Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'The Monterrey Institute for Graduate Studies' started by mdg1775, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

    Everytime I look at anything with the term MIGS I get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach....

    Yes, I sent in the $50.00 to get an evaluation, and I got back a very pretty Assessment (similar to TESC), that told me that I needed about 24 more Semester Hours to begin my Dissert!

    And Yes, I sent in $500.00 to get started...not so pretty when the veil falls off!!

    This is just a testament of what I should have done!! I should have perused this forum much sooner and not fallen prey! Now, what do I do? (Not me Per'se). But what does someone do when they fall prey to this type of situation....a Disgusting Degree Mill! Me? I have learned my lesson!


  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    As you state Mike, learn a lesson. Not much can be done after the fact, except learn from the experience. And in any future academic pursuits:

    Do the research.
    Make sure the program will meet one's present/future needs.
  3. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

    Re: Re: Lessons Learned

    Great advice Russell! You know, I probably should have posted this thread on the main board because there will be others who may be subjected to a moment of "self-ignorance" and enroll in a program without having the concrete facts....Well I guess its not ignorance until it happens twice!!


    AA Burlington College
    MS Southwest Mo State
    JD Chapman Univ (In Progress)
  4. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    Re: Re: Lessons Learned

    Considering that MIGS is essentially defunct, any lessons learned would have to be applied to new schools in new situations.

    I'm not sure that Degreeinfo is ready.

    To me, the real lesson here is that "GAAP" is inadaquate as it stands. Defining foreign schools as accreditation-equivalent simply because they are listed in a reference book opens a tremendous loophole if that reference book is uncritical. So lesson number one is the spectre of the off-shore accreditation havens that "GAAP" inadvertantly makes possible.

    MIGS set out from the beginning to find a back door to "GAAP" compliance. Others in the Caribbean have found other paths. Malawi is being sounded out. We will only see more in the months and years ahead.

    The question now becomes how Degreeinfo responds to the situation. Is this loophole something for us to exploit, and to recommend that others exploit? Or it is something to point out in the hopes that employers, universities and credential evaluators become a little more critical and discerning?
  5. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member


    We have some very powerful people that peruse this forum that can..."Re-think" using a "GAAP" catch term for foreign schools. I do remember seeing the MIGS page in 25th anniversary edition of a guide that had them listed as "GAAP" accredited. That puts them into the same category with a lot of schools, which they have never been worthy of being in any category of Distance Education.

    I really think that when they had Rich Douglas working there and were making efforts to get their stuff together that they were headed in the right direction. But the powers that be over there found that it would be too hard to do things the right way and started cutting corners (Rich didn't have anything to do with that part of things and smartly got out of there prior to the whole debacle with the Government of NL and such). Maybe, when a program is like MIGs we should hold our critique or wait a few months to see how they pan out. I think that the research that was done by many members of this panel was excellent, however the gloves came off after too many people had bought into the program. And with that....my demons are exorcised...this room is clean!!
  6. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    It's easy to say on this end, but $550.00 is fairly cheap to learn such a lesson. Imagine what your debt would be if the MIGS scam survived long enough for you to "enroll".

    I was always skeptical of MIGS (although I never imagined the sleazy crap they would pull with the Levicoff lawsuit) simply because they were in unchartered waters (totally non-residential doctorates in many fields). When BG14 came out and their accreditation status was listed as "confirmation pending", that was enough for me to withold any judgement. I'm glad I did.

  7. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    The fact that MIGS showed up as a GAAP school in BG14 was a function of its listing in the UNESCO handbook.

    However, John and Rich have discovered, since collecting further data from the registrars of various colleges and universities that, collectively, create the principles on which GAAP is based, that the UNESCO handbook is rarely used today as an accreditation reference.

    Most of the schools with questionable GAAP accreditation are ones whose sole claim to legitimacy is through listing in the UNESCO handbook.

    Since few, if any, colleges and universities rely on the UNESCO handbook as a reference source for determining acceptablility of degrees, it seems sensible that BG15 will probably have revised GAAP criteria that reflect the *current* thinking of the registrars who, collectively, create the general acceptance.

    Unfortunately, there will always be people like Sheila who aren't interested in following the *spirit* of the law or rule or regulation, but who are only interested in finding some sort of scam to get around it. And as such scams are discovered, the registrars will continue to revise what they generally accept.

    So the Sheilas of the world will never win, long term... but they might succeed in pulling the wool over some people's eyes for a short time. And that's where the DegreeInfo community can help. By pointing out impropriety when we see it, we help let people know of the "too-good-to-be-true" situations.

    BTW: To mdg1775: I would strongly suggest that you write a stern letter to MIGS/CEU/Danzig.com/etc and insist that they give you a full refund of your tuition, using the reasoning that MIGS is and has always been illegally operating in at least two states.

