Unaccredited institutions of higher education
, and universities
lacking educational accreditation
or other qualifications from
unaccredited institutions may not be accepted by civil service
or other employers.
An institution may lack accreditation for one of several reasons. A
new institution may not yet have attained accreditation, while a
long-established institution may have lost accreditation due to
financial difficulties or other factors. Some unaccredited
institutions are fraudulent diploma
. Some institutions (for example, some Bible colleges
) choose not to participate in the
accreditation process because they view it as an infringement of
their religious, academic, or political freedom.
Legal issues and considerations
In Australia, it is a criminal offence use the term "university" or
to purport to offer university degrees (Bachelors, Masters,
Doctors) without government authorization. This authorization is
generally given in the form of an Act of a State or Federal
Parliament, specifically referring to that institution. (Each state
will recognize the institutions authorized under the law of the
Separate to this, there is also the authorization under the Higher
Education Funding Act to receive federal government funds for
students; this is a separate process from authorization to grant
degrees, so some institutions are entitled to grant degrees but not
to receive government funds to do so.
There is also registration under CRICOS (the ESOS Act) - a student
visa can only be issued to a student if they are studying at an
institution with a valid CRICOS registration
All universities and colleges are currently state or municipal
organs, funded directly from public funds. There is no process for
accrediting private universities, and public universities are not
allowed to collect tuition fees from full-time students.
private university to be nationalized was Åbo
According to the India Department of Education, regarding
institutions without accreditation or an Act of Parliament, "It is
emphasized that these fake institutions have no legal entity to
call themselves as University/Vishwvidyalaya and to award ‘degrees’
which are not treated as valid for academic/employment
Legitimate higher education qualifications in Ireland are placed
on, or formally aligned, with the National Framework of
Qualifications. This framework was established by the National
Qualifications Authority of Ireland
in accordance with the
Qualifications (Education and Training) Act (1999). It is illegal
under the Universities Act (1997) for any body offering higher
education services to use the term "university" without the
permission of the Minister for Education and Science. It is
likewise illegal under the Institutes of Technologies Acts
(1992-2006) to use the term "institute of technology" or "regional
technical college" without permission.
Zealand Education Act prohibits use of the terms "degree"
and "university" by institutions other than the country's eight
accredited universities. In 2004 authorities announced their intention
to take action against unaccredited schools using the words
"degree" and "university," including the University of Newlands, an
unaccredited distance-learning provider based in the Wellington suburb of Newlands.
New Zealand institutions reported to be using the word "university"
included the New Zealand University of Golf in Auckland, the online
Tawa-Linden and Tauranga Universities of the Third Age, and the
Southern University of New Zealand. Newlands owner Rochelle M.
Forrester said she would consider removing the word "university"
from the name of her institution in order to comply with the
University of Newlands was listed as a "wannabe" or "degree mill"
by The Australian newspaper,
the institution was given permission by the New Zealand High Court to proceed to trial in its suit against
the paper's publisher for defamation.
The presiding judge noted that
such degrees may be illegal and that purporting to offer such
degrees could be deemed dishonest or unethical conduct. He also
ruled that defamation occurs in the country where the material is
downloaded from the Internet. In December 2005 the Court of Appeal
said the defamation case could not go ahead. Newlands and Ms.
Forrester had not shown it had a good arguable case that an act had
been done in New Zealand for which damages could be claimed from a
party outside New Zealand. Without their showing a good arguable
case, New Zealand courts would not assume jurisdiction.
In March 2006 prosecutors in Seoul had "broken up a crime ring
selling bogus music diplomas from Russia, which helped many land
university jobs and seats in orchestras." People who used these
degrees were criminally charged.
Kingdom the institution offering degrees must be accredited
and a list maintained by the Department for Education and
Prosecutions under the Education Reform Act are
rare, as many of the bodies on the internet are based outside UK
Prosecutions under other legislation do occur. In 2004 Thames Valley College
in London was
prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act for offering degrees
from the 'University of North America', a limited liability company
set up by themselves in the US with no academic staff and no
premises other than a mail forwarding service.
United States of America
some countries, the term "university" is not protected in the
Most of the individual state
require higher education institutions
within the state to be licensed or have other formal legal
authorization in order to enroll students or issue degrees, but
these legal authorizations are not the same as educational
accreditation. The most reliable source for verifying information
about a school, including its accreditation status, is the US Department of Education
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and its
College Opportunities Online (COOL) link. Lists of accredited
institutions may be obtained from the United States Department of
Education or the Council for Higher
In the United States, unaccredited degrees may not be acceptable
for academic positions, state or federal civil service
or other employment; in certain
cases and circumstances criminal penalties may even apply should
such a degree be presented in lieu of a degree from an accredited
institution. Unaccredited degree use is illegal or
restricted in Oregon, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, Nevada and Texas, where the
use of a fraudulent degree is typically considered a misdemeanor.
Many other states are also
considering restrictions on the use of degrees from unaccredited
institutions. Institutions offering purely religious degrees
or training are exempt
from licensing requirements in some states, subject to specific
rules in each state.
- David Cohen, New Zealand Vows a Crackdown on Diploma Mills in
Wake of Unusual Defamation Lawsuit, The Chronicle of Higher
Education, August 26, 2004
- South Korea - Bogus diploma ring busted,
March 21, 2006
- Diploma mills provide phony credentials, By
Helena Andrews, The Capital Times/Medill News Service, February 14,
- Is Oregon the only state that disallows use of
unaccredited degrees? Oregon Office of Degree
- Connecticut State Website Report Exemptions from
the Higher Education Licensing Process for Religious