Vicky Phillips (educator)

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Vicky Phillips
Citizenship American
Occupation Education activism
Known for Founding

Vicky Phillips is the CEO of, an online consumer advocacy website for distance-education programs. In 2009 she infamously enrolled her dog Chester at Rochville University, which subsequently forwarded her an MBA in the name of her pet.

Early career[edit]

Vicky Phillips entered the field of distance-learning research in 1989 when there were only three schools in the US offering distance-learning degree programs[1] and has been a leading consumer advocate for students pursuing coursework online since the early 1990s.[2] She started the first American online counseling center for distance learners in 1990[3] and was the CEO of the Vermont adult education consulting firm Lifelong Learning.[4][edit]

She currently serves as CEO of,[5][6] which she founded to provide consumer information on online degree programs and seeks to undermine fradulent online educational organizations,[7] as well as serving as a consulting agency for distance educators.[8] It also serves as a ratings organization for online degree programs.[9] They also distribute free guidebooks on the best accredited online schools[10] and produce surveys on distance-education programs.[11] Phillips is also an expert on online educational fraud, involved in combating online diploma mills and individuals who use false degrees to get ahead in their careers.[12] In 2005 she warned that there were more fake online MBAs in the US market than real ones.[13]

Media and publishing[edit]

In addition to publishing, Phillips has been interviewed regarding current events related to online education by news organizations like Fox News Channel,[14] Time Magazine,[15] Wired Magazine,[16] the Los Angeles Times,[17] CBS,[18] and ABC News.[19] She is also the co-author of The Best Distance Learning Graduate Schools: Earning your Degree without Leaving Home[20] and Never Too Late to Learn: The Adult Student's Guide to College, both published by Random House.[21] She has also written essays for publications including and[3][22]


In 2009 Phillips created an experiment to see how lax the rules were regarding who can receive a degree from an online diploma mill. She enrolled her dog, Chester Ludlow, into an MBA program at the online Rochville University, by submitting a fake resume and a check for $499. Within three weeks the university sent a degree certificate and two sets of transcripts to Phillips in the dog's name.[23] The official graduation GPA for the dog was a 3.19.[24] Phillips stated that in response to the experiment, she has "had to deal with a lot of blowback, including personal threats" from the university involved.[25] Part of those attacks included two blog-sites assembled to decry Phillips and her business as harmful to students and having biased rankings. The sites were described as "laughably bad and hastily constructed" by John Hendel.[26]


  1. ^ Anne Fisher (September 18, 2003). "Will I End Up Getting Scammed If I Pursue An Online MBA?". CNN. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ Carol Frey (August 16, 2010). "Different Paths to a College Degree". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Vicky Phillips (January 20, 1998). "Education in the ether". Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ Robyn C. Clarke (April 1999). "Going the Distance". Black Enterprise. p. 116. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ann Quigley (May 2001). "Six degrees of separation". eLearn Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ Sue Shellenbarger (May 27, 2009). "Asking for Money Instead of Gifts". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ Anne Fisher (October 26, 2012). "Online degrees: Separating the solid from the flimsy". CNN. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Virtual Classroom Vs. The Real One". Forbes Magazine. September 11, 2000. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ Carol Lloyd (August 2, 2009). "Online education comes into its own". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  10. ^ Irene Chang (August–September 2008). "Online Ed Gets an A+". Working Mother. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Make Money Teaching Online: How to Land Your First Academic Job, Build Credibility, and Earn a Six-Figure Salary. John Wiley & Sons. 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ Ryan Singel (May 13, 2004). "U.S. Officials Sport Fake Degrees". Wired Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ Jeffrey Gangemi Dale Bolger (August 18, 2005). "Do Online MBAs Make the Grade?". BusinessWeek. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ Emily Driscoll (January 4, 2013). "Do You Have What it Takes to be an Online Student?". Fox News. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ Martha C. White (May 21, 2013). "The $7,000 Computer Science Degree — and the Future of Higher Education". Time Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ Ryan Singel (February 2, 2005). "Database Fights Diploma Mills". Wired Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ David Lazarus (November 2, 2010). "Getting an education in learning over the Internet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ David Wade (December 24, 2012). "Online College Courses Falling Short?". Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  19. ^ Ric Romero (January 14, 2013). "Taking online courses? You're missing out on college experience, experts say". ABC News. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  20. ^ Vicky Phillips and Cindy Yager (1998). The best distance learning graduate schools: earning your degree without leaving home. Random House. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  21. ^ Vicky Phillips (2000). Never Too Late to Learn: The Adult Student's Guide to College. Random House. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  22. ^ Vicky Phillips (May 5, 1999). "Internet changing economics of higher education". CNN. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  23. ^ Keagan Harsha (October 13, 2009). "Vermont Dog Earns College Degree". CBS. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  24. ^ Mark Ramirez (October 1, 2009). "Dog sniffs out diploma mills". Times Union. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  25. ^ John Hendel (June 28, 2011). "Can a dog still earn an MBA?". CNN. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 
  26. ^ John Hendel (June 27, 2011). "Inside an Online MBA Diploma Mill". Poets and Quants. Retrieved June 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]