Groupon University

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Kizmet, Feb 12, 2020.

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  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure that's entirely true. Thirty seems to be the minimum found anywhere.
     
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Using Bourdieu's Capital Theory, there is an exchange of two forms of capital (from each side--school and student) when one pursues a college degree. The student offers up his/her money and academic effort. The school offers up the learning experience and the degree.

    A diploma mill bypasses (to whatever extent--"diploma mill" being in the eye of the beholder) two of these: academic effort and the learning experience. It boils down to exchanging the degree for the money.

    Legitimate schools have been caught doing this on occasion--the University of Massachusetts came under some scrutiny for Dr William H. Cosby, Jr. But for the vast majority of these transactions, it is some body (person, business, whatever) posing as a real university that is doing the selling. In this case, there is another form of capital being exchanged: verification. The "credentials" issued by a diploma mill are designed to back up one's spurious claim to a degree. Diplomas, transcripts, even letters of recommendation can be fashioned. Some will even answer inquiries and back up these claims--some even by phone. (All of that comes with a legitimate degree, too.)

    So, why does this all work? Because the vast majority of people simply don't check. It is the basis of so much fraud and flim-flamming in the world. We accept so much of what we're told prima facie. The guy that pulls you over when you're driving is a cop, until he isn't. The boy who gave you a check-up and prescription is a doctor, until he isn't. Do your pharmacist, attorney, and/or CPA have proper credentials and licenses? Probably, but you don't know because you simply don't check. You might think someone else has, but you might be wrong.

    So, an MBA from the Universidad Isabel in Spain, huh? Why not? Is it comparable to an RA MBA in the US? Probably not. Will it matter? Probably not. In fact, you could just print up a fake diploma and get on with it for a lot less than $299, and you don't need a Groupon. Odds are, no one will check and no one will know.

    But if you do go through the process--you exchange not only your money but also your hard work--will that make the degree more legitimate? No. But it might save you if you're uncovered. Might. Because most people caught with a degree from a diploma mill make the same claim: I didn't know it wasn't accredited but I did the work to earn the degree. Again, you're in the exact same position as someone who just bought a diploma straight-away, arguing that what you did was legitimate even if your partner in your construct--the school--is not.

    But what about people who've graduated from legitimate unaccredited schools? Aren't they in the same situation? Yes. They've done legitimate work to earn a degree that may or may not hold up in every situation. But each individual situation is different. As John Bear once said, One man's diploma mill is another man's alternative university. So do it, don't do it, whatever. Just know that your degree--whether from Stanford, Koala Kai U*, or Universidad Isabel--will or will not be accepted as each situation arises. Choose wisely.

    (*Not a real thing. But the Quickbook commercials are charming for fans of the Karate Kid.)
     
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Mostly, but LLM degrees have as few as 24.
     
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Based on what?
     
    Stanislav likes this.
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I suppose that in some ways that's true but if, for example, a school was to create a 30 credit Counseling Psych Masters this might be enough to award a degree but that degree program is not going to achieve professional accreditation and that program graduate is not going to qualify for state licensure. So the grad might have a Masters but that degree is only worth a fraction of the worth of a similar 36 credit Masters from another school.
     
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm accepting at face value what was said in this thread about the school's recognition in Spain.
     
  7. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I second this question. Based on what?
    On the face of it, this is legitimate. The whole process mirrors what seems to be an accepted practice in Spain; the only real innovation is cost. ENEB itself was a long time teaching provider for awards validated by other schools, and by the look of it, it is by far not the only school doing so. There are "colleges" like this in UK also; sometimes they have a bit of a fly-by-night quality, but the awards come from Universities and are above the board. I took computerized ACCA exams at their partner institution in Canada; at the time, it looked like the school was mostly defunct and consisted of an owner-operator running multiple businesses from a small office (including a start-up new college; he even roped me into debugging his website for 20 minutes). Their computer did have the software and sent results to ACCA, though.
    OTOH, I am not prepared to say this thing is 100% RA-equivalent though. This represents a level of recognition (titulo propio) that does not have an exact equivalent in US. I believe it is seen in Spain as legitimate, but not on par with titulo official. NA, maybe?
    We have seen Polish two-semester "DBA" post-secondary diplomas pushed here. These are legal, but not degrees, and not seen as degrees in Poland. In contrast to that alleged "DBA", Universidad Isabel MBA is 180 ECTS credits, and is comparable to the standard degree (to the extent a standard can be defined here), so I do NOT see what they're doing as deceptive in any way. Too creative by half, maybe, but not deceptive. And unlike degree mills, a student does not do anything wrong here, so the "cover" for a time bomb scenario SHOULD hold. Will it, in all scenarios? It will not; but you know as well as I do people reject Phoenix degrees as "milled". Ignorance cuts both ways.
    P. S. I can make a Levicovian argument that UoPx where you worked was a degree mill, while MeritusU where I did was not - because the latter folded before issuing ANY degrees, except maybe for little certificates for completing faculty training (I have one). Fact is, they both used the exact same curriculum, which cleared the minimum RA (in MU case, New Brunswick provincial) bar. Apollo did a lot of shady stuff, what it didn't do is operate mills.
     
