|Motto||Redefine Your Future|
|Type||Online diploma mill|
Rochville University is an online diploma mill offering a "Life Experience Degree, and Certificate Program" without coursework or prior transcript evaluation. The State of Texas classifies it as an "illegal supplier of educational credentials" whose degrees may not be used in Texas. The Oregon Office of Degree Authorization lists it as "fake".[dead link] Its operation is believed to be centered in Pakistan, and its diplomas and degree certificates have been mailed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Along with many similar enterprises, it is owned by the Karachi based company, Axact, whose main business, according to a New York Times investigation, is "to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale".
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has indicated that Rochville, Belford University, and the agencies from which they claim accreditation, "appear to be operated by the same people". In 2012, a U.S. District Court ordered Belford University, Rochville University's sister operation, shut down and its founder pay $22.7 million in damages.
Rochville University has claimed to be accredited by various organizations, but none are recognized higher education accreditors. These have included the International Accreditation Agency for Online Universities (IAAOU), the Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation (UCOEA), the Board of Online Universities Accreditation (BOUA), and the World Online Education Accrediting Commission (WOEAC). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reported that Rochville University and the accreditation boards appeared to be operated by the same individuals. According to its website, the BOUA has accredited only one other institution, Ashwood University, which is believed to be Rochville University's sister operation.
Because Rochville University is not accredited by any recognized accreditation bodies in the United States, its degrees and credits are unlikely to be acceptable to employers or academic institutions. Jurisdictions that have restricted or made illegal the use of credentials from unaccredited schools include Oregon, Michigan, Maine, North Dakota, New Jersey, Washington,[dead link] Nevada,[dead link] Illinois,[dead link] Indiana,[dead link] and Texas. Many other states are also considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions.
Criticism and controversy
According to GetEducated.com, an online learning consumer group, Rochville University operates under various aliases, including affordabledegrees.com. An advertisement on affordabledegrees.com asks prospective students whether they "struggle in relationships, as 'she' thinks you don't have a promising future?" The advertisement then promises "an accredited degree on the basis of life experience you already have with no studies, no attendance, no waiting, and no examinations." The website claims that this degree can be obtained online "for as little as $399 and received in just 14 days!"
In 2009, GetEducated.com reportedly managed to purchase an online MBA for its mascot, a dog named Chester Ludlow. The news release indicates that $499 and a resume were submitted to Rochville in May and a week later the degree with a packet of corresponding paperwork arrived from Dubai showing that the dog graduated with a 3.19 G.P.A. In addition to the MBA diploma and transcripts, Chester received a "certificate of distinction in finance and a certificate of membership in the student council".
On 15 December 2005, CNN aired a report on diploma mills and terrorism. As part of its coverage, the network purchased a master's degree in chemistry from Rochville in the name of Abu Salsabil Hassan Omar, presumably an identity of their own creation. Attempts to find a physical presence for Rochville failed. CNN reported that its website was operated from Sarasota, Florida. The diploma received by the network was mailed from the United Arab Emirates.
There have also been concerns that some people may have used degrees obtained from Rochville and other online universities for fraudulent purposes. On 22 February 2007 Yorkshire police announced plans to re-investigate 700 court cases after the conviction of Gene Morrison, "a fraudster who conned the courts for three decades by posing as a forensic expert." Morrison was convicted of 22 counts involving his claimed education, including four counts of obtaining money by deception, seven counts of attempting to obtain property by deception, eight counts of perverting the course of justice or intending to pervert the course of justice, and three counts of perjury. The court ruled that his BSc degree in forensic science, a master's degree with excellence in forensic investigation and a doctorate in criminology from Rochville University in the United States were gained "not from years of study and learning, but from accessing a website, www.affordabledegrees.com, and paying a fee."
The Sacramento Bee reported that firefighters who had purchased degrees from diploma mills to get raises were having their raises revoked. Rochville University was listed as one of the institutions that had provided degrees. In Guam, a Rochville online degree was determined to be inadequate to meet the educational requirements for the position of chief of police.
