Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » May 2004 » It's getting harder to convince one's kids to stay in school....

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05/11/2004: It's getting harder to convince one's kids to stay in school....

especially when one can get far in government service with a fake degree. From the AP via MSNBC: Some federal workers have fake degrees. What makes the story even better is that some of the workers actually got the government to pay for them:

At least 28 senior-level federal employees in eight agencies have bogus college degrees, including three managers at the office that oversees nuclear weapons safety, congressional investigators have found.

The problem is likely even bigger, mainly because the government has no uniform way to check whether employees' alma maters are "diploma mills" that require little, if any, academic work, the General Accounting Office reported.


An earlier GAO report revealed how easy it is to buy a degree from a diploma mill; this one shows high-level federal workers securing such degrees at taxpayer expense. The tally was $169,471 at just two of the schools.

The colleges in question often use names similar to those of accredited schools and offer degrees largely on a person's "life experience." Some simply sell degrees for a flat fee.

Under law, the federal government may only pay tuition for academic degree training at schools sanctioned by a recognized accrediting body.

In contacting representatives of three diploma mills, an undercover GAO investigator found they would not permit enrolling in individual courses. Yet they were willing to change their billing practices to receive federal money, dividing the flat fee they charged by the number of courses a student needed to appear as if a per-course fee was charged.

The number of bogus degrees and the amount of tax dollars spent on them are likely understated across the government because of incomplete records and verifications, the GAO said.
A couple of the "institutions" named in the report--LaSalle University and Kennedy-Western University--are familiar to me. I remember seeing ads in magazines (very commonly in cut-rate knockoffs of magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics) for LaSalle all the time--several of them stated, as I recall, that one could get a law degree from LaSalle. And somehow I've gotten on Kennedy-Western's mailing list; I usually throw away three or four of their letters telling me how a degree from KWU will enhance my social and professional life.

Len on 05.11.04 @ 04:04 PM CST


Replies: 2 comments

on Wednesday, May 12th, 2004 at 12:14 AM CST, bryan@dumka.com">Bryan said

Oh, no, now they're going to start fact-checking resumes.

on Wednesday, May 12th, 2004 at 9:26 AM CST, Len Cleavelin said

Actually, I understand that some companies have been fact checking resumes for quite some time now. Resume "enhancement" has been a problem going back a number of years, from what I understand.

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