How To Know if a University is Accredited (New in the Glossary of Confusing Words)

dictionary and thesaurusToday we have a very important addition to the Glossary of Confusing Words.  If you’re applying to study in the U.S., you need to understand what it means for a college or university to be accredited, and how to know for sure that the schools you’re looking at have valid accreditation.

Accreditation (or Accredited)

The general definition of accredited is: to be officially authorized or approved.  The term is most commonly used in connection with educational institutions.

As in other countries, accreditation in the U.S. is a stamp that a college or university meets basic standards. Unlike other countries, the U.S. federal government does not accredit schools.  Instead, accreditation is handled by a wide range of other organizations.

However, the U.S. Department of Education does recognize organizations it considers to be valid accrediting agencies.  Another group, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), also recognizes accrediting agencies.

So, an accredited school is generally considered to be a school accredited through a group that is recognized by the Department of Education, CHEA, or both.

So, how do you know if the school you’re looking into is properly accredited?

1) They’re a well-known college or university, are listed in a respected ranking like the U.S. News and World Report ranking of best colleges, or were recommended to you by EducationUSA

You don’t have to worry about these schools.  Most major colleges and universities in the U.S. are properly accredited, and EducationUSA only works with students who are applying to accredited schools.

The issue of valid accreditation comes up mainly with professional or vocational schools, schools with a significant online component, and for-profit universities.  CHEA has a list of questions you should ask about a school to help determine if you need to look further into its accreditation status.

2) They have a .edu web address

As of a few years ago, .edu addresses are only provided to colleges and institutions that are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (you might remember the infamous Tri Valley University … their website was

The .edu address is not a 100% guarantee, as any institution that launched a website before these requirements went into effect might still be using an old .edu address.  But the website address is definitely an easy indicator you can look at.

3) They are accredited by one of the 6 regional accrediting agencies (and their various subdivisions) OR by another accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or CHEA

Most standard, full-service colleges and universities will be accredited by one of 6 regional accrediting agencies. All of these regional accreditors are recognized by both the Department of Education and CHEA. They are:

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

There are also a number of national accrediting agencies, and specialized accrediting agencies will often accredit specific programs within universities, professional or vocational schools, and other specialized institutions.

CHEA has a list of all recognized accrediting agencies as of May 2011, which includes all agencies recognized by CHEA, the Department of Education or both. And the Department of Education also has a list of the agencies it has approved.

Wikipedia also has a handy list of unrecognized accreditation organizations (that is, agencies that are not considered legitimate accreditation authorities).  Since it’s Wikipedia, you should always double check against the official Department of Education or CHEA list.  But if nothing else, the Wikipedia list shows how these fraudulent or invalid accrediting groups have names that sound just as legitimate as real accreditors.

Both CHEA and the Department of Education also have searchable databases of accredited colleges and universities.

FYI: A school that is approved by SEVP to enroll international students is not necessarily accredited.  Accreditation is not a requirement for a school to issue you an I-20, nor must you be attending an accredited school in order to receive a student visa (although it probably helps).

Thanks for all your word submissions so far! Coming soon: a Glossary post on word pairs, and some more slang. Don’t forget to check the Glossary of Confusing Words to see more confusing words you may encounter as you apply to study in the U.S. And keep the submissions coming by suggesting a word in the comments or by using the form below.


    1. You keep asking the same thing, but in a different way: Selim, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a reputable university to give a degree entirely based on “life experience.” There are always some courses a student must take, and all accredited schools require this. Yes, there may be SOME credit given for “life experience,” but an entire degree for only life experience is not anything I have ever encountered from a reputable university. I know you want a degree, but you seem eager to find a short-cut, and sadly, there really aren’t any. To attend a good school, one with national accreditation, you need a certain level of proficiency in English, good test scores (whatever tests they require), and success in previous education, such as other courses you may have taken. There are some wonderful online universities with strong reputations that are accredited by NCA and CHEA; but if you study at a fake university, you will just be wasting your money and your degree with not be accepted by many employers or by other schools.

    1. First, keep in mind that ANYONE can create a beautiful website, so having a nice website is no guarantee of anything. The American Intercontinental University is actually an interesting story– they were NOT accredited for a while, and there were a number of complaints about this university. However, by 2013, the administration seems to have addressed or fixed most of the problems; and now, I note that they have received regional accreditation from the agency I respect the most, the North Central Association. But… NCA gave them PROVISIONAL accreditation– and only for their US offices– not for the London branch of their school, which I believe is being sold to another company. So, this may be a school you want to be cautious about. It seems as if it is on the path to getting fully accredited, but I am not certain whether it has entirely satisfied NCA’s criteria. Still, the fact that NCA lists the school as accredited in 19 states is a good sign.

      1. Hi Donna,

        So it’s safe to apply for immigrant visa of USA with AIU degree???

        And what about Fargo University (

        Many thanks for the information.

        1. First, Fargo University seems unreliable to me. They make big promises without actual results: for example, they claim to offer a master’s degree in three months. This is impossible, and no actual university with national accreditation would claim such a thing. I wonder if they are owned by the same guy from Pakistan that owns some of the other fake universities you asked about, because they use the same important-sounding accreditation agencies, and say almost the same things about their school as the other fake universities do. For me, the tip-off is that the two biggest and most reliable agencies that accredit online universities (NCA and CHEA) do not list this school at all. These kinds of “diploma mills” seem to fool a lot of international students– don’t be one of them.

    1. Once again, I see a lovely website (anyone can do a lovely website) with some claims of accreditation. BUT once again, the two best and most reputable agencies that supervise and oversee the quality of an online university do NOT list this school as accredited, which means other colleges and many employers might not accept the courses you take there. Yes, as unaccredited schools often do, Bakerville claims a bunch of different agencies with very important-sounding names that they say have given their school a top rating; but these agencies lack the international respect of NCA and CHEA (the two that I always search first). I am told that Bakerville is part of a group of fake schools operated by a guy from Pakistan. (No offense is intended to Pakistan, which has some very good and very reputable schools.) Bottom line, I am not sure about Bakerville: it seems to have all the indications of a scam.

