Framed college diplomas that hang proudly on your office wall means you not only have clout in your industry of choice, it means you underwent the rigorous process of academic study and achievement. You not only paid your way through school, you earned your diploma.
While some professionals often give out framed “fake diplomas” from such prestigious schools as Harvard University or Cambridge as gag gifts to fellow employees, not all true diplomas are worth the paper they are printed on. All too often, private institutions of higher learning put up a good, if not impressive academic front, but when it comes down to it, they are not accredited.
According to a recent article, in preparing for joining private colleges or universities, both students and parents have traditionally focused their attention on the type of degree and associated diploma they wish to earn. All too often, little attention is given over to finding out of the institution of higher learning they are seeking an education from is accredited or “licensed” to operate in the first place. This goes for schools operating in the U.S. and beyond.
Sooner or later, graduated students might have their degrees questioned by a potential employer or even a boss who is presently employing you. Or, if you run for political office and you are vetted by both your own administrative staff and the press, it might be established that the degree, diploma, and transcript you earned is actually worthless. All the money you and/or your parents will have invested in your education will be lost for good, not to mention your reputation.
All this said, here are some ways to go about finding if the college or university you wish to attend is accredited or not.
Cross-check With Your National Council of Higher Education
National Councils for Higher Education (NCHE), and similar academic oversight institutions,have been established to be the regulator of higher education. Mandated to guide the establishment of private institutions of higher learningsuch astwo and four year colleges, along with “the delivery of a quality licensed education,” the NCHE is a critical body to make contact with prior to paying that first semester’s tuition. This holds true for colleges and universities the world over.
Says one NCHE public relations officer operating in Uganda, too many students have literally been duped into committing to unlicensed schools because they simply never bothered to check to see if it was accredited or not. When you pick an institution of higher learning, go immediately to NCHE to see if the school in licensed. The physical license should be hanging from their registration office wall or bulletin board.
But being that licenses can be faked, you need to go to district NCHE office directly to make a personal inquiry about your school of choice. If it’s impossible to get to the NCHE office, place a call and ask for the “accreditation status” of your school. You can also go to the NCHE website that’s attached to your particular global location, and find out which school programs are licensed and which are not.
If you are planning on spending thousands of dollars on a fake program at a fake university, the public relations officer goes on, why not take at least some of your time to make a call to the NCHE to find out if the school is accredited. This way you can save yourself early on, the hassle of being conned out of your money and time.
Accredited Schools Offering Unaccredited Programs
You need to be very careful when choosing a college or university since even accredited schools sometimes offer programs that are unaccredited. Research is the key, along with due diligence. Many of these programs have been shut down by various agencies throughout the world. Several accredited universities and colleges have even had their licenses revoked.
The NCHE is said to rule with an “iron hand” when it comes to licensed institutions failing to operate with their established standards and guidelines. Schools and universities failing to follow the program have been “punished” by being shut down. NCHE compliance units run frequent checks on institutions of higher learning and do so unannounced.
“We always find the culprits,” the NCHE public relations officer said.
He goes on to say that accredited institutions must have what’s required to teach a licensed program, including proper laboratories for science programs, qualified lecturers, fully stocked modern libraries with both digital and paper volumes relevant to their programs, and more.