Daily Tribune reported in March 2015 that a Singapore-based journalist, suspecting the university to be fake, enrolled his pet Chester into Rochville university and the dog was sent an MBA certificate within a couple of days from a Dubai address.
Connection with Belford University
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has indicated that Rochville, Belford University, and the agencies from which they claim accreditation, "appear to be operated by the same people". In August 2012, a U.S. District Court ordered Belford University, Rochville University's sister operation, shut down and its founder, Salem Kureshi, pay $22.7 million in damages. Court documents revealed that Belford University is run by 30-year-old Salem Kureshi from his apartment in Karachi, Pakistan. The court found that Kureshi "operates a sophisticated internet ripoff scheme through various websites, which falsely represent the existence of an accredited and legitimate high school, whose diplomas will be widely accepted by employers, professional associations, other schools, colleges and universities."
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- "Unaccredited Colleges". Oregon Office of Degree Authorization. 2012-10-05. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- Rogalski, Jeremy. "Alleged diploma mill program traced to Pakistan". KHOU 11 News I-Team. KHOU.com. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Dog Earns Online MBA, GetEducated.com, September 21, 2009
- Walsh, Declan (17 May 2015). "Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions". New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- Malisow, Craig, "First Degree Fraud Archived 2009-02-08 at the Wayback Machine.", Houston Press, July 20, 2006. Accessed August 17, 2006.
- The Googasian Firm, P.C. "Belford Class Action Lawsuit". Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "BOUA". Archived from the original on July 3, 2015.
- "Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization". Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization. Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
- State mulls online learning Archived January 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. by the Associated Press, Billings Gazette, January 30, 2005
- Colleges and Universities not accredited by CHEA Archived June 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., Michigan Education and Children's Services
- Accredited and Non-Accredited Colleges and Universities, "Maine's List of Non-Accredited Post-Secondary Schools"
- Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board Archived January 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., Washington Consumer Information
- Use of False or Misleading Degrees Nevada statute NRS 394.700
- Two less doctors in the house - Hebert, Wilson back away from Ph.D.'s issued by ‘diploma mills', by Stephen Palkot, Fort Bend Herald, September 28, 2007
- "Is Oregon the only state that disallows use of unaccredited degrees?". Oregon Office of Degree Authorization. 2012-08-30. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2008.
- Willson, Nicole. "Online Diploma Mills: Don't Be Fooled". Top MBA Connect. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- Diploma Mills: Purchase Fake Credentials, by Kim Rahn, The Korea Times, August 22, 2007
- Officer has to pay back raise after degree-mill probe, by Aisling Swift, Naples Daily News, May 21, 2006
- ‘Diploma mill’ suit settled by boro, cop Archived October 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. by John Dunphy, East Brunswick Sentinel Suburban, 5 May 2005
- Malisow, Craig. "First-Degree Fraud". The Houston Press. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- LAWSON, JESSICA. "Diploma mills: How to sniff out a scam". Military Times. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- , GetEducated.com, June 9, 2001
- , AffordableDegrees.com, June 9, 2011
- Chronicle.com, Unmuzzling Diploma Mills: Dog Earns M.B.A. Online, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2009
- "CNN.com - Transcripts". Retrieved 4 June 2016.
- "700 court cases thrown into doubt by fraudster". Yorkshire Post. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- Robert Lewis, The Public Eye: 'Diploma mill' degrees for firefighters cost city $50,000, grand jury says Archived 2009-10-19 at the Wayback Machine., Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2009
- Steve Limtiaco, Palacios: Scrutinize GPD applicants[permanent dead link], Pacific Daily News, June 16, 2010
- "Even canines can get degrees!". Daily Tribune. 8 March 2015.
- "McCluskey v. Belford University" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "McCluskey v. Belford University" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Rochville University - official site