A short guide on how to avoid the bad universities out there. Please note that this is a checklist and that a university showing one or some of the characteristics below isn't necessarily fake
1. The name of the university is similar to that of a university in the UK or USA. The name also often contains the words ‘American’ and/or ‘International’. Read more here.
2. The university claims accreditation from an unrecognized accrediting organisation, or downplays the importance of accreditation. Read more here.
3. The university has an address in a province or a country with weak or insufficient legislation in the field of higher education, for example Hawaii, Louisiana and Wyoming in the USA, or smaller islands in the Caribbean or Pacific Ocean. Read more here.
4. The university has one or several campuses in a province or a country with weak or insufficient legislation in the field of higher education, for example in Pakistan, Nigeria, or Somalia. Read more here.
5. The university is registered as a company, for example in a British Overseas Territory or in an island country in the Caribbean. Read more here.
6. The university is recognized by, and/or has a ‘campus’ in a fake or unrecognized country or micro-nation, such as the Hutt River Province in Australia or the Principato di Seborga in Italy. Read more here.
7. The university often moves from one location to another; from Wyoming to Alabama, then from Alabama to California. Read more here.
8. The university’s address is fake, misleading or that of a provider of virtual office solutions. Read more here.
9. The university has no physical address at all and can only be contacted by email or fax. Read more here.
10. Admission requirements are minimal. Read more here.
11. The university emphasizes on its web page that it is not a diploma mill or a fake university. Read more here.
12. Fees refer to the cost for certificates, transcripts, student identity cards etc, not to the cost for tuition. Read more here.
13. It is possible to get a degree on the basis of ’life experience’ only. Read more here.
14. Degree requirements are minimal and it is possible to get a degree within a very short time, in some cases just a few days. “No classes, no books, no course work, no hassle”. Read more here.
15. There are links to samples of transcripts, diplomas, etc on the web site. Read more here.
16. Logotypes of recognized credit card companies are visible on the university’s web-site. Read more here.
17. The certificates can be antedated, making it possible to graduate several years ago. Read more here.
18. The university web site is hosted on a server in another country and uses an unexpected internet top level domain. Read more here.
19. The university’s degrees are advertised through spam and/or sponsored links on search engines. Read more here.
Additional information here.