      1. Thank you for your detailed answer.
        I would like you to advise the recommended and accredited online universities which shouldn’t be expensive and normal people can easily afford their education.

        thank you

        P.S. I don’t think so that these ‘so called’ fake UNI’a owners are in/from Pakistan. The people called us always having USA numbers and they speak good English with an American accent. They are definitely from US. Strange that till now no one has caught them in US and they are still advertising themselves through various social media

        1. Abdul, thank you for giving me a chance to clarify something: as I said in an earlier reply about one of the fake schools this person owns, “…I am told that Bakerville is part of a group of fake schools operated by a guy from Pakistan. (No offense is intended to Pakistan, which has some very good and very reputable schools.)” The Pakistani gentleman in question is from Karachi, and he has been the subject of several investigative reports; he has lost a couple of lawsuits when former students sued because they did not receive an accredited degree. Here is a link to one article about this situation:

          But these diploma mills persist and they are very elegantly presented, so they continue to fool people; the person in question owns a number of fake schools, all of which work with him and have American affiliates, so yes, if you contact them, you will get an American speaker with offices in America. But once again, this is NOT any insult to Pakistan (where several of my friends live), nor is it an indictment of all online schools. If you look on the CHEA website or the NCA website, you will find many reputable and accredited schools. I hope that I in no way seemed to be slandering your country. There are good and sincere educators in every country, but there are also a few “bad apples” as well.

    1. Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t true. This college claims to offer an accredited degree for $400 based on your “life experiences.” NO reputable college would offer such a thing. Further, the two most reliable agencies that accredit universities, NCA and CHEA, do not list the school. Concordia has an agency of its own that it claims has offered it accreditation, but if the two best-known and most widely recognized organizations don’t have faith in your school, that should set off alarm bells. I don’t know anyone at Concordia College in Delaware, but the fax machine they list to send your credentials is not even in Delaware– it’s in Washington State, hundreds of miles away. T sum up, I see little evidence this is an actual college whose credits would be accepted by other colleges. Thus, it looks to me like this school is a scam.

    2. Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t true. This college claims to offer an accredited degree for $400 based on your “life experiences.” NO reputable college would offer such a thing. Further, the two most reliable agencies that accredit universities, NCA and CHEA, do not list the school. Concordia has an agency of its own that it claims has offered it accreditation, but if the two best-known and most widely recognized organizations don’t have faith in your school, that should set off alarm bells. I don’t know anyone at Concordia College in Delaware, but the fax machine they list to send your credentials is not even in Delaware– it’s in Washington State, hundreds of miles away. To sum up, I see little evidence this is an actual college whose credits would be accepted by other colleges. Thus, it looks to me like this school is a scam.

  1. Hi Donna,

    I found one of university college at Delaware, USA name Concordia College & University of Delaware, who are awarding degrees based on work experience. Could you please let me know about their validity and legality?

    There web address was

    Thanks in advance


    1. No, it is not. These kinds of schools are generally considered pseudo-science, and as a result, most of the major accrediting agencies like NCA and CHEA do not recognize their courses. As a result, these schools have developed their own accrediting agencies, and perhaps within the field of chiropractic, or within the area of so-called “natural medicine,” the courses might be accepted. However, if you are planning on a career in medicine, few established universities will accept these kinds of courses, since there is no scientific evidence that “natural medicine” or “functional medicine” really works. (By the way, if you are a believer in “natural” medicine, I do not in any way mean to insult you or question your beliefs. I am simply saying that few colleges or universities, and even fewer accrediting agencies, will accept the credits from this school.)

  2. Dear All,
    please be careful as already enrolled by self to hillford university and they passed me for graduation also they ask me for 1500$ and during the call they deducted this amount from my credit card…….

    Be careful to enter the credit card detail on any website…..


  3. hello guys by reading these forum i verified that the university that i enrolled is a fake!! the name of the school is Hillford University.. i just paid an amount of $200 he told me that i passed the evaluation interview and he granted me a diploma after that he asking me again 3,300 US Dollar for legalization i want to quit now..

    1. I don’t see any evidence that they are accredited. In fact, the school’s website admits the school is not accredited, but seems to assert that such accreditation is not really necessary. But that may be a problem if you want your degree recognized or taken seriously. I am also concerned because their website makes unsupported and unfounded claims that they can cure cancer, and cure other diseases through “natural medicine.” While I don’t want to get into a debate with those who believe in natural medicine, such promises of miracle cures make me suspicious. I agree this school is new: it seems to have been founded by some gentlemen from Serbia, and much of the website is unfinished, or in the Serbian language, making it difficult to determine whether the school is in fact a stable and reliable entity. That said, there are some accredited schools that offer holistic courses; but this school is not one of them.

      1. Dear Donna,

        I have read all your replies in detail to the other guys questions and got impressed to share about my enrolement with MAYFILED UNIVERSITY.

        My name is Zafar, working in Dubai from past 7 years, my prevouse qualification is but releazied to improve my qualification for the better position but becuase of financial problem i was not able to get addmission in any University at regular base in here while its so much expensive.

        So one of my friend advised me to enrolled for MBA with the university mentioned above while she was doing her master digree with cheaper fees,like almost 80 % discount..(2,000 USD) for the total course. further, I enrolled 6 months back and paid 1700 usd becuase they told its campus base university and accredited by AAC and CHEA etc etc..So i have completed recently my MBA in accounting and received degree by courier and now they demanded for 1800 USD more for the legalization from AAC ,US education dept and UAE Embassy attestation otherwise they will be not resposible if not accepted the digree anywhere.

        I felt uncomfortabilty since i enrolled but please advise me to go ahead with them for further payments of legalization ? is it accredited university ?????????

        please need your advise.


