These online high schools didn’t make the grade

Looking for a way to get your high school diploma or a college degree online? You’ll want to read this.

Image of graduation hatsToday, the FTC announced a case against several companies that sold fake high school diplomas online. The companies claimed you could become a high school graduate and earn an “official” diploma by paying $200 to $300 in fees and taking their online multiple-choice test. They also promised you could use these online diplomas the same way you would use a traditional diploma or a GED®: to apply for jobs, enroll in college, and “receive the recognition you aspire for in life.”

However, the FTC charged that getting a diploma from Jefferson High School Online or Enterprise High School Online was not the same as earning a traditional high school diploma or a GED® certificate. According to the FTC’s complaint, people who used these diplomas to try to get into college, apply for jobs, or enlist in the military were turned down because their diplomas were not valid; neither Jefferson nor Enterprise was a legitimate or accredited online school, and the diplomas they offered were worthless.

While many online schools provide legitimate degrees to students, others are selling sham degrees. Diploma mills exist solely to make money, not to provide an education. And many bogus degree programs have well-designed websites, familiar sounding names, and fake testimonials to seem legitimate.

How can you tell if you’re dealing with a diploma mill? Ads might say that the program:

  • charges you a flat fee for the degree
  • offers a degree in a few months, weeks, or even just days
  • requires little or no course work, and no interaction with teachers
  • offers a degree for your “work or life experience” alone

Before you pay for a credential, do a little homework that goes beyond the organization’s own website. Search for reviews of an online high school or college and for the organization’s name on the Better Business Bureau site. You might find some valuable insights from others. If you’re looking specifically for an online college degree program, check the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to see whether the school is accredited.

For more details, check out our article on diploma mills, as well as information provided by the Department of Education. And if you think you’ve dealt with a diploma mill, we want to hear about it at ftc.gov/complaint.

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Comments

WELL WHICH SCHL. DID NOT MAK THE GRADE

According to the FTC’s complaint, Jefferson High School Online and Enterprise High School Online are two of the names used by these dishonest companies. The FTC's press release has more details.

So what happens to the people who bought there diploma from them? Will there be a class action suit for refund?

what about beacon falls high school ?

This is the same group that owns: Franklinvirtualschools. I guess they owned a real school and a FAKE SCHOOL. Unbelievable!! If you read the complaint, the owner of Jefferson is also listed as an owner of Franklinvirtualschools. So tired of these online scams.

i need my diploma soon what is a good school

Hello, If you’re looking specifically for an online college degree program, check the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to see whether the school is accredited.

is Pacific high acredited? because I did a online high school course, and when I went to get in to college they told me they can't accept it.

You can report your problem with a school to your state attorney general's office or local consumer protection agency, and file a complaint at www.ftc.gov/complaint. If you took a federal student loan, and are having a problem with a lender, contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575.

So Pacific High is a scam

I signed up for enterprise high school diploma back in 2006 and after thinking I had an accredited diploma I tried enrolling into mec-tech institute. They said the diploma was not real.. Boy was I let down. Any refunds????

I AM TRYING TO SEE IF I CAN GET REFUNDED MYSELF FOR 2 I PAYED FOR IN 2004 AND 1 FOR MY SISTER SHE PAYED FOR...ANY JUSTICE

Hello, If you'd like the FTC to look into a company's practices, please file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint. We use your complaints to investigate companies and bring lawsuits. Unfortunately, we can't address complaints if they are submitted through blog comments.

Are there any online high school diploma schools that are accredited in New York City

Hello, you could try searching for reviews of an online high school or college and for the organization’s name on the Better Business Bureau site. You might find some valuable insights from others.

The State of NY has a special provision. Simply, NY does NOT accept any online high school diplomas. You must complete a State recognized program through a NY sanctioned school of the NY high school equivalency (HiSET) There are no online options for NY residents to earn a diploma and get into a NY college. This is only true to NY. If you are attend college in any other State, you can complete a State Dept. of Education recognized accredited diploma program and enter into a college. NY residents to not have an online high school or GED options. Hope that helps.

