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Is That Online Degree a Scam? Find out with these tips!

The horror stores go on and on – students pay thousands of dollars and lots of their precious time and then one day BOOM – the online school goes silent and along with it goes the credit hours they thought they had built, along with the tuition money they had in good faith paid, all for an online degree that they would never get. While getting an online degree can be a valid and great option, especially in the ever-expanding online world, doing the homework prior to getting assigned homework is crucial when deciding which program is best and legitimate, for you. We are going to spell out a few hacks to keep you from getting schooled to going to school!

Some things really are too good to be true.

Does the online college you are looking into seem exceedingly easier than other online programs offering the same degree? You may have just spotted your first red flag. While having a military or workforce background CAN help accelerate your degree, being told you are given it on the front end with no exam or credential portfolio is exactly what we are talking about – too good to be true. If the school claims this with no recognition from the Counsel for Adult and Experiential Learning, an organization that assists legitimate colleges in setting up the guidelines for this, chances are, that degree you may or may not get from this college, won’t be recognized either.

No “.edu” – Fact check that address quick.

While it is plausible that some colleges offering online degrees may not have a web address ending in such, most of them do and other domains, should prompt you to do a bit more sleuthing. On top of a thorough website review, try googling the physical address of the college. If you come up with an empty farm field or a private residence, the chance that your tuition is being paid to a person as opposed to a legitimate online institution is highly probable.

Feel like you are about to be sold as opposed to being schooled?

If the “advisor” sounds more like a car salesman than an educator, you may be on the verge of a scam, especially if they offer unrealistic tuition provisions if you “pay now” or offer a generous down payment from your credit card or bank account up front. If that is the main requirement for acceptance into the program, then there is a good chance the pay day they are worrying about helping you accomplish is on their end only.

Harvard Law(e)?

One of the biggest giveaways in online degree scams are in the most basic thing – the name of the college. Many of these scam schools will take a prestigious academy that is well known and create an offset – whether by spelling or program facet they are offering, and gain trust simply by the reputation of the real, accredited university, even though they have no affiliation. Looking at the staff names and doing a little research on them as well, can also save you from double duty degree work down the line.