        1. Based on what I know from being a professor at several universities, YOU do not pay for a school’s accreditation. Either it is accredited, or it is not. You might have to pay for an exam like a national teacher test, or to get a professional license like becoming a lawyer. But I would be very suspicious if a school tells you that you must pay money or they won’t be accredited. That is nonsense. Schools that are accredited by the US Dept of Education or CHEA or NCA have passed a strict evaluation process from those agencies. It has nothing to do with students paying extra money; it has to do with whether the school meets certain standards. I think you are being tricked. If I were you, I would have an attorney discuss with the school whether they are actually accredited, and if so, they must provide documentation.

  4. Dear Donna.
    I am very happy to have found you and the wide knowledge and skill you possess. My sister is presently enrolled in univerity of north america, virginia. She is here on a F1 visa to be expired in 2018…she has a balance wuth the school of 1800 . Recently it was realised that we would have to relocate and as such we enquired of a popular univ in florida. It was then that the school stated transfers from other school must be research has led me to a few stories that basically operate as a big money svheme and similarities are lrecruit from india..many students ..she said the whole school is from india.china r this school accredited for real..does she have an obligation to pay balance seeung that the y r not accredited..she has paid over $10000 usd. will this affect her f1 or cpt eligiblity for the university in florida…thank you

    uona is

    1. I hate to disappoint you, but this situation may be beyond my expertise. This seems like a case of fraud. Your sister was misled and misinformed. I think you need to consult an attorney about this situation. If the school took her money under false pretenses, that may not be legal. Please talk to a good lawyer and discuss your options. He or she will be better able to advise you about whether you are obligated to pay anything. Also, I don’t think it should affect her eligibility if she had no idea she was being tricked. But again, it’s not up to me– I am not certain what the laws are, which is why an attorney with experience in such matters would be better able to help you. I am so sorry this happened to her, and I wish you luck in getting it resolved!

  5. Hello ..
    Can anyone give me some good advise about the maharishi university near chicago. I want to do my masters in computer science. Is that university accredited? I would appreciate your suggestions. Thank you 🙂

  6. Dear Sir/Mam,
    I have been receiving calls from Steaford /Richmond/corllins & Ashley university. I now this has been discussed a lot here. But I am working in middle east. All of these universities have told me that they would legalize the documents and get it attested by the embassy whether it is Qatar embassy or oman or Bahrain.

    my questions is if they are fake then how come the embassy or the us state is attesting it
    secondly this degree they say they will send the first set within 10 days and the attested n legalized degree they will send after 30 to 45 days since the attestation will take some time

    I dotn want this degree for any job in the usa I just want to use this degree for just chaning my visa status in middle east. So I wanted to know if they are giving us this legalized degree as claimed will it be an issue when I submit it these documents

    1. Is the embassy saying they will do this, or is it the school making the claim? These fake schools make all kinds of claims, but that doesn’t mean they are telling the truth. Further, the embassy may not realize they are dealing with a fake school, or in some cases, sad to say, the embassy may have a corrupt official who claims he or she will “take care of it.” That is why most companies rely on reputable accrediting agencies– not local embassies– when evaluating a student’s transcripts. Even if you are not working in the US, a fake school will not give you legitimate credits that will help you advance in your profession.

  7. Hi Vinod, and forgive the slow reply. If I were you, I would check the University of New South Wales. They have undergraduate programs in aviation, and are well-respected for that specialty. I know you want a Master’s, but since aviation is their area of expertise, and since they have campuses in Sidney and other cities in Australia, they might have some useful suggestions for you. Here’s their link:

  8. Hello Donna,
    I had completed by Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce back in 2005 and have been working with Airport Operations since then. I would like to enroll for Masters in Aviation Management and planning to migrate to Australia in the near future. I would like to have some guidance on universities in AUS that could perhaps facilitate enrolment with PLA(or similar) program. I know that you have reiterated several times that any enquiries related to universities outside US would be beyond your area of expertise, however, wanted to seek your guidance or perhaps if you could redirect accordingly.
    Thanking in advance.

    Best Regards,

  9. Hi Donna .
    Thanks alot for your replay ,regarding Wolverhampton it is approved from British council is that sounds good and enough …plus the most important question should it be accredited for online and distance learning … or one accreditation for the whole school make all its types of courses approved too ..

    Thanks alot

    1. Since I am American, rather than British, I only know the rules about accreditation in the US. But since Wolverhampton is a well-known school that is considered reputable in England, you should have no problem e-mailing them to ask about their online programs. I would imagine that if the school itself is accredited and reputable, the online courses would be accredited too, since they are usually developed by the same people as those who develop the on-campus programs. Good luck with your studies.

  10. Hi,
    I am residing in UAE & just got off a 40 min call from a councilor from Ashley University. Their link pulled up on my Linked in account. It sounded so genuine & the website is quite impressive.
    But my first reaction was “this is too good to be true”. To get an experience degree and at that rate.
    I couldn’t find Ashley university on the Diploma Mill Police link. But their website shows accredited to ACDLI (Accreditation Council for Distance Learning Institutes), AAC (Arab Accreditation Council), GABDL (Global Accreditation Board for Distance Learning), IABETE (International Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Education) as well as AABSP (Association for Accreditation of Business Schools and Programs). Please advise if these are fake.

    1. Your reaction that “it sounds too good to be true” is correct. It IS too good to be true. In fact, we’ve discussed Ashley before. Unless something has changed, they are fake. The accrediting agencies they claim to have may indeed be real, but those groups are generally not considered authoritative by most universities. I am more concerned by who they DON’T have: they are not recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), nor by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools– these are the authorities in deciding whether a university is real or not. Any university can create official-sounding names of agencies they claim are giving them recognition. Any university can create a beautiful website and put out lovely publicity. But when the official agencies that oversee which universities are acceptable and which are not fail to include Ashley, that means Ashley doesn’t measure up.

