South Dakota

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by David Boyd, Feb 20, 2001.

  1. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    SB 160 would eliminate all diploma mills in South Dakota. (It would also make starting any new private school in South Dakota impossible.)

    Any comments?




    VERSION: Engrossed

    VERSION-DATE: February 8, 2001

    SYNOPSIS: FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to prohibit the offering of postsecondary education credit or degree by nonaccredited


    Section 1. That chapter 13-49 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

    No person, Indian tribe, or state may offer postsecondary education credit or degree in South Dakota, or while organized under the laws of South Dakota, unless currently participating in any federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended to January 1, 2001. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor and subjects the violator to a civil penalty of twenty-five thousand dollars. The provisions of this section do not apply to a religious institution that offers credit or degree solely for the purpose of conferring status or authority within that religion.

    SPONSOR: Brown
  2. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

    As drafted, doesn't this appear to prohibit the existence of even those unaccredited institutions that are taking all necessary steps and have all the necessary resources to obtain full accreditation? Perhaps the provision of the Higher Ed Act referred to in the bill makes some provision for this, but otherwise it seemingly prohibits the formation of any new college or university.
  3. David Boyd

    David Boyd New Member

    It's my understanding an institution must be accredited (or candidate) to participate under Title IV. Even DETC accredited schools are not eligible for Title IV.
  4. Lawrence

    Lawrence New Member

    What ever it is! South Dakota State is the best state that take necessary step to weed out degree mill. I commend South Dakota for doing that. Also, Oregon State is the second best.
    As far as the Far West, Idaho and California, I think this 2 states should reconsider their lack of laws and regulation on degree mill. Shame on them!!! I hope the politician as well as Dept of Ed. employees don't sleep well.

    Larry T.
  5. Ohnalee

    Ohnalee New Member

    I'm puzzled by the wording of the criteria. Why is it stipulated that the school must be currently eligible to receive Title IV? Why not deem schools eligible to operate in SD if they are accredited by USDE-recognized accrediting agencies?

    Granted, the big reason for a school to get RA is eligibility for Title IV. Maybe the answer is just "semantics".
  6. mlomker

    mlomker New Member

    The sponsor of this bill may be well intended but the wording is flawed on a number of levels. RA schools are not required to participate in federal student loan programs. This law could actually exclude RA schools under some circumstances (temporary suspension from the federal loan program for loan defaults, etc.).
  7. Good intentions, but it does seem overly strict -- no allowance for schools to get started and pursue accreditation.

    Kristin Evenson Hirst
    [email protected]
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Perhaps that is the intent. With a population of about 12 (don't quote me on that exactly, but it's close), South Dakota probably doesn't need any start-ups, especially if the price to pay for that is the persistence of the really bad schools that have flocked there to escape other environs.

    I don't like the "Title IV" jazz. There are many accredited schools that don't participate or are not eligible to participate. It seems they're looking for a way to ensure academic integrity without actually getting their hands dirty. But I imagine the State Commissioner of Education part-times it as the Justice of the Peace or something, and doesn't have the time. Of course, he could just deputize get the idea.

    I don't blame them, though. Small state with a big degree mill problem. Put the bar so high no bad schools can get over. Still, someone's going to have to enforce it.

    I'm just glad they didn't take the Oregon/Florida tack and try to make the use of certain degrees illegal. Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, doesn't work for drugs, and won't work for degree mills.

    Rich Douglas
  9. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    It does seem a bit overly strict, basically excluding new schools that could not possibly gain accreditation before starting operation.

    As much as I dislike a lot of the politics of my home state (MA), they seem to have a good way of dealing with higher education. Any higher ed institution in the state has to either be accredited by a recognized accreditor, or approved by the Board of Higher Education. A key thing is that the BOHE is given the resources necessary to back this up.

    I know of only one totally unaccredited school in Massachusetts, the Southern New England School of Law. They are 100% residential and totally legitimate (there is another law school, Massachusetts School of Law, that has regional but no ABA accreditation).

  10. Lawrence

    Lawrence New Member

    " schools that could not possibly gain accreditation before starting operation." - Both Kristin and Bruce think the same.

    So, there must be victims of a degree mill in order for a new school to gain accreditation?

    Is this an ethical dilemma or what? The process will not work without victims.

    This is one of a degree mill's defend.
    Sadly, I realize why so many schools don't seek legitemate accreditation.
    It simply because there is always required victims in every established schools.
    It is sad.

    Larry T.
  11. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    No, there is no ethical dilemma at all. Diploma mills, of which there are dozens in South Dakota, Wyoming, and other places, have two types of customers:

    1. Individuals who know they are buying fraudulent credentials. Here, the mills are conspiring to defraud potential employers, clients, and others by providing "students" with fraudulent credentials.

    This fraud harms the employer, who did not get what s/he paid for; the prospective employee with similar or superior skills who got passed up due to lack of a degree; and, potentially, the customer of the employer, if the employee with fraudulent credentials is unqualified to perform the task for which s/he is hired.

    2. Individuals who naively believe the deceptive claims and language used by these fraudulent unaccredited schools, and believe that they are earning a legitimate degree. I've already addressed this elsewhere.

    Both are simply wrong. There is no ethical dilemma at all. In the first case, the victim is not the "student", but those harmed by the student's fraud, which is co-conspired with the bogus school. In the second case, the victim is the student.

    In both cases, the mill owner wins, illicitly gaining money by defrauding someone.

    It's wrong. Plain and simple.
  12. David Yamada

    David Yamada New Member

    If the purpose of the bill is to discourage diploma mills, then the bill is too narrowly drafted. As written, a Rockefeller could plop 100s of millions of dollars into an effort to create the S.D. equivalent of the University of Chicago, but because it wouldn't be accredited at its inception, it would be instantly illegal under the proposed law.

    If the purpose of the bill is to discourage all start-up schools, however legitimate and intent on gaining RA, then the drafter is an idiot, pure and simple. Good schools attract jobs, income, and reputation that benefit the state.
  13. Frangop

    Frangop New Member

    SB160 ?????

    It sounds to me like the end of diploma mills in South Dakota is arrived.

  14. BizGuy

    BizGuy New Member

    My comment is; I think Mr. Boyd, as president of the unaccredited William Howard Taft University, is extremely nervous that his unaccredited Boyer School of Education, which has been relocated (in reality or not) to South Dakota, will be shut down. That's the unspoken point of his post.

    SB 160 would eliminate all diploma mills in South Dakota. (It would also
    make starting any new private school in South Dakota impossible.)

    Any comments?
  15. Bill Huffman

    Bill Huffman Well-Known Member

    It seems that here in the USA we're currently in midst of a degree mill and phoney credential crises. Something needs to be done, IMHO. Since each of the states make their own laws this problem isn't going to get better until the weak link states tighten up the laws against these fraudulent activities.

    To get it done right I think that we're going to also need tougher laws against claiming fraudulent credentials like Oregon's law and the law Florida tried to inact.

    I'm pleased that the South Dakota legislature is looking into the issue. In almost all other countries in the world government must give permission before a school can open for business. Perhaps something similar in this country might improve the situation? I bring this thought up because I was thinking perhaps this could be added to the South Dakota law.

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