A diploma mill (also known as a degree mill) is an organization that awards academic degrees and diplomas with substandard or no academic study and without recognition by official educational accrediting bodies. The purchaser can then claim to hold an academic degree, and the organization is motivated by making a profit. These degrees are often awarded based on vaguely construed life experience. Some such organizations claim accreditation by non-recognized/unapproved accrediting bodies set up for the purposes of providing a veneer of authenticity.There are some common misconceptions about online degrees (distance learning programs) and diploma mills. Many people think that online degrees are not legitimate because you're simply purchasing a degree. The reality is that if you attend a legitimate university online, then you'll get a legitimate degree. The problem with diploma mill arises when you pursue a degree from a university that is not legitimate.
One great resource that can help you identify diploma mills is a website called GetEducated. GetEducated tracks more than 300 fake online colleges and you can click on the "Diploma Mill Police" section to search for schools and to read accreditation reports on different online universities.