      Also, according to newspaper articles I have read about these “fake” colleges, they like to heavily recruit students from the middle east, and they make big promises to these students. But the “degrees” are not recognized by anyone in the US or Great Britain. Save your time and money and seek out universities accredited by CHEA and by the NCA. I enclose the NCA website: if they recognize a school, that means it is very reputable and the credits will generally transfer to other universities.

  11. Dear Donaa,
    First of all I would like to thank you for your efforts and dedication to answer people and help them although you are busy enough …:-) second I was so sad to discover that names like ashely .hadly or stafford is not accredited or fake 🙁
    That leave me only one option although it may be out of your scope as its in UK ( university of Wolverhampton ) ..actually there is a school in dubai called westford school of management providing an online MBA from wolverhapmtion and I would really appreciate your support to guide me before I get involved with them … they are my last option here 🙁

    Thanks a million

  12. I would strongly doubt it. In America, schools of alternative and naturopathic medicine are rarely accredited, since their curriculum relies a lot on pseudo-science and unproven techniques, along with a lot of belief. Nothing wrong with believing that some particular alternative method works, but the people that accredit the colleges tend to prefer something more than just belief: they want courses that have some scientific background and a demonstrated track record of peer-reviewed evidence. For example, chiropractors have gotten some new respect for their profession after it was shown in neutral and objective tests that this treatment can be beneficial for some low back pain and conditions like sciatica. But chiropractic care cannot cure the flu or cure cancer, no matter what anyone might believe.

    That said, there are a number of accredited colleges in the US and Canada that offer a combination of courses in alternative and traditional medicine, with a focus on science and various kinds of proven therapies. Based on what I have read about that school you named, I very much doubt their curriculum would pass that accreditation test, nor would you find them on the list of approved schools from agencies like NCA or CHEA.

  13. And any “college” that says they will give you a degree 100% based on work experience is a fake. There are national requirements for degrees, and all of them include some course work. Vocational schools are different– if you are a plumber or a carpenter, your work experience may factor into your certificate. But universities require BOTH courses and PLA (Prior Learning Experiences).

  14. They look fake to me. They are not accredited by any reputable agencies like CHEA or NCA; they have a beautiful website that makes lots of claims, but there are no sites other than their own (and their publicity pages) that say anything about them. These are usually two signs of a fake– a site that gives itself lots of publicity (but nobody else does), and a site that names an official-sounding accrediting agency that is NOT considered reliable by most American universities. I would not trust this university, as its credits might not be accepted by employers or by other universities.

  15. Hello Everyone…

    can any one tell me about the (Madison Hills University) from USA whether it is real or fake??????


  16. Good day! I am working in an international education agency. I would like to ask if anyone of you know about Technic Campus International in Malaysia? Is it accredited by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education? I have been browsing over their website (Government) but I cannot see the right answer. Please help. Thank you!

  17. Actually i am working in dubai since 7 years in oil & gas industry and am from India. and having more than 10 years of experience in the particular field. My academic qualification is diploma In Mechanical engineering, if there is any possible I would like to approach a degree from my past life experience into credit hours to a good accrediting agency to get my bachelor degree in mechanical engineering?

    Thanks & Regards,

    1. Jay, if you want to be an engineer, there are many wonderful schools that are reputable and specialize in your subject area. I don’t think any of the really accredited and well-known online schools focus on engineering– most focus on business or education or IT. What is stopping you from enrolling in an actual brick-and-mortar university? It won’t be any more expensive in most cases than some of the online universities.

        1. I wish you well, Jay. Make a plan, find a good school, take some courses, and let me know when you are ready to graduate, so I can be very proud of your achievements! There are no shortcuts to getting a college degree– for example, it took me 9 years of part-time study before I finally received my PhD (I worked full-time days as an instructor and a tutor, and also taught at night in exchange for courses that went towards the doctoral degree); I was able to achieve my goal by having a plan and finding a reputable school that was willing to give me a chance. Many online sites will offer you magic and false hope, but they won’t get you where you want to go. You are better off enrolling, even part-time, in an actual university in Dubai (since that is where you are working), and building the foundation that will lead to the degree you want. Good luck!

          1. Donna- I agree what you said, thanks to make me more confident than before, Actually I don’t even have time to think about my graduation before because i too busy with my work and technical studies, and now i feel that so many offers got missed that the reason I don’t have graduation. that’s why I confused and looking for a degree from a accrediting agency, i will be in touch with you and its a great feeling that someone (you) is to interested to make my goal success, I personally thanking you and i promise that i will inform you after i got graduation


          2. Hi Donna,

            I found American Intercontinental University, Almeda University who are giving Bachelor Degree according to working experience. Just need to send money for certifications documents. What do you think about them?

  18. Thanks donna,

    i am very clear now,can you suggest me if i would like to approch a degree from my past life experience into credit hours,which accrediting aganecy is good?


    1. Jay, I don’t know what country you are in, whether you have any college credits yet, or what occupation you want to pursue. I also don’t know what your ultimate plan is– do you want to study in the US, for example. Obviously, without this information, I cannot make any suggestions that will help you. (Also, I hesitate to recommend universities for people, especially when I am not sure what their budget is.) But I am willing to try to give you some further advice and at least lead you in the right direction.

      1. Actually i am working in dubai since 7 years in oil & gas industry and am from India. and having more than 10 years of experience in the particular field. My academic qualification is diploma In Mechanical engineering, if there is any possible I would like to approach a degree from my past life experience into credit hours to a good accrediting agency to get my bachelor degree in mechanical engineering?

        Thanks & Regards,

    1. Jay – from the Ashley University website, they say: “Ashley University is accredited by renowned accrediting bodies such as ACDLI (Accreditation Council for Distance Learning Institutes), AAC (Arab Accreditation Council), GABDL (Global Accreditation Board for Distance Learning), IABETE (International Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Education) as well as AABSP (Association for Accreditation of Business Schools and Programs).”

