility from an address in Palermo, Italy." 
  51. ^ "The Diploma Mafias - with a list of diploma factories worldwide". New Sabah (Iraq). Retrieved 2011-08-20. "Rutherford University, a diploma factory first based in Canada, escaped to the American state of Wyoming two years ago, after the Canadian government had taken action against companies selling fake university diplomas. But after Wyoming invoked its higher education laws, the university decided it was better to leave America altogether and it is now selling its diplomas from Swaziland. Its website says the university is "fully accredited" by something called the "International States Parliament" which is also a joke. Other institutes which look like daughters of Rutherford University even claim to be accredited by the "Supreme Council of the Presidency of the International States Parliament" which is three times nothing." 
  52. ^ "What is Accreditation". National Accrediting Agency of Private Theological Institutions website. Retrieved August 30, 2012. "National Accrediting Agency of Private Theological Institutions, in accordance with the inspired teaching of the Bible, has chosen not to seek endorsement from either the EAES or CHEA." 
  53. ^ National Association of Private Nontraditional Schools and Colleges website
  54. ^ The higher education approval authority in Liberia is the National Commission on Higher Education, which reports that some fake universities diploma mills have disseminated fake documentation from Liberian authorities. Republic of Liberia National Commission on Higher Education, Urgent Disclaimer on the Illegal Establishment and Recognition of Higher Education Institutions in the Republic of Liberia (2004). Archived on March 3, 2008.
  55. ^ Online Christ Centered Ministries describes its purposes solely as religious objectives. Listed purposes include facilitating evangelism, establishing accountability ("Maintain worthy, theological, ethical and evangelical standards among members") and recognition ("Recognize competent and credentialed ministries doing kingdom work on and off the internet"), and stimulating "solid, Christian education and the subsequent responsibility of teaching and evangelism." (See Our Purpose and Shepherd Bible College's Accreditation page.) On the OCCM website, member institutions are identified as "quality, exemplary, Christian ministries" (see Our Members). (Websites accessed August 26, 2007.)
  56. ^ "Investigating the bogus education scam". BBC. 7 January 2008. 
  57. ^ Saini, Angela (8 January 2008). "A degree of deception". The Guardian (London). 
  58. ^ a b Milne, Jonathan (October 10, 2008). "Teachers' wasted study on popular emotional literacy course". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  59. ^ Transworld Accrediting Commission International - Home Page
  60. ^ GetEducated.com describes WAOE as a "real, esteemed professional agency for educators" that is not involved in accreditation and does not allow its name to be used as an accrediting agency. (Print Unrecognized and Fake Agencies for Online College Accreditation, GetEducated.com, retrieved August 29, 2012)
  61. ^ See World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions website; WOCATI is an international consortium that includes accrediting organizations; it does not describe accreditation as one of its functions.
  62. ^ The World-wide Accreditation Commission's website (accessed July 17, 2008) states: "The World Wide Accreditation Commission of Christian Educational Institution, in accordance with the Inspired teaching of the Bible, has chosen not to seek endorsement with either the EAES or CHEA."