  8. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I don't follow. The school is recognized in Spain; it offers programs both officiel and propio, and I reasonably assume that they are accepted there as such, in Spain.
     
    engadnan likes this.
  9. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Good point. It would lack a lot of the utility of a standard Counseling Psych degree. However, should a school offer this degree for $249, it could just find its niche. To wit, a personal interest degree, or as a professional development program for teachers, managers, priests, military officers, law enforcement, managers etc. etc. etc., for adjuncting, or as a check-the-box for promotions. Frankly, I still ponder maybe doing this program, even though I see absolutely no utility in terms of enhancing my CV whatsoever.
     
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    OK, then my next thought is to question the delivery method. Is this credential, ultimately from Universidad Isabel, just a bunch of MOOCs strung together, taught courses or something else? If the former - who wrote the MOOC? If the latter - who teaches the course?
     
  11. AsianStew

    AsianStew Active Member

    In regards to getting credentials from Groupon, I have several 6sigma/Lean certificates from MSI, and all the "deals" are on Groupon. I would have never bought anything directly from MSI (Management & Strategy Institute) for a regular price as it would have been 3 or 4 times more expensive, the Groupon deal was a "package". Their programs are not ASQ certified but IASSC - think of it as RA vs NA or AACSB vs ACBSP.

    Yes, it's from Universidad Isabel I - you actually get two parchments, one from ENEB and one from Universidad Isabel I for finishing their joint programs. Essentially ENEB creates the courses using their own online medium, it's self-paced, once you get the assignments done, you wait for the grading to be completed. Basically, I think of it this way, you're using alternative credits such as CLEP, and you're transferring it into one of the Big 3 and ultimately graduating from one of those Big 3 options. You're substituting CLEP with ENEB and say COSC/EC or TESU with Univ Isabel I.
     
  12. engadnan

    engadnan Member

    I believe that the terminology of a 'teaching partnership' really suits this scenario, and just as someone pointed out on https://www.degreeforum.net/, it's a common arrangement in a number of countries.
     
  13. engadnan

    engadnan Member

    It's mostly "self-paced" as AsianStew pointed out, nevertheless, the content is well structured and possess rich information for anyone really willing to sit and learn.
     
  14. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    30 is also the minimum I have seen in the U.S. However, it still comes down to a school's choice about whether the program will be 30, 40, or whatever amount above the minimum. Lamar program was 36 credits when I started but we had the option to switch to the newly introduced 30-credit program or stay in the 36-credit program. I guess they have to seek accreditor's approval to make credit changes. I have seen instances where HLC approved institutions' requests to reduce their credit requirements.
     
  15. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    In those cases, the school would clearly state that the program won't meet the licensure requirements. The degree would no less be a real master's degree. I don't think there's any state that requires less than 60 credits to become an LCSW, LPC, LMHC, etc.
     
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It would be interesting to see if degrees awarded "propio" would be evaluated comparably by foreign credential evaluators. If I'm understanding this--and it's not uncommon elsewhere--the school has an approved scope and then can do what it wants outside that scope. If so, what is the difference? I have to think there is one. Why else do they make that distinction?
     
  17. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is no difference; it just seems not to be the kind of difference between an accredited and a degree mill document. These propio degrees are certainly not regulated to an extent officiel degrees are; there seem to have some regulation on eg. the minimum amount of credit/instructional hours that go to these things. Both kind of degrees are well known in Spain, and people put them on resumes; this doesn't mean that they are perceived as the same in prestige or utility. This, to me, suggests a difference much more like the one between RA and NA (perhaps sharper) than between RA and a fake degree. There is no element of deception.
    I would be very interested in evaluation reports for these things as well. In another thread, RFValve reported that he has a titulo propio Masters from another school, and that WES Canada evaluated it as a diploma of 30 credits on graduate level - but not as a Master's degree. So there's that. One caveat is that other NACES members can be more or less generous, another is WES itself might have changed the policies to be more or less generous (although if it did I'd bet for less recognition rather than more). So, at least according to this, not exactly a RA degree, also not a mill. Of course there's a perception of the program itself, and it advertises for $249 on Groupon, so potential problems there. I would not rely on it for a career, but can be useful as training, a credential not unlike a Coursera certificate, or maybe for graduate credits where school name and degree award are irrelevant (advancement on a promotion grid? adjunct teaching?).
     
