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Diploma Mills and Institutional Accreditation

Diploma Mills
Diploma mills (or degree mills) are substandard or fraudulent “colleges” that offer potential students degrees with little or no serious work. Some are simple frauds, such as a mailbox to which people send money in exchange for paper that claims to be a college degree. Others require some nominal work from the student but do not require college-level course work that is normally required for a degree.

Questions to Ask to Determine if a Degree Provider Is a "Mill"
When considering a degree provider, an answer of "yes" to one or more of the following questions may be an indicator of a diploma mill.

To verify accreditation information for an educational organization, visit the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education accreditation website at www.ope.ed.gov/accreditation/.

For additional information about diploma or degree mills, visit the U.S. Department of Education's diploma mills and accreditation information Web page at www.ed.gov/students/prep/college/diplomamills/ or email jcruz@osrhe.edu.

Institutional Accreditation Authorization/Recognition Process
Institutions that seek authorization and recognition to operate in Oklahoma must have accreditation status that details what the institution is authorized to offer as approved by one of the following three agencies:

  1. A regional accrediting agency.
  2. A national accrediting agency authorized to approve degree programs by the U.S. Department of Education for Title IV purposes.
  3. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (see policy, Section 3.1).

If an institution is approved to offer degree programs by a regional or national accrediting body, that institution must seek authorization from the State Regents by following the process outlined below.

  1. The institution’s president or director must write a formal request to offer program(s) to:

    Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor
    Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
    PO Box 108850
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73101-8850

  2. The letter of request must include the following information and materials:

    1. A letter from the institution’s accrediting agency stipulating what program(s) has/have been approved.
    2. The number of credit or clock hours that will be awarded.
    3. All student costs/fees related to the program(s).
    4. A review schedule by the accrediting agency for the programs requested (evaluation reports on the programs will be required once the report is acted upon by the agency).
    5. The start date for the program(s).
    6. The location and contact person for the Oklahoma location.
    7. Catalogs, recruiting materials, brochures, Web site information, etc.
    8. Additional materials upon request.

Subsequent programs approved by the accrediting agency after initial State Regents recognition must be submitted in the same manner. Changes in accreditation status must be reported immediately by both the accrediting agency and the institution.

Once this information is received and reviewed by the State Regents, an appropriate response will be sent to the institution's president or director.

For any questions regarding the institutional accreditation authorization / recognition process for Oklahoma, contact:

José Dela Cruz
Senior Coordinator of Academic Affairs
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
PO Box 108850
Oklahoma City, OK 73101-8850
405.225.9141