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How to Spot Online School Scams

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Online-based classes are very popular among people of all ages.

It is a great idea to improve your skill, develop your potential or get a degree online. However, according to ABC news, lots of schools that provide online degree programs are scams.

If you are considering pursuing a degree online, be sure to equip yourself with a few tips on how to spot online school scams, in order to avoid wasting your money and energy on a worthless degree.

Common Scams Targeting Online Learners

Scammers have a few common ways to entice online learners. They always offer lots of incredible benefits and promise to provide widely accepted degrees. It’s really important for you to understand the differences between scams and reliable online schools.

I. Diploma Mill & Degree Mill

Both diploma mill and degree mill are the most common online school scams. Those organizations will give you a degree once you have completed all the courses as required. However, these degrees are worthless and cannot lead you to a great job.

Diploma mill refers to a school or organization that furnishes counterfeit diploma. That means you don’t need to meet any of the enrollment, attendance and graduation requirements of a legitimate university, or take any of its courses, but you will get a degree which bears the name of the renowned university.

Degree mill means that learners can get an authentic degree through taking online courses. However, the degree is not accredited and provided by an illegitimate online university or college.

Diploma and degree mills understand that most online learners have a busy work schedule and cannot spend a lot of time taking required courses to obtain a real degree from a legitimate online school. As a result, those schools or organizations tend to use lower graduation requirements or less required courses and time to entice people to obtain a degree from them.

How to spot? Before enrolling in an online school, you have to pay close attention to the degree it offers. Make sure the school is accredited. Besides, if an online school allows you to get a BS, MA, MS or MBA degree in several months or even short period, the school must be a scam.

II. Fake Scholarship or Financial Assistance

Higher education always costs a lot. And there is no exception to online schooling. It can be great if you find an online school that can offer scholarships & grants which can cover a part of your education cost. However, you should be really careful.

Mostly, legitimate online schools do not offer scholarship. And if you need financial aid, you can try taking a student loan. Online school scammers might tell you that their scholarships are easy to qualify and might cover nearly half of your college expenses. However, they tend to charge various fees and may require you to pay for its student services.

How to spot? Whenever an online school promises to provide you with financial aid or scholarship, be sure to request more details. Simply ask them which department is in charge of student loans or scholarships, and then contact the department to see what kind of financial assistance they can give you. Plus, if there are too many extra fees involved, chances are the school is an illegitimate organization.

Warning Signs of Online School Scammers

Online school scammers are only interested in your money, but never consider providing you with quality education, degrees or certificates. They might be tricky, but it’s not difficult to spot them once you keep in mind the following warning signs.

Warning Sign 1: No Graduation Requirements

You know, both high schools and colleges require students to earn a certain amount of credits and complete all the required courses before graduation. To get an accredited degree online, you also need to meet some other graduation requirements.

So, when you check out the website of an online school, be sure to take a look at the attendance and graduation requirements. If there aren’t any regulations about taking courses, the school is definitely a scam.

Warning Sign 2: Bank Account Information Required

Most online schools encourage students to pay for their tuition and other fees with credit cards. But normally, you only need to provide your bank account number. If the school or scholarship sponsors require you to offer credit card details or personal information, it can be a scam. Be sure to respond them with a firm “no”.

Warning Sign 3: Quick and Cheap

If you are a high school student, cheap schools are available. Today, there are state-funded online high schools allowing you to get a high school diploma at no cost. However, most online high schools, just like traditional high schools, will require students to attend 6-7 semesters before graduation.

For those beginning with Grade 11 or 12, it’s necessary to successfully complete all the required courses and obtain a certain amount of credits. In some cases, you might also be required to take State Testing. If an organization allows you to obtain a high school diploma within a month, it’s likely to be a degree mill.

College students should also be aware of online programs that offer quick bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Chances are they are diploma mills. Affordable online degree programs might be available at times, but you still need to be careful. Before enrolling, contact the school to see if there are any additional fees involved. You have to understand that colleges are always expensive, no matter whether you are an on-campus or off-campus student.

There are many other ways to spot online school scams. Swindlers might ask you to pay your tuition on a per-degree basis, have no contact information published on their websites, claim that the school is established by a renowned university or offer a huge list of online degrees. If the online school of your choice falls into one of these cases, be careful to avoid being a victim of online school scams.

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