    2. Any university can create a beautiful website, claim lots of accrediting agencies, and even provide impressive names. But not all accrediting agencies are created equal. I am not accusing Ashley University of being a scam, but I do not find them in the places where I need to find them: the US Department of Education, the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, etc. Those are crucial agencies in the US, and they do not seem to regard Ashley as up to their standards for accreditation. I also do not find Ashley on the North Central Association of Higher Learning… the fact the school is not listed by any of the major accrediting agencies tells me their credits might not be acceptable.

      1. Doug Bernard / Donna,

        Thanks for you comments, and i have one more doubt that,

        How accrediting agencies are giving degree certificates with out attened the course and only they know our working experience, is it possible?, and they are saying that the degree will be Legalized by the Foreign Ministry and the Embassy to ensure acceptance in both Private and Government sectors for educational and professional use where future Credential Verification Services will be done from the University.

        i got this information from one of the accrediting agencies:

        (I would also like to explain you about how we transform your Past Experience in to College Credits.This program is more often known as Prior Learning Assessment.

        Prior Learning Assessment Program is a program designed for people who have shown excellence in their field of work with outstanding skills, intellect and knowledge. Under the PLA Program at the University individuals are awarded with academic credentials based upon their professional profile. A PLA degree based on prior life experiences /or achievements of an individual accomplished outside the traditional academic environment training programs and workshops serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open source course-ware.

        What we do is we take down your life experience, that is your working experience and your past educational qualification, convert them into credit hours, if these credit hours are equivalent to the credit hours that are require to complete your desired degree then you qualify and we award the degrees accordingly, if you are successfully evaluated we start with the registration process registering you and your documents with the university and the Accreditation bodies and after that we make sure that the documents are shipped out to you in the next 10 working days. This means you do not have to sit for any course”s classes, test or examinations with the university! The degree shall be awarded to you on the basis of your working experience and the learning”s in life that you have.

        Experience means that you can get a degree based on all your previous education and working history. All you would have to do is submit a resume along with any qualification copies you might have that is basically evaluated under a strict system which would determine if you can get a degree based on your experience without any further studies.

        We Evaluate your Prior learning regardless of gender, demographics and geographical boundaries; we award a degree to those individuals who have shown excellence in their field of work)

        Can you clarify this kind of certificates we can use for future education?


        1. Jay, the part of this e-mail that is true is the part about PLA (Prior Learning Assessment). Many universities, including the one where I teach, use this tool to help translate past work experiences into credits for adults who are returning to school. I have been on committees where we assessed an adult learner’s prior experiences to see if they could be turned into credits: for example, if the person worked in a certain occupation for many years, he or she might not need to take our introductory course because that course had already been fulfilled by the person’s years of experience. BUT, at most reputable universities, there are only a certain number of courses that can be waived thanks to PLA. It’s not a substitute for getting a degree; it’s just one small part that is used to help returning (usually older) students. My husband had worked in business for many years and when he went back to get his college degree, the university where he applied gave him tests to see if he already mastered the materials from the introductory courses, thanks to his experience. He had, so they waived those 3 courses. But he still had to take other courses to complete his degree.

          But the other message– the claim that “once you take our courses, we will fix the fact that various agencies don’t accredit us,” or, “once you take our courses, the embassy will fix things for you”– both tend to be false. Either the school is already accredited, or it isn’t. An embassy or your country’s government may tell you it’s all good, but the key is whether the major US agencies accept those credits. If they do not (and the same is true for England and several other countries), your credits will generally not transfer into what you need to work in that country or attend graduate school there. As for how some of these schools manage to fool various countries or get them to give accreditation, each country is different and some are less aware than others about international standards. And sadly, some are just corrupt and all they want is your money. Seek out schools with the highest and most reputable level of accreditation, because embassies and government ministries cannot magically turn unaccredited degrees into something accepted by the major accreditation agencies.

    1. We’ve been asked about this one before, and as far as I can tell, they are not accredited by anyone reputable, so yes I would avoid them.

    1. Selim,

      I am also searching for it. But most of the reliable universities are very expensive, and out of our ability.

      however, if you are interested, we can search together.




      Plz help us to find some affordable in cost and reliable online degrees, and/or universities; specially for my case, in the field of Information Technology.

      Thanks a lot in advance 🙂

        1. From what I have read, the 2U company (formerly 2Tor) is a new online partnership which makes courses available from a number of different colleges. It is supposed to be very expensive, but since it is fairly new, there are not many reviews about it yet.

  19. On the move to bridge my RN to BSN i found Southwest Kingstone University there web site is, they are new online university and has no accreditation but they say Louisiana State board has given them permission. In case if I go with them I am eligible for credit transfer into any accredited(CCNE) college?. All other universities charge very high fee and in if low then they take only US citizens or Green card holders. Someone pls. advice. I am in Middle east with current US RN License and 3 years Associated Nursing Degree.

    1. Often, you get what you pay for. “Diploma mills” offer degrees for a low price, but nobody accepts their credits, and they make money from the fees that unsuspecting students like you pay them. I see no evidence that this school is accredited with anyone reliable. And the two people listed as president and vice president own various other businesses, some of which do not have good ratings. I would avoid this school.

  20. And since somebody else asked about it, Woodfield University is also a scam. It is a diploma mill. Be suspicious whenever you see some school offering a Bachelor’s or Master’s or PhD and claiming you only have to take a test in order to receive the degree. Nobody takes such degrees seriously.

    1. As I’ve said elsewhere, since most traditional accrediting agencies regard many of the courses at these schools as pseudo-science (false or unreliable, based on belief rather than on fact), these schools would not be accredited by NCA nor by other similar organizations. What these kinds of schools tend to do, in order to look more rigorous and scholarly, is to create a lot of organizations that they claim have accredited them, or fill their website with authoritative-sounding initials. In some cases, the organization is real: ODLQC, for example. But the schools that seek such certification are generally not of the caliber of a 2 year or 4 year university.

