Originally Posted: March 2002
There are numerous schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world that have very impressive looking web sites, brochures, and catalogues. They will have impressive sounding curriculum and their faculty list seems to be very top rate. All of this may look and seem good, except for one thing. Many of these organizations are not legally authorized to operate. And the number of these types of "schools" seems to be on the increase.
To protect yourself from this kind of fraud you need to know what to look for when thinking of going to or taking courses from a school. No matter what a school claims it is always best to verify everything that they say. In this highly technological age, it is very easy for someone to make very impressive looking credentials and licenses.
When checking into a school, ask them about their legal standing in the state in which they exist. Ask them to send you copies of their licensing and credentials. When you receive them, make telephone calls and verify that the school and the credentials are legitimate and that the school is in good standing in their state. Check out the organizations that they claim to be associated and affiliated with and find out if they are operating legally. If they are not, then they may be hiding something else. Bring this fact to their attention and see how they respond. If you are given the runaround about their legal standing and they refuse to send you copies of their licensing and credentials, then what are they hiding that they don't want you to know about? Check with the Secretary of State's office in the state in which they are located and see if they are licensed or incorporated there. Many Secretary of State offices now have online searches you can do on their web site. If they are offering degrees, check with that State's Higher Education Authority, the name of which will vary from state to state, such as Higher Education Coordinating Board, Postsecondary Education Commission, etc., to name a few. In nearly every state in the United States a school must either have either authorization of some kind or religious exemption to operate from them. If a school is in one of the states that requires this, and is not listed with them, then the degrees they issue are worthless. Contact that state and that state's Attorney General's Office and let them know what this school is doing.
In the end, do not take the word or claims of any school or organization. Verify everything they say. Only then will you protect yourself and those around you.
We here at the Institute for Christian Works Bible College and Seminary openly invite you to examine the licensing and credentials of our school and that of all of the schools and other organizations that we are associated and affiliated with.
If this article has been of help to you or to someone else please let us know.