OPM plans new fake-degree seminars

The Office of Personnel Management plans to sponsor additional seminars next month in Washington to help federal personnel managers detect bogus degrees claimed by job applicants.

OPM plans to rely on Alan Ezell, a former FBI agent, and consultant John Bear to present the seminars, the two diploma mill experts said. OPM sponsored similar seminars by Ezell and Bear last August. (Click for GCN story)

Ezell said last year's seminars, held over two days, drew an audience of about 480 federal personnel managers. Bear said in an e-mail that the seminars would take place in late April.

'We'll give them a foundation' in the subject of detecting fake degrees, Ezell said.

Ezell added that he and Bear also will make a presentation next month in Las Vegas to the annual meeting of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers on the subject of fake degrees.

In some instances, Ezell said, people have transferred credits from diploma mills to legitimate schools, which in turn have accepted the credits and applied them toward legitimate degrees. In those cases, the legitimate schools unwittingly provide transcripts that conceal the fact that the graduate did not do substantial academic work to earn a degree.

As a result, registrars and admissions officers are very interested in detecting bogus credentials. Legitimate schools have in the past rescinded degrees granted in such circumstances, Ezell said.

Meanwhile, the General Accounting Office is completing its investigation of diploma mill degree abuses, sources said. Auditors likely will present their report to Congress next month.

Diploma mills grant credentials in return for cash payments and little or no academic work. The issue of diploma mill degrees came to prominence last year after GCN and Washington Technology revealed that dozens of federal employees claimed to have credentials from organizations that are listed as diploma mills by state educational authorities.

An OPM spokesman said the agency likely would sponsor a seminar on the topic in the next two months.


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