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MAGNOLIA

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OXFORD EAGLE
OXFORD, MS
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08/23/2010
Ii 111111 ,11111111111 11111111111111111
.Experience. degrees just another scam
. {l60
T
he message somehow
slipped through the
spam filter, I guess.
Still, the info tag was
kind of interesting, so I opted
to call up a view-only version
of the e-mail message from 'a
"Marcie" who told me that
I could "obtain a University
degree based on your profes­
sional experience."
Hmmm. That's what I need.
Another degree. It .
Marcie pointed out, help . " ..­
increase my earning power and
get me lots of pats on the back.
I could earn, Marcie's message
said, my bachelor's degree or an
easy upgrade to a master's or
doctorate - in just five weeks!
I took some correspondence
courses back at Ole Miss some
35 years ago and I hear good
things about some online cours­
es and the increasingly-popular
intersession courses offered by
many colleges and universities.
But I can't quite see knocking
off the 30 or so semester hours
it takes to get an advanced
degree in just five weeks.
Not the only one
I couldn't decipher the school
Marcie was pushing - her mes­
sage gave mea number to call
and leave a voice message with,
and said their server would
reject any text inquiries - so I
decided to see if there were sim­
ilar "institutions" making siIni1ar
claims via the
fabulous world
wide web.
Yes, it seems
there are several
. - in fact, many
- places you can
buy - er, earn
- credits and
degrees based on
your "life experi­
ences." They
have names like
Speedy Degrees,
College Degrees
.
but could provide authentic-
looking documents to impress
your friends and business asso­
ciates and improve your self-
esteem. Really?
. I've been along for the ride
on two journeys to master's
degrees, and I know it's not
DON something that's simple and
WmTIEN . easy or that I'd want to do
Editor
Fast and the very impressive
looking and sounding Ashwood
University. Some appar­
ently want to make sure you
know they're not one of those
"diploma mills," but I personally
couldn't see a whole lot of dif­
ference.
I could be wrong, but some­
how I get a little wary when
they start touting degrees in
seven days or have no hesitation
in telling you that you can buy
an online degree. Just list your
life experiences in your chosen
field, check the level of degree
you want, send in a check or a
credit card number and wait for
an evaluation and decision. Oh,
and that wait could be as little
as a week or as long as a month
for someone looking for a PhD.
One, to its credit, had some
small type that said it wasn't
really an educational institution
again. So maybe, if I want to
add a master's in journalism to
my B.A. from the University of
Mississippi, I could try one of
these joints - er, I mean institu­
tions.
Master's, maybe more
Thirty-plus years in the field
ought to count for something,
huh? Apparently, it does, based
on some preliminary info.
Those individual awards picked
up through the years also add
credits, as do those the paper
received overalL It appears, too,
that atteriding church regularly
and coaching summer league
baseball open the door
for additional certification in
Biblical Studies and Recreation
Management. Who knew?
Wow! If we'd known this all
along, why spend thousands of
dollars and hundreds of hours
taking courses taught out of
books by professors? Surely,
the state department of educa­
tion would have counted these
quickie degrees to keep teaching
licenses current, upgrade certi­
fication levels and increase pay.
Yeah, right.
Interested in the going rate? .
One site quoted a price of $299,
while another said you could
pay in installments of $99.
The most complete one I ran
across, however, charges $239 .
for a high school diploma, $359
for an associate degree, $499
for a bachelor's degree, $524
for a master's and $599 for a
doctorate. Shipping is free and
you get 10 "documents" with
each degree. There are special
discounts for multiple degrees
if you really want to slap some
wallpaper up.
More checking?
Do you think we need to start
checking resumes a bit closer to
see if those degrees and diplo­
mas are for classroom work or
life experiences? It's a shame
scams like these work, and
they certainly do nothing for
the legitimate online and night
schools out there helping folks
. improve their education.
Guess I'll pass this time,
Marcie. I won't even check with
the attorney general's office, the
department of education or the
. Better Business Bureau.
Of course, I'd pretty much
already reached that decision
when your opening greeting
to Don said "Dear Lady or
Gentleman:"
-dwhitten@ox/ordeagle.com