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Fake Degrees Are Just A Few Clicks Away

Fake Degrees Are Just A Few Clicks Away

Ann E. Lewis, leader of Pencader Charter School, in Newcastle, Delaware, says that she holds a Ph. D. degree from Westfield University.

The only problem is that Westfield University doesn’t seem to exist. There is a major crisis in the world of higher education: the large and growing number of fake universities and fake degrees.

There is a website called college-degree-fast.com, and after completing a brief online application and paying a small fee, the site offers applicants a degree of their choice from any of several “universities.” One of those institutions is Westfield University, where Pencader High School leader Ann Lewis says she received her PhD.

Westfield University Doesn’t Seem To Exist

The interview with Lewis is posted here, but here are a few highlights:

“I got my MBA without my master’s thesis from Westfield University,” states Lewis.

A reporter states that a 25-year-old colleague applied to Westfield through college-fast-degree.com, and was offered a Ph.D. in organizational leadership.

When Lewis is questioned about her own Ph.D., she states that she didn’t have time to finish it, but got the Ph.D. anyway: “I finished this as far as I needed to do.” Apparently that should be enough to qualify anyone to get a Ph.D.

Accredited College Degree In 7 Days!

From  Delaware online:

The name of the website leaves little to the imagination – college-degree-fast.com.

If that wasn’t clear enough, big red letters in the middle of the home page say, “Accredited College Degree In 7 Days!”

And, just to show how easy it will be to get a degree of your very own, the site also promises, “NO ATTENDANCE, NO TESTING, NO STUDY, NO EXAMS.”

Last month, Yahoo ousted its CEO, Scott Thompson, who claimed a computer science degree he hadn’t earned. In 2007, Marilee Jones, a dean at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stepped down for falsifying her academic accomplishments.

As an educator, I find it deeply troubling that other educators can simply pay the fee, get the diploma and put it up on their wall. What does this say about their respect, or lack of, for education?

Significant Portions Of The “University” Website Stolen From Harvard Business School

As Nicole Dobo, reporter for The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, discovered, significant portions of Westfield’s website are copies of passages from the Harvard Business School’s website. In one line, the creator of the site even neglected to replace “Harvard Business School” with “Westfield University.”

The picture of Westfield’s president is actually an image of a model taken from a stock photo website. Accompanying the photo is “a note from the president,” which is the same as text used in an online directory of graduate degree programs.

But the most obvious red flags for Westfield’s site are the lack of any listed addresses or contact information other than a fax number and an email address that bounces back as undeliverable, experts said. Westfield also claims to be accredited without saying by whom.

Many institutions will offer different types of doctoral degrees, most of them professional doctorates.

But a PhD. is considered the pinnacle of academic achievement. It can be awarded in subjects ranging from history to engineering. But regardless of the field, they all require several years of dedicated work and, in many cases, personal sacrifice.

Before getting approval to start their dissertation work, PhD candidates must appear in front a panel of scholars to make an oral presentation and undergo rigorous questioning about the project they plan to pursue. After that, they must perform independent research and publish findings that make an original contribution to their field of study.

Apparently not in the case of Westfield University.

Success! Westfield University Takes Down Website

Success! After unearthing this horrible case of fake degrees in the story published last Sunday in The News Journal, it appears that the sites for Westfield and College-Degree-Fast.com are no longer operational.

Congratulations to the team from The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, for an excellent piece of sleuthing.

And let’s hope more of these fake degree factories continue to be exposed.

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93 comments

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9:18AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

one should never go for fake degrees fake is fake you will only get degree not knowledge ...

fake college degrees

9:58AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

This is the American way, live with it, you get a fake PhD get over it. Fake diploma is just the way it is. America is fake anyway.

1:22PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

Why are quaifications not printed on paper that cannot be copied, like banknotes.

1:21PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

An absolute disgrace that it is allowed to continue.

6:36AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

If someone is lazy enough to hire a PhD without CHECKING the credentials, then they deserve what they get... I've never understood the idea of cheating the system this way. First of all, learning is a JOY and secondly, how do they think they will survive in the world with no real knowledge of the field they have chosen???

4:46AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

Yes, it's disgusting, but no, it isn't of prime importance. If you hire a PhD, I am sure you can make the effort to read a bit on the thesis that person defended, call the university to verify (most people will give one of their Professors as a reference, how about checking that out?)
At any rate, truth will out eventually. There is no actual shortcut to education, but the cost shouldn't be prohibitive.

9:35PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Where are the screeners is rhetorical? I know a few in academe that I could bet and win that they 1) paid others to take the GRE, etc., before ID's were required, 2) paid others to write the thesis, dissertation, etc., 3) paid someone to prepare them for the defense of the bought writing, 4) paid a registrar's office employee to alter grades manually and/or eectronically, 5) forged the credentials of one who had a similar appearance (deceased, left region or country, 6) uses a fraudulent SSN - identity fraud (stolen or belongs to one who rarely has documented SSN payroll, etc.), and/or 7) got hired or promoted as a sexual or political favor. NONE of this is far-fetched. I worked on academic records and registration for five years, through graduate school at a sizeable university. I have seen these crimes discovered and undetected. I have seen an acclaimed ex-Duke professor wh became a college administrator cover up a grade-changing scandal by removing all staff in a registrar's office and placing them in other departments to keep the misdeeds from getting out - specifically a mother changing her son's grade and a wife manufacturing a degree for a new husband that never finished college. Do you want to laugh? cry? both? The wife and her children sued the college when it was going to pull their FULL staff scholarships. They won in court! "Tsk! tsk!, as they used to say, in comics like "Archie" etc. "back in the day"! The "beaut" is my old schoolmate from the same neighborhood n

8:45PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

I find this disgusting - for obvious reasons - but also hilarious. If you're going to hire an academic, you should probably do some research on their education, educational institution and general history first. If they have a PhD, you might be interested in actually looking at their research and finding out what contribution they've made to their field. Just a thought.

7:14PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

The thought of someone bypassing the coursework, which is valuable for earning, and simply purchasing a degree without gaining the knowledge needed to deserve it, disgusts me.

6:52PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Another excellent reason not to raise higher education tuition or student loan rates!!!

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