State licensed Masters degree for 750 dollars!

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by laferney, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. laferney

    laferney Member

    The International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies (IICTS) has a Beta MASTER OF SCIENCE IN COUNTERTERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES entirely by DVD for 750 dollars. They have a Bachelor's for 1250 dollars and an Associate of Science Degree in Counterterrorism Studies by life experience for 1000. These programs can be completed fairly fast and they even accept transfer credit to shorten the time.
    They are honest about their lack of regional accreditation. International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies is licensed by the Department of Higher Education in the State of New Mexico.
    If a state licensed degree in this topic meets your needs then the price is right. Can't speak for the utility this degree might offer as again there is no national (DETC) or regional accreditation.

    http://www.iicts.com
     
  2. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    It would have been more informative had the International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies published the syllabus for the beta versions of their bachelor degree and master degree.
     
  3. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    It's one of Knightsbridge University's partners.

    http://www.knightsbridgeuniversity.com/partlinks.html

    IICTS' 'contact' page gives us this physical address:

    International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies Inc.
    4801 Lang NE
    Suite 110
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109
    (505)798-2606

    http://www.iicts.com/contact.html

    That's certainly an awfully crowded suite. Turns out it belongs to a mail-forwarding phone-answering virtual-office service called 'Office Alternatives'.

    http://www.officealternatives.com/OfficeAlternativesContactUs.php

    IICTS calls itself "the premier leader in private counterterrorism education and training worldwide... IICTS certification represents an internationally recognized standard for superior academic and operational performance in counterterrorism/SRT and SWAT specializations... IICTS has state of the art facilities available for it's use around the country and in several foreign countries.".

    http://www.iicts.com/tactacad.html

    It must all be very hush-hush. Googling "international institute for counterterrorism studies" generated 67 hits, most of them pages from its own website and blog. A search for "international institute for counter terrorism studies" (two words) generated 11 hits, mostly versions of the NM licensed list.

    There weren't any terrorism/security-related .gov hits and no .mil hits at all. Nobody mentions living near these very exotic IICTS facilities crawling with special forces and SAS commandos. There aren't any local hearings about them. (Wouldn't combat-training require some pretty hefty use permits?)

    Other colleges sell school sweatshirts and coffee mugs. These guys (they are definitely guys) endorse a line of official IICTS firearms:

    http://www.pof-usa.com/main.htm

    My guess is that these Patriot Ordinance Factory people might have some connection to whoever's running the school.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2008
  4. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

  5. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Actually that page has a heading of "Partners & Links". Nowhere on the International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies web site does it reference Knightsbridge University as a partner or affiliate.

    So I am not sure the International Institute for Counterterrorism Studies deserves to be tarred and feathered just yet, after all their web site clearly states they are state approved (NM) and all regionally accredited schools must operate for at least 2 years before being considered for accreditation. The degree programmes are in beta and presumably are the basis for their intention to earn regional accreditation. If these statements are true, then why the rush to judgment? The use of a virtual office may be a holdover from the pre-accreditation seeking days? I am simply asking a question so do not jump down my throat, please.
     
  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Historic web pages associated with the www.iicts.com address are archived at www.archive.org. They make for some interesting reading.

    The oldest pages, from 2004 and 2005, are incomplete, but they clearly include links to Knightsbridge University on the home page. There is also a link to an archived "Disclaimer" page (you may need to highlight the text to read it), which states:
    Apparently IICTS offered "Certificates", rather than degrees, at this time.

    The archives indicate that IICTS was advertising degrees from the New Mexico address in July 2006. They were much pricier then: a bachelor's was $7995, and a master's was $3995. In September 2006, a "Life Experience Associate's Degree" was also available, for "Only $3750".

    By February 2007, the bachelor's degree was discounted to $4995, and the associate's degree was discounted to $1995. The master's stayed at $3995.

    Their current page has the "beta" bachelor's at $1250, the "beta" master's at $750, and the life experience associate's degree at $1000.

    Private degree-granting schools in New Mexico have three years to pursue recognized accreditation. Since IICTS was apparently operating in New Mexico by July 2006, they may have less than one year to make demonstrable progress in this regard. However, there does not appear to be any mention of IICTS at the website of the North Central Association (the regional accreditation agency for New Mexico) or at the DETC website.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2008
  7. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    I wonder if they are really trying to be legitimate with the new degree which are currently marked as beta. Obviously, their previous offerings must have been academically lacking.

    Time will tell and rather soon if the deadline is July 2009. The question remains, has IICTS applied to any of the regional accreditation agencies?
     
  8. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Or perhaps they were overpriced. Or possibly both.

    If IICTS wants to pursue regional accreditation as a New Mexico-licensed school, then it can't apply to "any" regional accreditation agency. It has to apply to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, which is the regional accreditor for New Mexico.

    NCA's lists of "recent actions" and "upcoming visits" make no mention of IICTS (the "upcoming visits" include scheduled visits through May 2009). A search shows no mention of IICTS anywhere else on the NCA website. So the answer to your question appears to be "no" -- IICTS has apparently not applied for regional accreditation.

    According to the New Mexico Higher Education Dept.:
    This suggests that IICTS doesn't necessarily need to apply for regional accreditation -- national accreditation, as from DETC, would also work. But there is no evidence that IICTS has applied to DETC either.

    As another alternative, IICTS could move its operations to California, where there is currently no licensing of private post-secondary institutions. Since its New Mexico address appears to be that of a virtual-office service, it should not be difficult to switch to a similar virtual-office service in California.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2008
  9. imalcolm

    imalcolm New Member

    What's funny is that their Master's program requires that you have an RA Bachelor's... of course since their Bachelor's program is unaccredited, it is useless by their own standard!
     