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I don't know. These things have a feeling of, "We approve these degrees here. Go ahead and do whatever else you like, but without our approval." Kinda "off book," you know?

    Empresarial University had such an arrangement. Approved to award one master's degree in business, it nonetheless allowed an off-shore operation to set up and award doctoral degrees from Empresarial. While you will not find a PhD within the scope of Empresarial's accreditation, a search on the internet will turn up people with a PhD from there. Whether Empresarial University publicizes the offering of the doctorate depends on where you look, and in which language. They are approved to offer degrees through the master's in a few fields, but seem to be allowed to offer whatever else they want. Sound familiar?

    Something similar almost happened here in the US. The University of Management and Technology, accredited by DEAC, was also recognized as a Registered Education Provider (REP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI). That meant the training one received from UMT in project management could be used to obtain and retain PMI credentials like the PMP. Well, back when I was a PMP, I was looking at PMI's website where they had listed degree-granting schools who were also REPs. One of the listings was for a PhD in Project Management from UMT.

    Well, as we know, DEAC did not have the scope to accredit schools offering the PhD. When I contacted UMT, they confirmed that the PhD was under development, but it was accredited by PMI, not DEAC. (Precisely, DETC at the time.)

    When I emailed Mike Lambert, then head of DEAC, he wrote back and said he would look into it. I subsequently received an email from Mr Lambert, telling me that UMT denied it. Mr Lambert also accused me of lying about it, despite the fact that (a) I had no vested interest in the situation and (b) PMI had it right there on their website. Soon, that listing was removed and UMT eventually introduced a DBA with, you guessed it, a concentration in project management. (The DBA, unlike the PhD, was withing DEAC's accreditation scope.)

    DEAC under Mr Lambert was also in the habit of granting accreditation to foreign universities, despite the fact that they were (a) residential with DL programs (thus, outside DEAC's scope) and (b) offered the PhD. DEAC "accredited" the University of Leicester, UNISA, and others. These accreditations seem to have ended.
     
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Another on this list was Deakin University in Australia. They had DETC accreditation for a short while then dropped it. There was speculation as to why Deakin (or any of the others) would go to the trouble of getting the accreditation only to turn around and drop it one or two years later, but no one really knew that answer. Fishing for US financial aid dollars?
     
  20. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    No. Those are available without securing US accreditation. Many foreign schools have been approved to participate in FAFSA, most of whom do not carry American accreditation. Some allow American students studying abroad to use federal financial aid. Others are approved for deferment of your student loans only. Note that Americans studying at a distance are not eligible for FAFSA. In other words, you cannot get a federal student loan or grant to pursue a degree from a foreign school by distance learning. But you can defer existing loans from previous degrees while pursuing those studies.

    I can't speak for other schools, but I can about the University of Leicester. When was was then called the Centre for Labour Market Studies (CLMS) was established, it was quite independent in the university's structure. It wasn't even part of another department. The University had already been approved for FAFSA, but the CLMS was interested in pursuing the American market for its degree programs. Thus, it applied for, and received, accreditation from then-DETC. I don't have insight into the process to get accredited, but it almost certainly did not involve the entire university but, rather, what the CLMS was doing. By the time I entered the picture--I signed an agreement to represent the CLMS in the US--they were already debating whether to continue with DETC. They just didn't see the value. I asked that they stay on a bit while I explored getting a foothold in the US market. (A previous representative--known to this board--had sold his/her interests in a much bigger operation and the rights to represent the CLMS has reverted back to the school for re-assignment--meaning me.) After sinking a serious amount of money into setting up and launching an ad campaign, I realized our efforts were drowned in competition--why get your degree from a foreign school when so many domestic options were available? Even though we had them beaten on price and employed a uniquely individual design, it wasn't enough and I shut it down after several months and a lot of money. The CLMS dropped the DETC soon afterwards. Several years later, the programs operated by the CLMS were brought under the School of Management and the CLMS was dissolved.
     
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