      The issue is not whether the school you are asking about is or is not a scam– I am not qualified to make that judgment. The issue is whether the courses will transfer or be accepted by other schools; will these courses be taken seriously by the majority of colleges where health studies are taught. In most cases, the answer is “no,” they will not be recognized by the vast majority of colleges and universities. But that said, if this type of course-work is something you believe in, and if you are eager to take these courses, whether they are accredited or not, you should certainly pursue them and find out if the courses offered at this school will benefit you in your work.

  21. Greetings,
    Though i am taking a liberty to ask a bit different question, but surely its answer would be a decision making factor for me.
    I have locked on two reputed online universities i. e American Military University (USA) and Royal Roads University (Canada). Subject of interest is disaster and emergency mgmt. Moreover i shall be moving to Canada as an immigrant in couple of months.
    Which university would be better to opt for ? In terms of repute, standing and of ourse from job perspective locally and globally ?

    Favorable reply is solicited plz

    Major (r) Khurram

    1. I think you answered your own question. If you are moving to Canada, you might be better off to study at the Canadian university, which will give you information that is very relevant to your new country. While the US and Canada have much in common, the structure of their government is different, as are their laws and their legal systems. So, it would undoubtedly be more useful to you if you learned the Canadian system, since you plan to live under that system. That said, I cannot recommend which school is the best, since both are accredited and both are respectable. Choose the one that suits your needs and helps you to achieve your goals. My best wishes to you!

      Donna L. Halper, PhD
      Assoc. Professor of Communication
      Lesley University, Cambridge MA USA

      1. Hello

        Dear Prof. Donna,

        They said, its a non-profit tuition-free online university ( accrediated) to educate the less-privileged around the world.. they do not take any school/book or lecture material fee… and, graduated students can progress to further their studies on higher education or apply for employment on job opportunities.

        Its really heartbreaking to hear this is not accrediated after that.

        However, Can you pls kindly let me know some such kind of university, for Business graduation?

        I would be grateful to you.

        Advance Thanks & Regards,
        Akash, Bangladesh.

  22. Regarding Nixon University, another school with a lovely website and lots of names of agencies that it claims have accredited it, I am not saying it is a scam, but I’m always suspicious when the NCA doesn’t accredit it and the US Department of Education doesn’t either.

  23. You may want to look into this one: the American College of Healthcare Sciences. While it is not accredited by NCA (probably because it offers so many courses that are considered pseudo-science by some of us), it does seem to be a school with a good reputation, and it is accredited in the state of Oregon (where it is located), and accredited by the DETC, which seems to have a credible track record with some American governmental agencies, including the US Dept. of Education (although NCA is the better of the two). Anyway, judge for yourself. Here is more information about the American College of Healthcare Sciences.

  24. Thanks for your response and advice Donna.
    I run my own health food store and is seeking some kind of certification where I can attain reliable information to pass on to my customers.
    It has to be an online course /distance learning where I can study on my own time.

  25. No, it is not. Few hospitals, colleges or universities recognize “natural health” schools, and this one is a scam too (a fake). It is not accredited by any reputable agency, and the courses it offers are pseudo-science, not actual science. These courses would not help you to get a job nor help you to be taken seriously as a medical professional. There are accredited schools that offer real medical courses, and yes some very reputable schools offer courses in holistic medicine– but these courses are offered along with courses in actual science and courses in evidence-based medicine.

    Now, when you say you want a “holistic health” degree, please tell me more about your career goals and I can suggest some reliable schools. And by the way, when a school tells you the “embassy in Washington” will certify the courses, they are not being honest. No embassy that I know of has any control over the curriculum at colleges. That is why you should check listings at the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission, because their accreditation usually IS accepted by other institutions as well as by places of employment.

  26. I know you are correct about Woodbridge. I got onto their website and as soon as I entered my info they called! They gave me 30mins to get back to them to use my credit card to pay us$1699 within this time they called me 5 times! They said they only take credit card and if I did not have all they wanted to know how much I had to pay! They told me the embassy in Washington would certify my certificate when I had completed this degree.Based on your experience what online school can I enroll in that is safe to do holistic health degree? Thanks

  27. My experience with professors and instructors (and I assume it is true for tutors) at accredited universities is they are not hired without appropriate degrees and appropriate experience. If they have no degree at all, that would be very unusual, and in the US, would not generally be encouraged. The one exception I know about is in a field of study that is more skills-based, such as training journalists. Yes, most professors of journalism DO have degrees, but some of the schools will hire a famous journalist as an instructor to teach a particular course, with or without a degree; the schools assume that person’s famous name will attract students.

    But this situation is rare and these days, teaching online at an school whose program is accredited by NCA means you must have an appropriate degree in your area of expertise. I do not usually teach online (I am strictly in the actual, not the virtual, classroom at my university, although we DO have online courses); but I know for a fact that when I applied to teach a couple of online courses a few years ago, the university to which I sent my application was insistent about applicants having at least a Master’s degree.

    Donna L. Halper, PhD
    Lesley University
    Cambridge MA USA

  28. I did a bit of research and many of the online tutors are on at least five or six different on line universities. Some have different credentials on different websites. I think I will stick to the ones I know, like Phoenix, Open University in the UK however some of the tutors there don’t have degrees, which means if you write as an academic they may not know what you are talking about as I discovered.

    1. The Open University is an outstanding online university with a very reputable reputation. The lecturers and tutors are primarily at the top of their fields. My father is a lecturer with the OU in Milton Keynes. If you have a Bachelors, Masters, Diploma or PhD/Doctorate from the OU, it is accepted and respected and is certainly not an easy option. The entry requirements to get on to a course are very stringent. Please do not confuse the OU with the sham universities which riddle the Internet.

  29. This is a school with a very questionable history, which has changed its name and changed states four times. It was closed down in three of those states, from what I can see. Our friends at NCA do not name it as an accredited university. So, I would be careful of it.

