Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tales of fake international universities

Fake universities are preying on would-be students in the Arab world, as this report from Al Fanar Media, published in the Chronicle, reveals.
The universities in the network, which typically say they are based in the United States, actively encourage students from the Arab world to enroll by offering what appear to be generous scholarships after just a few minutes of exchanging instant messages online. But that financial aid comes with a hook—the students are supposed to pay the rest of the fees immediately.
Some of the students who fall prey to these tactics don’t realize their degrees are worthless until after receiving them. Studying at the universities is a lonely experience—students at one of the schools in the network said they had no contact with professors at all.
At least some of the universities in the network appear to be entirely fraudulent although they try to give the appearance of quality by citing an accreditation organization that is actually part of their network. (See accompanying article, “Faking Quality Control for Universities.”)
Accreditation, a practice more common in Europe and North America, audits the quality of universities to ensure students are getting a proper standard of education. Several different associations do this and some of them also accredit universities in the Arab world.
But academics listed as working for the accreditation organization in the fraudulent network said they had no idea they were named as consultants until contacted by a reporter for an interview.

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