Is Pacific High School fake ??

is pacific high school legitamate

The company called Axact in Pakistan is one of the big players in this field. They have hundreds of fake high school and college names they use for scamming people. They pretend to be legitimate IT tech company but then force their employees to operate these scams. Then they threaten employees who want to talk about it. They also operate essay writing program and porn which is ILLEGAL things in Pakistan.

Are you people serious? If you paid for a diploma you need to go back to school. Your options are to get a GED or enroll in a school and take the courses needed to get a diploma. Seriously, who are you people?!

Some states have an age limit that you can attend school. Some are even 20.

Don't be rude. There are many reasons that should not have to be explained to someone like yourself.(let me try; living overseas,chronic or terminal illness,age requirments,religious leanings,limited school choices in isolatd areas,frequetly moving military families/career,conflicts with public school practices and curriculum....) "Seriously,who are you people" -- get off your high horse. I have advanced degrees and get why a person may seek an alternative choice for education. Many colleges and universities are going to virtual classrooms for working professionals or geographic constraints.
Be part of the solution not part of the problem. Who are you?!!!....to set the standard of what is acceptable. There are articles and reviews of online schools to review. I suggest those looking for the school review them and then check the complaints and reviews associated with that business.

I want to know if the Pacific high school is the real deal. When I looked at reviews it was saying it was a scam and when I called and wanted a refund he threatened me with writing a report against me. I didn't even do anything besides demand a refund because I did research and seen it was a scam. I talked to multiple different men from that site on the phone and I couldn't understand a dang word any of them where saying.....i am very upset!!!!

If your problem is with a school, you can contact your state attorney general's office or local consumer protection agency, and file a complaint at www.ftc.gov/complaint. If you took a federal student loan, and are having a problem with a lender, contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575.

Titan High School is a fake now I have to start all over again, where do they get off just taking money and giving fake diplomas... Not right!! Especially for those who are trying to make a difference and better their education!

I Got A Highschool Dipoloma Online From Stratford Career Institutite 2012.Its Not Accredited In NY.Many Ungrateful.G.E.D. Classes Are Not Free And Waiting List And Takes About A Year.Its Good For Vocational School Not to Enroll In College.Its Better Than No Highschool Degree.And I Doubt Employers Care If Your H.S. Diploma Is Legit.

I got my high school diploma online from Enterprise back in 06 I am just now learning it was a scam? My job accepted the diploma What do I do now

I'm interested in getting my highschool diploma can you please contacts me

Before you pay to get a degree, check more than the  organization’s own website. Search for reviews of an online high school or college and for the organization’s name on the Better Business Bureau site. Read more about diploma mills, or companies that take your money for a degree that isn't legitimate.

Is West Madison Falls High School a fake?

I got my high school diploma from Emprise Online High School back in 2005. I did not know it was fake, until I tried to go college. I am ONE PISSED OFF MOTHER. ALL I want to do is take care my daughter and now I have to start all over. What can I do to get money back from these conartes.

paid over $300 for diploma from the lincoln academy did my fafsa got excepted to psu of ks they started enrollment and bam turned out to be false .. no returned phone calls for refund .. ever !! beware!

You can report this to your state and local consumer protection agencies. Check with your local school district to see if they have classes to earn a high school degree.

I got my high school diploma online cornerstone Christian correspondence school, in 2007 now am trying to further my self on my job I am in for 8 years had to do some classes bring in my high school diploma, and it was turned down, turn out to be fake I am so upset now I risk loosing my job.

You can report this to your state and local consumer protection agencies. Check with your local school district to see if they have classes to earn a high school degree.

So what action can I take to expose and get a refund from Enterprise online fake school? I am extremely upset thinking I had a ged/high school diploma since 2012. There has do be something we can do about this.

I am amazed that this is going on, I got scammed by Central High School. I took the test paid 250.00 the transcripts and diploma came....tried to get a job, did research on getting information regarding my transcripts and jobs tried and found a scam. I acted as a company getting information regarding myself and absolutely no response.
the diploma and transcripts were coming from multiple UPS postal stores?? Then doing further research multiple phone numbers were being answered by the same person and advertised schools. Their Phone numbers are different but going to same scammers.
This is being investigated promptly by the FTC and happy that this is being done. Do not get a diploma by online schools! call your local community college or a close university and they sometimes have these programs on campus or with their online programs.