  30. First, I’m a Ms. rather than a Mrs., and my students either call me Professor, Doctor, or just plain Donna. Feel free to call me any of those! As for IICSE, this site says they are not accredited:

    I haven’t checked NCA, but I probably won’t find them there either. On the other hand, depending on what you want to study, you may find plenty of online universities that do meet the standards of accreditation for international and US schools. I hope I have been helpful.

  31. Dear Mrs Halper,

    I would really appreciate if you could give me directions regarding whether IICSE University ( International Institute of Computer Science and Engineering, is accredited or not. I am really confused and I don’t know whom to address this issue to.

    Thanking you in advance,

    Best regards

    Michalis Koletsos

  32. Anyone on the internet can claim to be accredited. I am not accusing Ashley of being a scam, but it’s easy to set up a beautiful website and say you have accreditation. It’s also easy to claim a bunch of organizations have accredited you or “recognized” you. (My experience is that scam organizations always find agencies with important-sounding names, that supposedly accept their credits. Again, these groups may exist, but that does not prove Ashley is considered “on the level” by the majority of the American universities who would have to accept their credits.)

    My point is only that in the US, certain accrediting bodies are regarded as the “gold standard”– the most reliable and the ones that a US college or university would see as reliable when accepting transfer credits. Ashley is NOT on that list, and even if they claim other bodies accredit them, that is not necessarily a sign that they are legitimate. I called and asked them why they are not accredited by NCA. As of today, they have not answered the question. I would still recommend that you consider online colleges that are accredited by NCA. I do not work for them, nor do I have any ties to them. I just know they are considered the one agency that is reliable and widely used by US colleges to determine the validity of credits from online schools.

      1. Ashley University has offered me a masters degree in English Education because I have been a teacher for over 8 years.
        Any degree that is given to you just because you told them with no proof that you have experience in a field is bogus.

        be careful

    1. Ashley University does have the AABSP, you want either AACSB or AABSP which falls under the CHEA umbrella, so it is not a mill nor is it on the mill police list. You want to understand the AACSB and the AABSP difference with accreditation. The first is dedicated to research and scholarly activities the other is for application, teaching. The second or AABSP was set up because the ACCSB conditions were way too difficult for the private, small and middle size universities. Understand the accreditation bodies apart from US regional accreditation.


  33. Again, for American universities, the first thing I look at is whether they are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools: Ashley University is NOT. This would mean their credits might not be accepted by other universities, if you wanted to transfer those credits.

    1. Thank you for your assistant Donna. I won’t be interested to transfer my credits to any other American university anyway.

      I was surveying Ashley University’s website and found that as per below link they are accredited.

      I will appreciate having your feedback again and advise whether its at least “recognized” or not?


      1. Dear Abdul Rahim,
        This Ashley University which i visited through the Linkedin page, is an accredition mill and a bogus sham university which has nothing but some website links through which they are going to dupe you with US$ 5000-8000 offering some discounts and fake certificates. So guys be very careful.
        There is guy called Philip Moore who has been chasing me for quite sometime for money and i’m not going to fall in it.

        Hanif Mohammed

    1. This Ashley University is accredition mill and a bogus sham university which has nothing but some website links through which they are going to dupe you with US$ 5000-8000 offering some discounts and fake certificates. so guys be very careful.
      This guy has been chasing me for quite sometime for money and i’m not going to fall in it.


  34. Greetings,
    Can any one comment about the repute, credibility, value and obviously accrediation of the American Military University, WV. I intend taking up online masters in disaster & emergency management.
    A favorable reply with detail is solicited.

    Thanking in anticipation
    Major khurram

  35. I want urgent help .. Is granttown university is a scam ?? I have enrolled with them and they advised to get associate degree as well plus the bachelore for 4500$

    1. Regarding Granttown, you may be spelling the name wrong, but I cannot find it on the list of accredited colleges at NCA: But the tuition cost makes me suspicious. I don’t know any accredited college that offers an AA or BA or BS for $4500.

  36. Abdul, I am not sure I understand your comment. As an American professor who needs to look at transfer credits when my university admits students, I do not find Woodbridge in the list of schools accredited by the six top agencies that supervise whether a school is considered authentic. Please look at the link to the most important most respected accreditation organization: They do NOT list Woodbridge. Thus, my university would not accept transfer credits from that school. There are a number of excellent and accredited online schools: Capella University is one, Walden is another, University of Phoenix is another, etc. These schools have been vetted by the The Higher Learning Commission and they are members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). But Woodbridge does not seem to have the accreditation most US universities would accept.

  37. Can you please refer some link which shows that this Woodbridge University is not accredited and and lie in the list of fake and even not exist on land.

  38. As far as I can tell, Woodbridge is NOT accredited, at least not by the agencies that are recognized by the US Department of Education. There are six major North American organizations that accredit reputable online universities, and Woodbridge is not accredited by any of them. Further, the only people who praise this “university” are the people who work for it– their publicist and their admissions officers.

  39. If you scroll up, and check other comments you will find you answer Abdul relatedt o Woodbridge.

  40. Dear Donna L. Halper,

    What you will say about WOODBRIDGE UNIVERSITY. Is it accredited or not…

  41. As far as I know (and I am a professor in the US), Walden University online IS fully accredited. They have been around since the 1970s, and their accreditation is from a reputable organization: The Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association; (The North Central Association is one of the six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.) Some online universities are indeed a scam or a fraud, but Walden does not seem to be in that category.

  42. Hi,

    I got enroll about 500 USD in Woodbridge University, please confirm either it is fake or not,
    its urgent so i will not loose my more money.

  43. Hie
    I would like to know if Nixon University is accredited and if its qualifications are recognised in the US

  44. Hie
    I would like to know if Walden University is accredited and if its qualifications are recognised in the US

  45. please I need your urgent advice for Is MIDTOWN UNIVERSITY [] Accredited. Does it worth a Master’s Course from this University MBA in Finance. Is it recognized and accredited as well , and I already paid 2,199.00 USD for it and now they are asking me to pay more 1,699.00 USD for as below mail received from them today

    Dear Khaled,

    As per the telephonic conversation this is to inform you that we need to get the credit equalization process done according to the International Educational Standards/according to the Local Educational Standardization.

