Diploma Mills / by kevin murray

The average unemployment rate follows a very straight line in correlation with the amount or lack of education that you have achieved.  That is to say, those without a high school diploma have the highest unemployment, followed by high school graduates, than those with some college but no degree, than associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and finally a doctorate degree has the lowest unemployment of them all.  Consequently, the amount of education that you have achieved contributes to a significant and very meaningful degree as to whether you are employed, how much income you will make, and what opportunities that are available to you.


To a large extent, a degree from any accredited university will be treated about the same in regards to job applications and opportunities, with the recognition and caveat, that degrees from prestigious universities with long-standing reputations or particular valued specialties being a force all of their own.  The reason that there is such impartiality for say a Bachelors of Science from one college to another is that in general, the requirements to procure such a degree are relatively similar, so that a prospective employer will feel comfortable that you have achieved a certain fundamental knowledge in your collegiate experience and major.


The problem then becomes, not that there are now so many private colleges for profit, or online courses for convenience or a savings on expenses, or night classes, or any of the flexibilities that our modern internet connected age has created, but that never has it been so easy to create diplomas that might look nice and read nice but are essentially diplomas without real work, nor effort, nor stringent requirements, nor are they on the same playing field as a legitimate and accredited degree from a known and respected higher learning institution.


People aren't stupid and when it comes to finding employment, making money, and job opportunities, some will make those necessary adjustments to get their piece of the American pie, even if that means shortcuts, lies, deceits, and trickery.  The people getting and receiving degrees from colleges in which the work involved is minimal, or substandard, could be credibly falling for that siren song of what appears to them to be a legitimate degree from a legitimate organization, as if receiving some sort of gift from higher up.  Many, however, are pretty much well aware that what they have "earned" has, in fact, been purchased for the express purpose of having a credential which they have not merited through their schoolwork or studies.  However, whether they receive their tarnished degree through a form of blithe ignorance or knowing willfulness does not change the fact that their degree is wholly unfair to their prospective employer and fellow employees, in which their degree should reflect that certain standards have been achieved and earned.


While diploma mills aren't going to go away anytime soon, I do believe that higher degree diplomas should be properly vetted through either our U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in a such a way so that each diploma for every individual is approved with an unique number, demonstrating that one of these aforementioned organizations, has reviewed and approved the diploma as being from a valid organization for a particular person.  Résumés would then also include as a matter of fact that unique number as part of their application for employment, and for recent graduates, a statement such as "certification pending" might be appended, in which, if that certificate ends up being invalidated, that person would be subject to dismissal.