Fake master’s

Not everyone kills their buy-a-college-degree spam. In Georgia, six teachers will have to pay back $30,000 in pay raises they received for earning advanced degrees from an online outfit based in Liberia that sells “life experience” degrees.

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  1. It’s even worse than that. 10 teachers have been found (so far?) with the bogus credentials.

  2. Ironically, the total educational value of their “life experience” has just gone up…

  3. I get spammed (at my university address) on a regular basis from outfits like this.

    I’d be tempted to e-mail them back saying, “thanks, but sorry, I got a degree with a Ph.D. on it already – and mine is REAL” but I know that would just open the floodgates for more spam.

  4. Walter Wallis says:

    “From a prestigeous non-acredited institution” always had a ring to it.

  5. yeah, especially when they’re selling you a “dimploma,” which is what most of the spams seem to offer.

  6. D. Cooper says:

    I’ve been outed … the ‘D’ is for Doctor.

    On another note, before all the teacher bashers chime in, this fraud is not limited to education. I’d not want a fraud teaching my children, nor…. doing surgery, electrical work, or writing for a major newspaper.

    If it was a deliberate attempt to defraud the school district … fire their asses … even tenure laws shouldn’t prevent this from happening.

  7. Steve LaBonne says:

    I think “dimploma” is exactly the right word, don’t you? 😉

  8. John from OK says:


    Go Pokes.

  9. I worked with a guy once whose resume said he was a Ph.D. and a former Navy Seal. One day, after a conversation where I could no longer attribute his technical errors to carelessness or forgetfulness, I looked up his “university” on the Web. Diploma mill, of course. Naturally, the Navy Seal part was bullshit, too.

  10. Walter Wallis says:

    I suspect you could buy a SEAL certificate on line if you looked for it. This is why any new hire should be closely monitored. Of course, if someone with a phony degree does the job satisfactorily, perhaps the degree requirement is unnecessary.

  11. Frank G Zavisca, M.D. says:

    Who is more stupid and should be fired?

    The teachers who spent their hard earned money for these worthless “diplomas”?


    Tht school administrators who accepted these degrees from Liberia?

    In medicine we have credentialing – where the sources of degrees and training are investigated.

  12. PJ/Maryland says:

    A spokesman for the state Professional Standards Commission, which approved the six teachers’ degrees last year, said it would no longer accept credits from St. Regis.

    I think this story is more of an indictment of the system than the teachers. The pay system (presumably negotiated between the union and the school board[s]) says teachers get more money if they have a master’s degree, and even more for a PhD. If the state has a Professional Standards Commission, I guess there was some attempt to distinguish the quality of the degree… but not much.

    Apparently most of these teachers only started getting their increased salary this past August, so apparently a degree from St. Regis can pay for itself in less than a year!

    Of course, we’d like to think that teachers would be too professional and ethical to give in to this temptation. (And they mostly are, since only 10 or 11 succumbed out of the thousands of teachers in Georgia.) But why was the system built this way in the first place?

    There’s a more recent article at OnlineAthens which says:
    County officials said the state is charged with determining if degrees are authentic. A spokesman for the state Professional Standards Commission, which approved the six teachers’ degrees last year, said the commission would take action against the teachers if the county didn’t. The commission said Friday it would no longer accept credits from St. Regis.

    The commission is blaming the error on its credential agency, which reviews foreign transcripts and determines if classes taken abroad translate into American credits.

    So, if the commission had done its job, these teachers would simply have wasted their money. So why is the Gwinett county DA talking about prosecuting the teachers, and not the commission?

  13. "Dr." Caffeinated Curmudgeon, "Ph.D, Life Experience" says:

    PJ/Maryland wrote: “I think this story is more of an indictment of the system than the teachers.”

    In more ways than one. Latest is that a college president and accreditation board member also has a “Life Experience” Liberian degree.

    Outsourcing to Liberian universities seems to be getting very popular.

    URL is http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040326/APA/403261107


    >The Associated Press
    >March 26, 2004
    >A college president who serves on a
    >national accreditation board is among
    >several Georgia educators who
    >received questionable degrees from an
    >online school in Liberia.

  14. After much research over the internet on St regis University…one has difficulty understanding why St. Regis is being questioned?? It appears that any attack against them has been answered accordingly from officials in the US or from Liberia. St Regis University has been able to submit all the “appropriate” proof to be an accredited university. In addition, one sees nothing wrong with St Regis University. They appear to hide nothing…it is all in black and white as to what their proceedures ar; assessments, testing, LIFE EXPERIENCE etc..

    As for NOT accepting degrees from outside the US…one better reconsider due to DISCRIMINATION! There are many talented individuals from other countries that become US citizens and are fine doctor, lawyers, teachers etc. I say, “Go St Regis University”!!!

    The trend in many universities and colleges today are ACCEPTING life experience for college credits..I suggest one looks into universities ans colleges before comments are made…

  15. unonomous says:

    Look out for Robertstown University who are also affiliated with St Regis………..

  16. Go Sru says:

    St. Regis University is just one option for people to acheive higher education. Most people that get degree from institutions like SRU are people in positions that degree’s my not be required for but help for advancement. A school District of course needs accredited degree’s but other insitutions like a head start or etc. might be a little more lax with accreditation. SRU offers degrees that can be evaluated to US regionally accreditated schools. Which in a sense make the justifiable. People should always check realize that the degree itself is equal to Us regionally accreditated degree.

  17. chris johnson says:

    After reading the St. Regis web site called and checked on references and the embassy. What I found is that St. Regis is truly what they say they are. They have the blessing of the commissioner of higher education in Liberia and the degrees that students earn are real. Perhaps schools in Liberia are not up to US standards but when you look at all the scandles that surround our schools one must wonder. Lately I have seen US schools accused of inflated grades for $$$, sports people who are given good grades and kept in school–some can hardly read, and all the other corrupt administrators who want only the money without regard to students education. Perhaps foreigh schools are not up to US standards but never the less, and the bottom line is St. Regis is legal and real.

  18. anonymous says:

    In my own case I commenced a Masters Degree in HRM with Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK and did not have a first degree. My career was evaluated and I was awarded the points -120 – that were the equivalent of a degree, thereby enabling me to enjoy the MA programme.

    The point is that many older folk have amassed a vast range of trainings, experiences and professional knowledge that does indeed give them the equivalent of a first, second or third level degree.

    They do not have fragile egos of a 23 – 27 year old that demand recognition of the fact that they have just completed an MA or PhD, or indeed live or work in an environment where the measure of who you are is your level of education or where you where you obtained your degree.

    To those of you who jump up and down about St Regis, look into your own young psyches. You have obtained your degree, now let those who did not have the opportunity to do so apply and be assessed by a system that is the same as fully accredited universities in the UK.

  19. fire permit says:

    Questionable credentials seem to be acceptable here in GA. The former president of West Georgia Technical College obtained his PhD from a LA diploma mill. We were shot down in our efforts at COC accreditation largely due to this individual’s phony paper.

    Said person was fired for sexual misconduct but re-surfaced at a sister institution as a VP where he is being allowed to cruise to retirement.

  20. What about Concordia College and University, are the Degrees legal etc.
    Can someone please suggest a few Colleges or Universities where the Life Assessment Degrees are legal, and are accepted in UK.
    I am wanting a Bachelor Degree in IT.

  21. Fire Permit says:

    Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Some life assessment programs are legitimate. Most are not. Therefore, most employers reject them all. If you find one your employer accepts it is no guarantee the next company will accept it.

    Most of the people getting life credit degrees are counting on the employer not verifying their worth. Sometimes the risk pays off.