What is a Fake College Diploma?

Ah, the coveted college diploma. Whether it’s a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a PhD, chances are that you have dreamed of getting one. Many people have embarked in postsecondary education to obtain an undergraduate degree: it can be an expensive venture, depending on the major, the school, and the state where the school is located. Private four-year colleges are more expensive than four-year state universities and community colleges and they also tend to be more competitive. The prestige associated with getting a college diploma, especially from an Ivy League school, can be worth it for some people.

However, not everyone has the opportunity and the resources to attend college. The costs for university education have spiked in recent years: the cost of a bachelor’s degree can vary between $11,970 per year at a public two-year college up to $46,950 at a private four-year university. Financial aid exists for many students, but even with the additional help, many people are unable to pay for their college degree. This is part of the reason why college dropout rates are at about 26% in the United States!

So if university education costs so much and it is increasingly necessary to obtain a good job or start a professional career, it is only logical that scammers and other unscrupulous individuals have devised ways to trick students into paying thousands of dollars for a fake college diploma. Diplomas obtained from unaccredited institutions, or from websites posing as legitimate universities, are often known as fake college diplomas. These can be obtained for any degree: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate and even for graduate and postgraduate diplomas. Prospective students are often lured into buying a quick diploma for up to thousands of dollars. Fake online schools, also known as diploma mills, promise a degree in exchange of money: they often have no requirements for enrollment, no faculty, no program curriculum, no online courses, and no tests. They might ask for a copy of a resume or CV to validate “life experience,” something that legitimate and accredited university programs don’t do. They could administer “tests” by phone or ask for a “thesis” consisting of only a few pages—no longer than an undergraduate course essay. If what the online school promises sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Learn more about diploma mills and how to discern between a diploma mill and an accredited online-based university here.

Fake college diplomas can also be bought for fun at a novelty or fake diploma shop.

These shops are websites where they will customize a diploma according to your tastes and requirements. The diploma can be for fun purposes or as a gift for someone else: you can make up an university and a major and the shop will produce a real-looking diploma with seals and signatures. Some people might use a novelty shop service to buy a reproduction of their original college diploma, but these are meant to be framed and displayed only.