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Answer 1: Actually, this is the second answer; the one, below, labeled "Answer 2" came first. However, because it doesn't directly and quickly answer the question, I'm inserting my answer first, here. But, the person who wrote "Answer 2," below, provided some excellent (and accurate) information because Kaplan, while credible and even accredited (and so cannot possibly be a diploma or degree mill) has had some very dark chapters in its history; and that's what "Answer 2" mostly talks about. The reader, here, then, should definitely read "Answer 2." Here, though, is the more direct (and I dare say more authoritative) answer to the question...

Kaplan University is "regionally" accredited, just like most any reputable college or university in any state in the United States. Without getting into a debate, here, about whether "national" or "regional" accreditation is better, suffice it to say that most in academia (and most employers, and most governmental professional licensing entities, and certainly most "regionally" accredited colleges and universities) consider "regional" accreditation the "gold standard" of accreditation -- the best kind -- and Kaplan has it.

Therefore, by categorical definition, Kaplan cannot possibly be a degree or diploma mill (and, technically, there's a difference; but they're both bad, so said difference matters not for our purposes, here).

All degree-seeker need do to protect themselves from being ripped-off by a degree or diploma mill is, first, buy-in to the notion that only shools which are accredited by agencies approved by either or both of the US Department of Education (USDE), and/or the USDE-sanctioned Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), should ever be considered. Yes, there are legitimate and credible unaccredited schools out there, but because their credits won't transfer; and because their degrees are largely unacceptable to employers, to government, and to other schools; and also because there are now, finally, a few US states where it's actually illegal to claim an unaccredited degree on a resume/CV, or on business cards/letterhead, or in advertising, etc....

...the bottom line is that it's just not worth it to even consider an unaccredited school. Period. So, then, once one buys-in to that simple notion, then all of a sudden the task of protecting oneself from degree/diploma mills becomes easy... in fact, it takes only seconds to figure it out for any given school.

All one need do is look-up any school that one is considering in the USDE and/or CHEA databases of accredited schools on their websites. Because there are actually a few accreditors which are approved by USDE, but not CHEA (and vice versa), it's always best to look-up every school in both databses. Fortunately, so doing take, literally, only around 30 seconds.

The bottom line is that any school which isn't listed in either or both of the USDE and/or CHEA databases is positively not accredited, no matter what it claims on its website. And, believe me, the nefarious degree/diploma mills will lie, and will claim they're accredited. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM! Always, always, always take a minute or less to look-up the school in question in both the USDE and CHEA databases. As long as the school is in at least one of them, then it is positively accredited. It may or may not be the best school out there, but if it's in at least one of those two databases, then it at least meets the minimal US accreditation standards...

...and that, alone, categorically ensures that said school cannot possibly be either a degree or diploma mill. Period.

Remember that accreditation is a minimal standard, not an optimal one. Accreditation does not speak to how good a school is. Rather, accreditation simply speaks to how bad a school cannot possibly be, yet still be credible; and yet still have its credits transfer, and its degrees still be requisite for entry into higher-level degree programs at other accredited schools. The simple proof of this is that both Harvard and Yale have the exact same kind of "regional" accreditation as does any two-year, local community college; and no one who hasn't fallen on his/her head too many times in life would ever suggest, with a straight face, that one's local community college is on-par with either Harvard or Yale. So, again, accreditation is a minimal standard, not an optimal one; yet it's still a very good one!

And in order for any school to meet that standard of USDE- and/or CHEA-approved accreditation, then it cannot possibly be, by categorical definition, either a degree or diploma mill. Period. It's as simple as that.

I've included, down in the "sources and related links" section on this page, the links to both the USDE and CHEA databases. Memorize them, and use them each and every time you consider any school. Always, always, always verify that any school you're considering is accredited by looking it up in both the USDE and CHEA databases. As long as the school's in at least one of them, then it's positivelyl accredited; and so it's positively not a mill.