    My guess is that, given the circumstances, refusing to return your money could probably open up Sheila and the gang for criminal liability... and while Sheila may be a lot of things, I don't think "jailbird" is something she wants to add to her list of accomplishments.
  8. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

    Thanks Chip for the Advice

    You are absolutely right...If I sit back and don't do anything to try to recoup my monetary losses, I am not doing the right thing. I have the resources to take action and I think that I will!

    BTW, although MIGS has been listed in BG's as GAAP, that was not why I enrolled. I would have enrolled anyway because I thought that they presented themselves to me very well, they were well thought out (in my initial perception), and they appearded to be a "perfect fit" for what I was trying to do in the timeframe that I needed to do it in. The GAAP was just a bonus! I think that BG's are great assets to the DL/Academic Community(as well as this beloved forum) and I have nearly three dozen of them circulating all over my office at work. It is a key tool for someone who is trying to get their degree path figured out...and I wouldn't recommend that anyone go without it (along with an enormous amount of conducting your own personal research).

    Like I Said at the start of this thread...this was a lesson learned for me because I won't make the same mistake again. I hope it will be a lesson for anyone who has followed MIGS/this forum so that they will invest the time it takes, and utilize the tools (this forum, BG's, Petersons, whatever it takes) to get a degree that will serve them for their intended purpose.

    As Always...Sincere Regards!

    Mike Gibbs
    AS Burlington County College
    MSAS Southwest Mo State (On Hold)
    JD Chapman Univ (In Progress)
  9. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Hey, Mike.... congrats on your willingness to go after this situation. Have you considered locating other MIGS students and going the class action route? Given the action by TX and FL authorities, and the information uncovered by Gus (search this forum and you'll see), not to mention Sheila's checkered past it should be a slam dunk.

    Oh, and just in case anyone isn't already confused enough, MIGS has been claiming (since FL authorities shut them down and TX authorities fined them $250,000) that it's really not MIGS at all, but instead it is the CEU in Monterrey, Mexico. They've even opened up the Mexican equivalent of a Mailboxes, Etc box in Monterrey (which almost surely route all mail back to Sheila's offices in FL) to throw people off the scent.

    Of course, the problem is that when someone calls CEU, nobody there knows anything about the DL program, and refers all calls to the MIGS/CEU office that's supposedly closed (to comply with FL regs), but, as far as anyone knows, is still operating out of the vast make-money-quick offices of Sheila's other enterprises in FL.

    The CEU is a legitimate school, but last I heard, it was still questionable whether they have authority to grant "doctorados", much less Ph.D. degrees. They have no experience in doing DL. And even though CEU is supposedly running the show, everything, administratively and educationally, relating to distance learning is apparently run out of Florida.

    So much for the "We're CEU" argument. But that should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Sheila and her exploits.
  10. irat

    irat New Member

    hard to go after a company in Mex.

    I wonder if the North American Free Trade Act applies to MIGS. Would TX and FL be violating that law by not allowing MIGS to operate in their states?
    In tems of students getting refunded money for non-service. or getting refunded money for allegedly false advertising. Haven't Sheila and that crowd disapeared for awhile? or would CEU end up holding the bag?
    If I understand the process, people move around setting up these schemes. Wouldn't they be setting up the next distance college/university?
    All the best!
  11. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    Re: hard to go after a company in Mex.

    I assume you'd have to follow the money trail. I'm sure that either the credit card charges or the check cashings would lead to MIGS. That is the only thing that makes sense to me. Since MIGS was set up by Sheila, it would only make sense to me for that to be the destination of all MIGS income. I would be surprised if CEU had seen any financial gain and anything that eventually did end up there would have been paid out by Sheila anyway.

    I assume that CEU thought at first that they were getting in on a real academic project. When they learned more about the background of MIGS, i.e., the MIGS founder's background was not in education but was instead in get-rich-quick-schemes, I would guess that they started to just stonewall the whole project. In the meantime, the slimy MIGS lawyer's lies were doing their damage as Texas and Florida were both quickly moving in on the scheme and putting it to rest in relatively short order.
  12. irat

    irat New Member

    non-profit and corporate responsibility

    I don't know how the law works in Mexico. I sometimes can't figure out court decisions in the usa. But, in terms of liability, if MIGS was a CEU program, the board of trustees for CEU is financially responsible. The buck stops there.
    If MIGS was never a part of CEU and used the CEU name without consent, then CEU needs to disavow the connection and sue MIGS or allegedly fraudulent use of their good name and allegedly harming their repuation.
    I'm not a lawyer. So maybe some of you who have a better legal background can comment?
    In little Burlington Vt, Burlington College had a relationship with a contractor in Isreal who allegedly sold Burlingon College degrees. Burlington College his issued press releases indicating the nature of the contract, has issued press releases indicating the student products that are part of students records, and has issued press releases suggesting it will sue the Israel contractor for violation of contract, if the selling degrees allegation turn out to be valid.
    I think Burlington College is acting like the legimate school that it is. I have not heard any comparable press from CEU.
    All the best!
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Lessons Learned

