Degree Mills: An Old Problem & A New Threat

Online Education

This also may contribute to the students feeling a greater sense of support, since they have ongoing and regular access to their instructors and other students. Despite the need for improvement, the future of distance learning seems bright. Increasing numbers of students enrolling in distance learning classes underscore the need for “comprehensive and thoughtful evolution of distance education if it is to become the educational model of the future” (Harnar, et al., 2000, pg. 37).

In the United Kingdom, degrees may only be awarded by institutions that have degree-awarding powers recognised by the UK authorities . Some institutions do not have degree-awarding powers but provide complete courses leading to recognised UK degrees that are validated by institutions which have degree-awarding powers. The UK authorities recognise those institutions which have been granted degree-awarding powers by either a Royal charter, an Act of Parliament or the Privy Council. Other than occasional articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the threat of diploma mills has been largely ignored by most colleges and universities42. It has also facilitated the proliferation of diploma or degree mills - those operations that award "degrees" for little or no academic work. Current estimates are that over 300 active diploma mills constitute a billion-dollar industry4.

While it is important to have friends outside of sports, the individuals on your team know the most about the challenges of being student-athlete. They know intimately the hurdles you face as a member of the same team, so find a way for you both to hold each other accountable in matters both academic and athletic. At the very least, during the first week of classes, be sure to introduce yourself and be open with them about your demanding schedule as a student-athlete. Better yet, as opposed to approaching them during the hectic moments before or after class, try to attend their office hours early in the semester so you can have a conversation.


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