It's a big business that could be offering up a bogus reward. We’re talking about online high school and degree programs, claiming to be accredited.
Colleges require diplomas come from an accredited high school. And while many online high schools offer good, legit programs, others only claim to do so.
Julie Godshall Brown of Godshall Staffing says her job recruiters now have to verify where you got that high school education, because of the sheer volume of these online programs.
“If the position requires a diploma or a degree, we do verify it because that is one of the areas where there are a lot of inaccuracies or fraud,” said Brown.
At Spartanburg Community College, the admissions office keeps a list of acceptable and unacceptable programs.
“We maintain a list. If we have a student that comes in and they have evidence of a high school diploma from either one of the online or one of the brick and mortar agencies or academies, many of them are called and if it's not on our list, we begin an investigation,” said Lynn Dale, Interim Admissions Director.
Dale says the key is checking the program’s accreditation.
“Just like we can create anything online to teach high school or to teach college courses, we can also create online an accrediting agency. So if there's any questions that a consumer might have, I would suggest that an individual go to the higher Ed college in which they want to apply,” said Dale.
Job recruiters say getting a diploma from an online program that’s not credible, can ruin your resume.
“We are finding those who truly felt like they had gone through the program, pay for it and had a useful degree or certification,” said Brown. “And they find later that it's not worth the paper it's written on. It's very sad.”
To make sure you’re using a reputable online program, find out the accrediting agency backing it. You then need to verify that the accrediting agency is acceptable.
To do so, call the colleges you intend to apply to and ask the admissions office what it accepts.