    By point exactly, Bill. If someone has been bitten by a degree mill bug--learn a lesson. It never has to happen again. And if such stories are shared, perhaps others can be deterred from pursuing such a route.
  14. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Re: non-profit and corporate responsibility

    I think the issue here is that the CEU probably has almost *NO IDEA* what's going on at all. My guess is that Sheila made an arms-length financial arrangement with CEU. Armando told John and I that, basically, MIGS hired all staff, recruited all students, oversaw all educational services, and CEU had next to nothing to do with anything, other than issuing the diplomas. That pretty much sounds like a "rent their accreditation" service, if you ask me.

    Also, keep in mind that Armando Arias, the *president* of MIGS, didn't even know that MIGS had been fined $250K by Texas until a reporter told him. That's how much Sheila keeps people in the loop.

    As such, CEU probably was (and maybe still is) entirely out of the loop as far as Sheila's shady dealings, and probably has no idea that their program's reputation is being dragged through the mud by the Keystone Cops antics of Sheila and co.
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Chip's assessment/memory is pretty right on. Here's my take:

    Arias, IMHO, didn't realize to the extent the "arms-length" arrangement went. I really think he believed--and made me believe--there was a symbiosis available between MIGS and the CEU. MIGS would conduct and award degrees blessed by the CEU. The student teaching the master, if you will, because the CEU didn't have the staff nor the faculty qualified to really monitor, approve, manage, etc. something like MIGS. Still, there was supposed to be the oversight of the Nuevo Leon Secretary of Education, along with the CEU's supposed authority to add these programs and award these degrees.

    The listing in IHU was more of a bonus, a confidence builder. But it was the CEU's authority to award the degrees that mattered. And that now doesn't seem to exist.

    I, too, am left a little bit short monetarily. I paid $15 for an applciation fee, and $100 for my evaluation. I never took a day of registered instruction, however, and did grunt work for them for a year before it finally became clear that they were going to live down to their critics instead of up to their supposed plans.

    "GAAP" is a description. The CEU awarding degrees it is authorized to award would not, under other circumstances, be controversial. Their approval as a degree-awarding Mexican university and listing in the PIER Country Series for Mexico would largely take care of that. But they weren't, as Chip noted, involved in MIGS. I don't even think they intended to award the MIGS-earned degrees. That would be left to MIGS. The result would have been a useless piece of paper.
  16. irat

    irat New Member

    CEU or an individual at CEU

    It would seem to me that either the CEU representative who entered into the MIGS deal did it with the backing of CEU, or without.
    If he/she did it with the backing of the CEU board of trustees, or someone the board designated to make such arrangements, then CEU holds the bag.
    If the CEU rep. did not have the authority, then CEU needs to discipline that individual and publically and loudly state its honorable and righteous position.
    I think there was a case with a south american college/university in which a few individuals were marketing distance degrees unknown (?) to the local officials. That could be the case with MIGS.
    Burlington College in VT may be caught in that kind of scam as well. It is alleged that a Burlington College contractor was selling degrees in Israel.
    I think the CEU board/President has to take a position. For a while MIGS dopped the "MIGS" from its website and went just with CEU. Can it be more blatant than that?
    All the best!
  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: CEU or an individual at CEU

    This is not indicative of the CEU's involvement, or lack thereof. MIGS was spanked by Florida authorities for not having a license to operate there. Also, the MIGS staff had spoiled the MIGS name; it was less than worthless, it was detrimental. So MIGS attempted to show a closer relationship with the CEU and also eliminated the MIGS monniker. The address change (where they rented a post-office drop in Monterrey) came about when Florida not only denied their license to operate, they ordered MIGS to stop calling itself a university and to stop calling it "accredited." Finally, Florida told MIGS to cease operating in the state. So MIGS came up with the mail-forwarding address in Monterrey. But they still operated from Ft Lauderdale, where their phones also rang.
  18. irat

    irat New Member

    MIGS on resumes

    Judith A. Margulies lists MIGS on her on-line resume.
    "...enrolled Monterry Institute of Graduate Study to complete dissertation..."
    I wonder how the completion of the dissertatin is going?
    All the best!
  19. levicoff

    levicoff Guest

  20. irat

    irat New Member

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