Degree-Granting Authority

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Disciple, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. Disciple

    Disciple New Member

    What exactely is it and what are the requirements to get it?

    Are there unaccredited mills that have degree-grantin authority?
  2. Oherra

    Oherra New Member

    I'm not an expert but if I'm not mistaken "Degree-Granting Authority" would mean approval by the government in a given jurisdiction to confer degrees.

    There are some schools, such as state approved schools, which are not accredited regionally or nationally but are legally allowed to confer degrees. The utility of those degrees, outside of the jurisdiction that allows them, is questionable at best.
  3. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Degree granting authority is a real thing in most countries of the world. In the USA it is not necessarily. Depending on state laws, there's nothing special required to claim degree granting authority. Anyone can claim to have it at any time and as long as they aren't doing it to defraud then it is perfectly legal, at least within some states.
  4. Pete

    Pete New Member

    Degree granting authority

    If you're looking for how degree granting authority works in a specific state, try a google search with something like the following expression:

    <your-state-here> "degree granting" authority AND ( OR

    This way you only get stuff from government sites and in some cases the actual state law/regulations.
  5. Just for the sake of discussion...

    Do you think that Liberia has actually granted authority to issue degrees to Saint Regis University? If so, wouldn't this (no matter what we think of them or their approach) cause them to be seen in the same light as other foreign institutions who have been given authority to grant degrees by some national oversight body?

    I understand the issues with the "war-torn country" and "corruption" and "Charles Taylor", and agree with AACRAO that Liberian accreditation needs to be taken with a high degree of skepticism, but I still wonder if one could draw the conclusion from your statement that, on the surface of it anyway, they may be "legitimate" from the standpoint of having national approval from their "home country"?
    - Carl
  6. roysavia

    roysavia New Member

    Re: Just for the sake of discussion...

    I don't believe that any country, regardless of political climate, would grant authority to grant degrees to an institution that bases it's entire academic policies and curriculum on "resume assessment". If you look at other countries you will see that degree granting authority is awarded only to those institutions that have rigorous DL programs. In other words, students have to study, write papers and take exams for several years before being awarded a degree.
  7. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Re: Just for the sake of discussion...


    At the time, there was essentially no higher education system in Liberia. (There was essentially no legitimate governement let alone higher education system.) It was all in chaos. It appears to me that SRU found someone that could claim to be part of the Liberian government to join them in defrauding others into believing that SRU was accredited.

    It takes more than a magic wand to create a legitimate university. No matter how powerful that wand may be, it cannot turn a diploma mill into a legitimate university. There have been far more powerful looking magic wands wielded than the Liberian wand. Take the St. Kitts wand as an example, it was wielded on institutions that appear much closer to legitimate than SRU. Yet it too ultimately appears to have fallen short.

    The con men starting up diploma mills keep coming up with new methods to put the facade of legitimacy on their institution. It works to varying degrees. The worldwide academic community will eventually adjust and see the facade for what it really is. Are mistakes sometimes made? Absolutely, just like other crimes, sometimes criminals get away with their crimes. It doesn't mean that we have to accept the criminal or the crime though.
  8. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    In the United States, it varies from state to state.

    In California, the CA Education Code reads:

    SECTION 94900-94905
    94900. (a) No private postsecondary educational institution may issue, confer, or award an academic or honorary degree unless the institution is approved by the council to operate in California and award degrees.

    Actually, I'm inclined to agree with Bill Huffman that the whole idea of degree granting authority is kind of foreign to the United States. It's not like degree-granting authority is something that the government has a supply of and then doles out to universities. In the US, degree granting authority is just something that schools create for themselves. The philosophy is that people can do pretty much anything they want to do unless the law regulates, restricts or prohibits it. In this case every state government tries to regulate higher education in the public interest by putting various conditions on who can legally grant degrees.

    In some countries schools don't have degree granting authority until the government builds it up. Here everyone starts out with degree granting authority and the government trims it down.

    The relevance of this pedantry is most obvious in religious exemptions. The courts have ruled that the government has to keep its hands off the exercise of religion. Religious education is part of the exercise of religion. So religious schools retain their native degree granting authority without any government trimming. As long as they stick to religion, they can do pretty much anything they want.

    Sure. Just look at some of the things that have oozed in through the religious exemption loophole.
  9. ianmoseley

    ianmoseley New Member

    UK Authority

    In the UK we have the anomalous situation that, if you claim to be issuing UK degrees then you have to be a government recognised body ( the Department for Education and Skills which runs a searchable list at However, if you are offering a degree issued by a foreign entity, there are no direct controls.

    There are indirect controls such as the Trade Descriptions Act (Section 14 making false statements as to the provision of a service) but they can be difficult to prove as it means obtaining formal statements from abroad.
  10. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Re: UK Authority

    Hi Ian,

    The amount of mills that operate on UK soil, using this loophole is quite embarrasing. I do recall there was some review going on regarding this piece of legislation. Do you know if this is still in train?


  11. ianmoseley

    ianmoseley New Member

    There may be something in the pipeline, but they seem more concerned with student loans and top up fees at the moment
  12. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Mmm, funnily enough we have the same problem in Oz.


  13. ianmoseley

    ianmoseley New Member

    DFES website

    There does not seem to be any mention of any changes to the current regime on the DFES web site, although there is some helpful info on

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