    The Credit Equalization Process is mandatory for all the international students so that you are requested to move on with the same.
    there is a fee to be paid i.e $1699.

    Also you will be further enetertained for an admission in your Phd Degree.

    once your degree is completed, it will be Legalized from the concerned departments.

    Sam Richards
    Mittown University

    Please I need your answer and advice if is it fake or not ? and if fake can I get back my money ? as I make payment with my visa on line on 04 Dec. 2012? please I am from Egypt and don’t know except you to advice as I searched all over the web sites and some said its fake and other not ? many thanks for your quick advice

  46. Hello,

    i would like to pursue a PHD/Docrate online. I am considering these university. are they accrediated.

    1- Walden University
    2- University of Liverpool


  47. Hi,
    Could you please let me know whether Nixon University is accredited or not.Does it worth pursuing a masters Course from this university and is it recognized internationally.Can the certificates be legally attested.

  48. Is MIDTOWN UNIVERSITY [] Accredited. Does it worth pursuing a Master’s Course from this University. Is it recognized internationally ?

  49. Dear Jessica, Many people have asked about Nixon and you are not replying…
    Herman Grobler says:

    May 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Dear Jessica, I want to register for MBA with Nixon University in USA. Are they accredited and legitimate?



    1. Hi Herman. I obviously don’t know the accreditation status of every university. The whole point of this article is that it should explain how to check for yourself. Use the Department of Education and CHEA databases to look up the universities you’re interested in and their accreditors. If the accrediting agency of a university is not listed on those sites, and the university is not in their database of accredited universities, then it is not accredited by a recognized agency. Since so many people have asked about different schools, maybe share what you learn when you do this research, in order to help others? And everyone else can do the same.

  50. Dear Jessica, I want to register for MBA with Nixon University in USA. Are they accredited and legitimate?



  51. I have some doubts in overseas education and work visa.
    I have a 4 years degree in btech through a IAO certified open university.
    I am trying for H1 visa for US with this certificate,let me know whether am i capable to apply with this certificate for H1.
    Will US companies allow this kind of certificate people to work in US.
    If i am not capable of H1 will it possible to apply as F1.

  52. hello
    I have started online bachelors degree from woodbridge university.can you please instruct if this degree is accepted in gulf countries

    1. I am planning to start online Phd this year in the field of Information Technology and I have narrowed down to Malaysian universities: emprirical analysis of IPv4 to IPv6 transition mechanisms, and solutions to the problems Lincoln University College, Open University Malaysia (OUM), and Asia e University, Malaysia.

      Can someone advice me if these universities are accredited to offer Phd by Malaysia authorities?

  53. Is there a list of accredited International Universities? My son is very interested in attending Assumption University In Bangkok, Thailand. My son visited the campus and was very pleased. All of the courses are taught in English and the price seems reasonable.The website seems to be good.

  54. Dear Mrs Mayank Sinha,

    Thank you very much for the answer. Could IICSE be a legal instituton without accreditation that grants legitimate degrees or is it a fake university (diploma mill)?

    Thanx a lot

    1. not this is not legal but still peoples practicing it is always suggest by many peoples that stay away from these scams before signing up any online program always look for its affliation and accrediation

  55. Hello,
    i just enrolled into woodbridge university. its an online degree. website is
    they said they are accredited by IAO and USDLA. are these valid?

      1. what to you mean by ‘charge back through your cc company’? is it possible to get back my money? Its lucky thought that i didnt pay them any further as they were asking for it.
        thank you so much for answering so quick!

        1. Hello Aarti

          Woodsbridge University is IOA accrediated only means you can use degree in mnc company not in government organization if you from India each degree in India need that country (if its a foregin degree) govt accrediation of institution or university would accrediate them and Indian Degree need UGC Recognition you can mail me at i can guide you in that respect

          If you paid from your creditcard just ask chargeback from your bank you will get your money back

          Mayank Sinha

          1. Mr. Mayank can you please tell us what is your designation and background as you are providing us all these informative information so can you please tell us what is your background ?

          2. Dear Miss Arti

            i am an Indian 27 year old hold P.HD in Computer Science done Masters in computer application from JNU New Delhi Worked 2 Yr in US now in India

            Now running Cyber Security and Application research lab in India


    1. hi Aarti woodbridge university is fake university, is simply a web site with no physical existence or business registration in any part of the globe, IAO and USDLA are their own websites again with no physical existence or business registration. these websites are owned by Axact along with one hundred different fake universities and accreditation bodies which operates from Karachi in Pakistan

  56. I am looking at a school in Yukon Territory, and I’m just assuming it is accredited since the school program credits are transferable to other schools in Canada and internationally. And I know that “.edu” isn’t a guarantee, but it the website is
    Any answers?

    1. .ca means it’s Canadian, so it’s outside my area of expertise, but I’d suggest looking at the Canadian education ministry’s website to find out how accreditation works there. They must have information available to help students sort the accredited from the non-accredited universities.

  57. How can I know if an international college is accredited? I’m looking for colleges in Chile, and I’m not sure which colleges are accredited here in the United States…

  58. Does Atlantic international university exist in Hawaii. I have searched their web site and would like to enroll.

  59. Could you tell me, please, what if the School has Regional Accreditation, but doesn’t have Program Accreditation?

    For example, Hult International Business School has New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation, but isn’t accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

    1. I don’t know anything about Hult specifically, so I can’t tell you much about whether it is or is not a good school. The regional accreditation is important, obviously. But if it doesn’t have any accreditation by a specialized organization at all, that would be a warning sign to me, and I’d start looking around and see what people are saying about it online in MBA forums and such.




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