  10. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    I've seen this pretty frequently in ads for teaching positions at NA schools; RA credentials are required, which makes me wonder why they don't have more confidence in what they're selling.
     
  11. dlady

    dlady Active Member

    I sent them an email to ask about their status and programs, and here is the automated reply I got back titled "IICTS Transition". Seems to answer, in a round about way, the three year NM issue:

    "Hi Everyone! Well, we are about to start a year of hectic work. We are currently
    transferring over to a new management team and many of our current managers are
    deploying to various areas to practice their trade of counterterrorism. The new
    team is coming on board right now old team heading to Iraq, Afghanistan and
    other exotic areas! Our servers are currently down and in transit to the new
    team. Our head office will still be in Albuquerque, NM, but our student services
    and records will be transferring to new locations. If you do not get a hold of
    us, please DO NOT WORRY. Degrees are still being printed and going out and we
    are still receiving assignments by mail and email. If you are interested in the
    Beta programs, enroll now as we are about to stop enrollment very soon. Thanks!
    IICTS Mgt Team"
     
  12. jerryclick

    jerryclick New Member

    UH OH!! This does not bode well.
     
  13. pacificamark

    pacificamark New Member

    Well I'm just finishing up my with the school and received this email when I inquired to confirm where I should ship my CD full of assignments:

    The International Law Group will be assisting IICTS in their licensing and accreditation processes this year. IICTS has had several issues with it's servers this year which has caused several issues with enrollments being lost and orders being unfulfilled. If you please let us know, we will rectify this immediately. IICTS is still in operation, but currently transitioning management and we will be assisting them in this process. Thanks for your patience.

    The International Law Group
    admin [at] intl-law-group.com


    They still continue to offer this beta program which has been "ending soon" for quite some time now. For me at this point in my life it is what it is, and maybe in this economy it will help me to rise above the pool of applicants if I'm lucky.
     
  14. JAVANESE

    JAVANESE New Member

    Hi Pasificamark,

    I'm trying to send them emails regarding the beta program:

    1. [email protected], result: auto-reply advising to send the mail to [email protected]

    2. [email protected], result: email failed to send, mail-box unavailable

    3. [email protected], result: auto-reply advising to send the mail to [email protected]

    Is there any other way to contact them?

    I'm really interested on their Beta Master program but I need a few things confirmed first prior to enrollment (paying the fee using paypal). Thank you.
     
  15. pacificamark

    pacificamark New Member

    I would highly recommend you not consider this school! Their license with the New Mexico Board of Higher Education expired in August of 2008. I just called the Board, and spoke to the licensing department, they have not received an application or fees for licensing for 2009 or 2010 from IICTS. Looks like they are changing states again, huh?

    This is the email address I received when I emailed [email protected] [email protected] Richard is the person who wrote to me.
     
  16. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    I don't really know how to say this tactfully.

    The school admits it's moving across state lines, and it's already in one of the more lenient states. That is a gigantic red flag of a diploma mill.

    It operates from a PO box at a mail receiving service and lists no address of it's campus. That's another big red flag.

    They claim "numerous server problems" and "downtime while moving server" which is also fishy.

    And their email addresses don't work.

    And they don't have current licensure.

    How could anyone possibly think this program is legitimate?

    If you must throw away $750, take $10 of it and go to Kinkos and design your own diploma on one of their computer work stations, and print it out. Then get a nice frame and hang it on the wall, and then send the other $740 to a charity of your choice. The utility of the degree you print will be no less than the degree you pay $750 for, but some charity will be able to do a lot of good with the money. :)
     
  17. JAVANESE

    JAVANESE New Member

    @ Pasificamark and Chip

    Thank you very much for the heads up Sir.
    I'll stay away from this institution...
     
  18. One thing I would love to point out (every opportunity I can get): an institution of higher learning need not be accredited for the education to be meaningful and valuable. Maybe the degree means nothing to anyone else, but, if there are actual education programs (not just a pay-and-print degree service), it should be up to the applicants themselves to decide whether the money and time are worth it.

    What bothers me most about what I've heard of this program are:

    1) Life Experience Associates Degrees

    Not good. Legitimate college-level learning assessments (eg. Excelsior, Charter Oak, Empire State College, etc.) don't offer credit for life experience, rather, for LEARNING done outside of a traditional classroom. None of these programs, however, offer an Associate's that can be completed completely by life experience. This connects directly with my next problem.

    2) No General Education Requirements

    Is this why they offer an Associate's based on life experience? An Associate's arguably most important feature is that it shows the completion of a postsecondary general education curriculum. Their program includes DVD courses specifically on a particular area of study and not gen ed. Not that this is necessarily bad, just that they shouldn't call their degrees by traditional names if they don't offer a traditional education, or at least require completion of it by transfer credits.

    What they should be offering, if their programs actually educate (as noted in my first paragraph), are certificates of completion, and not Undergraduate and Graduate degrees.

    A best bet for them would be to stop trying to become a fully accredited college and instead allow themselves to be evaluated by ACE for college-level credit.
     
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    One thing I would like to point out is that while people are welcome to pursue worthless degrees for their own amusement/edification, it crosses the line when they try to pass off those degrees (as they often do) as legitimate full-fledged accredited degrees. If all they want to do is learn there are these really nice places called libraries. There are even places (like MIT) that will give you the whole course of study to help you in your efforts.

    A degree mill degree is not about learning, it's about deception.
     
  20. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I agree that in many cases that someone who's considering an unaccredited degree might do just as well to study independently.

    However, unless you're specifically talking about IICTS, you're confusing unaccredited for illegitimate. Sure, there's a big overlap, and it looks like IICTS is in it, but that doesn't mean they're the same set.

    -=Steve=-
     

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