So... Has anybody been scammed by Fast-High-School-Diploma?

Does anyone know if James Madison high school online legit?

Before you sign up for a school, check it out. A school that does these things might not be legitimate:

  • charges you a flat fee for the degree, instead of charging by the semester or the class
  • says you'll get a degree in a few months, weeks, or even just days
  • requires you to do no course work, or only a little
  • doesn't require you to interact with teachers
  • says you can get a degree for your “work or life experience” alone

To check on an online school, check with your state attorney general's office to make sure the school is operating legally in your state. Ask if anyone has filed a complaint about the school.

Did you find out if James Madison is legit? I am also trying to find out for my son. Thank you!

My only advice: Stop trying to get shortcuts in life. There is a reason why the rest of us spend three whole years attending school. And some think they are better than us and can do it in 60 minutes? Really??? STAY IN SCHOOL!!!

Did they invent the wheel yet where your mind lives. There are real reasons a person may need to do a virtual school---Not even going to try to explain. Some of them did not drop out --- they are looking for an alternative education choice that provides flexibility with advanced college seeking diplomas not a GED.
I have a Masters degree and worked with school aged children for 20+ years --not every person fits into your closed minded box.

I got a fake GED and didn't know now my job found the GED company was fraud what do I do now?

You can check with your state department of education to find out options for getting a high school diploma in your state. There are several different tests you could take to get a high school diploma, and each state decides what tests it will accept.

No state accepts an online high school equivalency test.

This FTC article about high school diploma scams has more information.

My parents moved in '76 and the never enrolled me to finish my junior year or my senior year in high school. How can I quietly get a diploma now? Isn't there any way online to do it?

This FTC article about high school diploma scams has information about different ways you can earn your high school diploma.

Many people earn a high school equivalency diploma by taking a test. Tests offer some flexibility, allowing you to study on your own time and at your own pace. But you have to take them at a set time and place, and the tests can be challenging. No state accepts an online high school equivalency test.

Thank you very much for your response!! What about taking online classes to actually earn a diploma? Is that possible?

Please follow this link to read the article about high school diplomas and how to avoid scams. The article has details about online courses and how to find out what's accepted in your state.

Can I have high school diploma GED in equivalent of my regular O - level passed From edexcel board of uk and one year science foundation having 45 credit hours from Malaysia

This FTC article tells about high school diploma scams and how to earn a high school equivalency diploma.

Same with Cliffordhighschool.com they clam to be accredited by the AAOHS (Accreditation Agency of Online High Schools) so I looked it up and it doesn't exist. $275 down the crapper.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Before paying for online GED. Check with your local community college the adult education department if they offer free ged and career certificate programs. I am on my way to doing that I qualified. Good luck everyone. The reason I am this site I have a brother who got his online ged with stratford and can't find it anymore.

My daughter has a friend who needed flexibility with high school due to a successful career in acting and modeling. She attended and graduated from Penn Foster. I think most places recommend checking the University or school you hope to attend to assure that they will accept your diploma. If it is listed as accredited (and checks out to be current) by a regional accreditation like SACS (Southern association of colleges and schools)it should be accepted by most colleges/universities and employers. This is the information I have read and was shared with me by the University my daughter is hopeful to attend. The credits should also transfer back into a public schools. I also read that if they are associated with a college or university it is a safe option(though I would always check out that claim and call first) I do not know about GEDs. I am speaking of self paced/online schools. Some of which do offer GEDs. There are also different types of diplomas to seek. Some of which are not adequate for college seeking requirements.
I have noticed that there are many schools named National High School but the one that I looked into seems legitimate.(out of Atlanta?) If someone has heard otherwise please let me know --also Northstar Academy(out of Mississippi)?. I am reading concerning comments so will be doing much more research before taking steps in this direction for my family --- we are in need of flexibility due to frequent moves.

I went to the Department of education Web sight in 2005, looking for online Ged course, and there is where I found Enterprise high school, and took the test,paid the tuition got all my papers, and certificates in the mail. I want to why this was listed in the doe web sight as a school???? this is what is wrong with the internet, there are so may scams, and there is no sight you can actually trust.

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