It's probably also worth defining what the terms "degree mill" or "diploma mill" actually mean (in part because "Answer 2" kinda' muddies it up a little). The terms are not interchangeable, yet they're both bad.

A "diploma mill" is nothing more than a print shop, like one's local quick print shop where one may get business cards and letterhead printed-up. All a "diploma mill" does is print-up impressive-looking fake/bogus college/university diplomas (often impressively framed); and, usually also, equally-impressive-looking fake/bogus college/university transcripts... typically on the very same kind of erasure-proof safety paper -- even using the "OCR B" type font -- that real colleges/universities use for transcripts. One may get anything one wants printed on the diploma and/or the transcript. That's all a "diploma mill" does.

A "degree mill," on the other hand, actually pretends to be a school. It will usually offer to review one's life history, and one's employment history, and one's previous legitimate colllege credits, if any; and then the "degree mill" will report back to the applicant that if s/he will just take a few (typically just two or three) of the mill's online courses, then it can all be packaged together as a degree earned via "life experience." The "courses" are usually not in the least bit academically rigorous... typically no harder than reading a book and writing a one-page report about it, just like middle-schoolers do; and then, after that, one simply picks a degree, then pays the money, and, voila!, one gets a completely bogus/fake degree, diploma and transcript. Irony of ironies: Most "degree mills" use "diploma mills" to print-up the actual diplomas and transcripts... though the more successful of them have their own printing presses, and so are, technically, both a "degree mill," and also a "diploma mill." Some "degree mills" even offer, for a fee (or included in the one-time degree fee) a telephone "degree verification" service, wherein a toll-free number is provided so that anyone wishing to verify the fake degree may call it, and the "degree mill's" minimum-wage operator will, indeed, "verify" the degree. And most "degree mills," if a written verification request is sent, will respond in writing, on impressive-looking letterhead, to verify. The "degree mill's" website will also tend to be very impressive looking; and will often contain claims of accreditation, usually by a fake/bogus "accreditor" of the "degree mill's" own creation.

So, then, now armed with that information, please read "Answer 2," below. It's not rationalized or worded as I'd have done, nor are its links the most authoritative and best out there, but the answer nevertheless gets the job done, by hook or by crook. So please read it. It's good (or at least "okay").

Answer 2: The term diploma mill can mean many things. How you define that term will help define your answer.

If you mean does Kaplan University hold proper and recognized accreditation to award college degrees in the USA, the answer is yes, Kaplan University does hold such accreditation.

All the individual colleges in the Kaplan University network are "regionally accredited," which is the highest form of accreditation awarded to traditional brick and mortar schools.

When many people use the term diploma mill it means that they are worried that a school, though properly accredited, may have a bad reputation, especially among employers. If you are asking about public perception then you have to look to public opinion and news about any college to determine that college's reputation or standing regardless of official accreditation.

Kaplan University is a newer, for profit, internet university. This school has experienced a lot of bad press lately for its aggressive marketing practices in search of online students.

You can read the government report on misleading marketing practices in the for profit online education sector here:

There is also a public petition campaign against Kaplan at present started by a former Kaplan University Online student in Maine who believes she was misled into taking on a great deal of student debt.

You can read about this petition here:

Issues of deceptive marketing, promising students great jobs and salaries, and encouraging students into high debt loads cloud the online college industry, especially for profit online schools.

If you are concerned about the cost OR reputation of any online school you should check the school out -- get educated before you enroll.

You can read reviews by former verified students and the public AND see the real cost of any online degree at the consumer education site

To compare rankings on cost and public perception use the Distance Degree Genie tool. It's free here:

Not all online schools are alike just like not all residential colleges are alike.

Ask questions.

Get the facts.

Then enroll (or not!)

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11y ago
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10y ago


It has no address (suspicious), but it does have an American phone number; however, it is not accredited by the US government.

It is accredited by the Global Accreditation Council of Online Institutions which also happens to be listed on Wikipedia's list of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations

So the degree is worthless
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Q: Is kaplan university a diploma mill?
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